Criminal Defense: DUI Charges
A standard 1st DUI is what most people charged with DUI receive. It means that the person was found driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. The person must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of the arrest, or else they will lose their license. If a person requests the DMV hearing, there is a chance they will keep their license.
A person convicted of a 1st DUI faces up to 10 days in jail, fines amounting to approximately $2100, community service, alcohol awareness classes, MADD program, and in some counties such as Los Angeles, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) placed on the car at your own expense. The person will also lose their license for 6 months, but, absent extenuating circumstances, will be able to apply for a restricted work/school/program license after 30 days.
DUI while driving commercial vehicle
A person who is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol while driving a commercial vehicle faces harsher penalties and a lower threshold. If a person is driving a commercial vehicle, they cannot have .04 or higher blood alcohol level. On top of the standard DUI terms, the person will lose their commercial license for a year. It does not matter that this is the person’s employment or only means of making money. The DMV will not issue a commercial license for a year. If the person receives a 2nd DUI while driving a commercial vehicle within a 10 year period, he or she will lose their commercial license indefinitely, meaning, they will never get it back.
DUI with 1-2 priors within 10 years
Each DUI within a 10 year period (measured from arrest date to arrest date) counts as a prior. Priors carry enhancements with them, that generally result in more days in jail (up to 180 for a 3rd), more fines, longer restrictions and longer classes (up to 30 months). Multiple DUI’s normally result in IID devices, no matter which county or jurisdiction you’re in.
DUI with priors not within 10 years
If you have a DUI, but it was more than 10 years ago, it will show up on your record, but cannot be used against you by the courts. It cannot be charged as a prior. However, the DMV can use it against you in determining whether to grant you a restricted license, or to grant leniency. However, any priors do not matter in terms of probable cause in determining whether you were drunk in the instant case.
4th DUI within 10 years
If a person receives a 4th DUI within 10 years, and 3 occurred within 7 years, the prosecution has the ability to charge the DUI as a felony. If a person is convicted of their 4th DUI and it was charged as a felony, the person is facing a stay in state prison, rather than county jail.
DUI resulting in Great Bodily Injury
If a person causes an accident which results in great bodily injury to another person, the prosecution may file it as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. If there is a child in the car of the person driving under the influence, the prosecutor may add a charge of child endangerment, regardless of whether the child was actually hurt. This can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If it’s a misdemeanor, the person is facing up to 1 year in county jail. If it is a felony, the person faces, two, four or six year in state prison. The way the prosecutor determines this usually determines on any injury to a child and the extent thereof.
DUI resulting in Death
If a person causes an accident which results in the death of another person or persons, they can be charged with additional charges. If the death resulted from gross or ordinary negligence, then the person can be charged with vehicular manslaughter, as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. If the death resulted from criminal negligence, the person can be charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, which is always charged as a felony. If the death resulted from implied malice, the person can be charged with second degree murder, also always a felony. If a person has prior DUI convictions, then any death from a subsequent DUI will be charged as second degree murder, as there is an implied, and often explicitly conditioned, knowledge of the dangers of driving under the influence.
DUI by person under 21
If a person is under 21, there is a lower threshold to be met. The person under 21 cannot be driving with a blood alcohol level of .05 or higher. For a person over 21, the level is .08 or higher. For a person under 21, they are punished the same as a person over 21, but with the lower level. If a person under 21 is found guilty of driving with a .05 or higher, he or she will lose their license and not be able to apply for a restricted license for a year. A person under 21 will also be required to attend a 3 month alcohol awareness class, and possibly, at the court’s discretion, enter a Youthful Offender program, which includes trips to the morgue.
Contact the Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache, a criminal defense firm, if you have any questions about DUI charges or have been arrested for DUI.
Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache
A Criminal Defense Firm
PO Box 3297
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Office: (760) 237-8295
Cell: (760) 668-8295