Penalties include severe consequences such as hefty fines, possible jail time, mandatory alcohol treatment programs, community service as well as suspension of the driver’s license.
The following are some points of general awareness about DUI laws in California:
1. Your DUI record may easily become public knowledge
It is essential to note that a DUI is bound to become public knowledge, in the sense that certain attorneys might obtain the legal address from the law circuit through the arresting officer, and decide to reach the offender at his/her home address. This makes news of the DUI public, at least to inquisitive neighbors or family members.
Also, since California is a free information state, it makes it possible for anyone inquiring about a person’s records to get access to pending cases.
2. It becomes mandatory to undertake DUI classes
Once a DUI is committed, it becomes mandatory for the offender to undertake DUI classes. No matter whether the case verdict was for lowered charges, considered a first time offense or if the offender’s blood alcohol content was well over a 0.2, undertaking DUI classes and paying a huge price for them becomes compulsory.
DUI classes can be expensive, costing around $650 to $1000 and more, depending on the number of hours. These vary based on the verdict, lowest in case of lowered charges and highest in case of blood alcohols content over 0.2.
3. DUI involves two different types of license suspension
The arresting officer will suspend the license temporarily if a DUI is committed. The suspension of the license can be of two types – hard and restricted suspension. A hard suspension of 30 days takes place when the offender fails to prevail at the DMV hearing, leaving them incapable of driving for 30 whole days.
Post the 30-day hard suspension, the offender may seek out a restricted license, as long as he/she fulfils the due diligence that goes with it. A restricted license, however, only allows the offender to drive to and from work, besides fulfilling DUI obligations.
4. You need to hire a local DUI firm if you cannot attend the hearing
If the DUI offender is an out-of-state driver, it is very likely that he/she will not be able to attend all the various administrative and court hearings that may span out. In cases like this, it becomes rather imperative to hire a local DUI attorney. For out-of-state individuals, it can be hard to find one that will be able to help with their case.
The offender will need to hire a firm that is well-established and knows the way of the courts, and also has the ability to get around complex administrative procedures with ease, in order to help with the verdict.
5. The law maintains highly strict standards
If the offender’s blood alcohol content was higher than 0.8 at the time of arrest, the case is likely to work against them from the start, simply because the state of California maintains extremely high standards when it comes to driving under the influence, and sticks to its rules.
Younger drivers (those who are below the age of 21) must also understand the magnitude of California’s zero drinking and driving policy.
6. The penalties and cost of DUI can be extremely painful
DUI can be excessively heavy on the pockets of the offender, who has to pay $100 to get their license reinstated, pay to retrieve the impounded car (which could cost around $685) as well as $650-1000 (depending on the number of hours) for DUI classes that need to be undertaken.
There is also the additional cost of hiring an attorney that could cost you anywhere between $1500-5000, and the insurance increase as a result of conviction, which gets to about $10000-15000 a year.