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Los Angeles DUI Penalties

Defending Against the Legal Consequences of a DUI Conviction

Jail time and fines may result from a DUI conviction. Other factors such as legal fees, insurance premiums, vehicle repair and medical bills also add to the consequences of a DUI. Further, you may lose your driving privileges, meaning you will lose the ability to go to work, school, appointments and be responsible for your children’s needs. This is a circumstance that must be avoided at all costs, and a Los Angeles DUI attorney will exhaust every legal resource and defense needed to tackle your DUI penalties.

To learn how to best resolve your DUI charges and minimize the legal punishments you may experience, schedule a free case review at (323) 395-5221 with attorney Craig M. Sturm. He will cover the specific details of your case with you in a one-on-one consultation. Se habla español!

The following information is provided by the California DMV.

Under 21 DUI Laws & Penalties

Possession of Alcohol: If you’re younger than 21 years old, you can’t possess alcohol in your vehicle unless the container is full, sealed, and unopened. If you do, you must either:

  • Be with a parent or legal guardian
  • Work for a person with an off-site liquor license

If convicted of this offense, you may suffer fines of up to $1,000, a one-year license suspension and vehicle impoundment for 30 days.

Zero Tolerance Law: The Zero Tolerance Law is exactly what it sounds like: California won’t tolerate any amount of alcohol (specifically, 0.01% or higher) for drivers who are younger than 21 years old.

For a first time DUI conviction, you could face:

  • License suspension for one year
  • Education at a DUI school
  • Hundreds of dollars in fines

For a second or subsequent offense, your DUI attorney and judge will inform you of the longer suspension periods, higher fines and harsher DUI programs you may be subject to.

21 and Older DUI Laws & Penalties

For a first DUI offense, you may face:

  • Immediate license suspension per the state’s Admin Per Se policy.
  • License suspension unrelated to the Admin Per Se policy for at least 4 months.
  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.
  • $125 fee for license re-issuance.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • DUI program: The enrollment period varies depending on factors like your BAC at the time of your arrest.
  • SR-22 filing.

For second and subsequent offenses: A first-time DUI comes with harsh penalties, and further convictions are even worse. You will face longer jail time and more expensive fines, in addition to the DUI program and SR-22 filing requirement.

Your license suspension and revocation periods change, too. For example, a second or subsequent offense within 10 years of your prior offense results in a license suspension or revocation for at least 1 year.

Since penalties following first DUI offenses depend upon the offense number, it’s best to contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney for help.

Commercial Driver (CDL) DUI Penalties

Commercial drivers caught with a BAC of 0.04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle can expect the following license suspension periods:

  • First Offense: 4 months
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses (within10 years): 1 year

Note that these suspension periods are added to any fines, jail time and DUI programs the CA DMV and court system impose on you. Also, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Disqualification of Drivers plays a big role when deciding the penalties commercial drivers face and the offenses that disqualify them―sometimes permanently―from having a valid CDL.

Other DUI Penalties

CA Ignition Interlock Device: You may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) into your car as part of your DUI penalties.

An IID is a small gadget wired to your vehicle’s ignition that requires breath samples before you can start your vehicle, as well as periodically throughout your drive. If an IID detects alcohol on your breath, the vehicle won’t start.

The court might order an IID if:

  • You had a BAC of at least 0.15%.
  • You had moving violations prior to the DUI.
  • You refused the chemical test.
  • You’re convicted in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, or Tulare Counties.

The court provides forms and procedure instructions for monitoring the installation and use of your IID. Expect to pay various fees and related costs, including administrative service fees and restriction fees.

Admin Per Se Penalties: An Admin Per Se suspension occurs when the officer takes your license on the spot after you fail or refuse a chemical test. The officer or the DMV will issue an Order of Suspension and possibly a temporary license.

If you believe the suspension is unjustified, you may request an administrative hearing within 10 days of receiving the order.

Chemical Test Refusal Penalties: You may face additional license suspension penalties if you refuse to submit to a chemical test upon being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, and you will have your license confiscated on the spot.

  • Younger than 21 years old
    • First Offense: Suspended for 1 year.
    • Second Offense: Revoked for 2 years.
    • Third Offense: Revoked for 3 years.
  • 21 years old or older
    • First Offense: Suspended for 1 year.
    • Second Offense: Revoked for 2 years.
    • Third Offense: Revoked for 3 years.

California Three Strikes Law

California’s Three Strikes Law delivers certain sentences to people who commit multiple serious and violent felonies―specifically, upon a “third strike,” a convict receives a life sentence with the possibility of parole only after 25 years. However, Proposition 36 revised which crimes warrant life sentences, authorized re-sentencing and detailed when to administer life sentences; essentially, it permits alternatives to incarceration such as drug treatment and community supervision.

Some CA DUI offenses fall under the Three Strikes Law, specifically ones that include the most serious offenses involving severe injuries and death. Not only could you face extended jail time, longer (or even permanent) license revocation, and higher fines and court costs, but you might also face civil lawsuits.

Don’t Wait. Fight Back Today!

If you are seeking to fight against the life-changing penalties of a DUI conviction, don’t try to navigate the court system alone. Retain legal representation as soon as possible. There is far too much to lose ― including your employment, education, freedom to drive and much more ― to sit back and let your case continue without zealous legal advocacy in your corner.

Your well-being depends on who you hire to represent your DUI, so choose wisely. For more information on how Sturm Law can fight your DUI charges, call (323) 395-5221 for a free initial consultation!

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