Criminal Defense Attorney in Long Beach
Thousands of Californians are arrested for driving under the influence
every year. A conviction for any type of alcohol-related offense comes
with severe penalties that may affect one's reputation and future
career. However, the actual severity of the penalties depends primarily
on the crime committed, which is determined by the blood alcohol content
level taken at the time of the arrest. DUI offenses are categorized also
by the number of repeat offenses, which also affect the severity of the
punishment. Depending on the level of intoxication and the amount of repeated
offenses, an individual may be facing up to three years in a state prison.
First-Offense DUI Penalties
If someone is arrested and convicted for DUI but has not prior conviction,
they will face the lightest penalties in the categories. Assuming the
blood alcohol content level was between .08% and .15%, conviction will
be classified as a misdemeanor. The sentence for this offense may include
between three and five years of probation, a maximum fine of $1,800 but
a minimum of $1,400 and license suspension for six months. Sentences can
be reduced to a license restriction, as opposed to suspension, which allows
the defendant to drive to and from work or school but nowhere else.
First-time conviction of a DUI offense in Long Beach and California also
requires 48 hours spent in a county jail. With the right criminal defense
attorney representing the victim, those hours of jail time can be converted
to community service hours to avoid time spent in jail. DUI conviction
also requires completion of court-ordered DUI School, the hours required
for participation may be between 12 and 48 hours depending on the sentence
agreed to by the attorneys.
Beginning in July 2010, Los Angeles County implemented a new requirement
for individuals convicted of
first-offense DUI. Installation of an ignition interlock device is mandatory for five months
subsequent to the completion of license suspension. The requirement goes
up to 12 months of mandatory installation if the offense involved an injury.
Second-Offense DUI Penalties
In California, any prior DUI convictions are relevant to an individual's
driving record for up to 10 years. This means that if an offense is repeated
within 10 years of the first offense, it will be considered a second DUI
offense, which is subject to heavier penalties than the first. While the
probation is the same as first-offense DUI, a second conviction of DUI
within 10 years comes with fines between $1,800 and $2,800. License sanctions
are also more severe for the second conviction, requiring the loss of
driving privileges for at least two years.
A second DUI offense also comes with a mandatory jail sentence of at least
96 hours, which is subject to change depending on the county. Some counties
insist on no less than 10 days in jail but others may require up to 30
days. The court may also order up to 18 months of participation in DUI
School for a second offense.
Third-Offense DUI Penalties
A third time offender within ten years of the first two convictions will
find him or herself facing between 120 months and one year of jail time.
Court and jail fines remain between $1,800 and $2,800 but participation
in DUI School is increased to 30 months, as the court may determine. License
revocation is increased to three years which can be converted to a restricted
license after 18 months of suspension to allow the defendant to drive
to and from work or school.
A third offense also warrants designation of the offender, who now has
three counts of DUI on their record, as a "habitual traffic offender"
(HTO) by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This title will affect the
future of the individual as they stand to face extremely severe penalties
for future traffic offenses.
Felony DUI Penalties
A DUI offense may be classified as a felony for three main reasons. The
first is if the offense is the fourth offense by the same individual within
a 10 year period. Secondly, a person may be convicted of
felony DUI if someone else was injured while the defendant was driving under the
influence. Thirdly, the defendant may be convicted of felony DUI if he
or she had any prior felony DUI convictions for any reason.
Felony DUI comes with increased jail time of up to three years in a state
prison and possibly the permanent loss of driving privileges. DUI School
is also 30 months, as with a third-offense however, the defendant will
face the social and legal repercussions of having a felony conviction
on record. Felony convictions can affect an individual in many ways, including
a "strike" on their California criminal record, pursuant to
California's Three Strikes law.
Long Beach DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for DUI in Long Beach, it is extremely important
that you retain the help of our Long Beach criminal defense lawyers right
away. Conviction is not necessarily certain and even if you are convicted, a strong
DUI defense lawyer can help you get a fair and reduced sentence.
Contact a Long Beach criminal lawyer from our firm today to learn more about how we can help you defend against
your DUI charges.