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DUI Penalties

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DUI Penalties in Orange County, CA

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DUI conviction can lead to harsh criminal penalties, such as jail or prison time, fines, and driver’s license suspension. Additionally, having a DUI on your criminal record can make finding a job difficult, significant increase your auto insurance premiums, or otherwise damage your professional reputation and personal life.

At Right Choice Law, our Newport Beach legal team has helped thousands of clients facing DUI charges obtain favorable results. With more than 60 years of collective legal experience, we understand how to get the best possible outcome in your case.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Newport Beach or Orange County, contact us today at (949) 265-7005 for a free case evaluation.

California DUI Law

DUI penalties vary depending on the number of prior DUI convictions you have and the county you are in. Typical penalties for DUI include probation[i], jail, fines, a DUI program and an ignition-interlock device (IID)[ii]. The length of jail time and probation will depend on whether this is a first DUI offense, second DUI offense, third DUI offense or felony DUI.

On a first DUI, there is no minimum jail sentence. However, depending on whether there are any aggravating factors, jail may be imposed. On a second DUI, the minimum jail sentence is four (4) days by law, but most prosecutors will seek 45-90 days jail time depending on the circumstances. On a third DUI, the minimum penalty is four (4) months jail, but again, the prosecutor’s office will usually seek more time – usually 9-12 months. And a fourth DUI will result in prison time.

The penalties shown above can be increased with the presence of other aggravating factors. There are enhancements that can be added to the complaint that will increase the jail time for a specific case.

Typical DUI enhancements include:

  • Refusing to take a chemical test

  • Having a blood alcohol concentration of .15% or greater

  • Having a blood alcohol concentration of .20% or greater

  • Having a child under the age of 14 in the car at the time of the DUI

  • Having an accident, especially an accident that causes injury or death

  • Being on probation, especially probation for a prior DUI

  • Speeding more than 20 mph over the limit on surface street or more than 30 mph over the limit of a highway

  • Having a recent DUI prior (for 2nd or 3rd DUI cases)

Emergency Response Costs

In addition to the penalties imposed by the court and the DMV, the police agency that arrested a defendant can recover Emergency Response Costs associated with the arrest pursuant to Government Code section 53150. Specifically, Government Code section 53150 states:

“Any person who is under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug, whose negligent operation of a motor vehicle caused by that influence proximately causes any incident resulting in an appropriate emergency response, and any person whose intentionally wrongful conduct proximately causes any incident resulting in an appropriate emergency response, is liable for the expense of an emergency response by a public agency to the incident.”

Intentionally wrongful conduct means conduct that is intended to injure another person or property (Government Code section 53156(c)).

Many police agencies, including the CHP, will send letters to defendants asking them to reimburse them for the cost of arresting and/or cost of booking the defendant. However, these agencies are NOT entitled to these costs for a mere DUI arrest. The law states that there must be an “incident” such as an accident and the defendant is responsible for the costs associated with the emergency response to the accident and not simply the costs associated with an arrest. (California Highway Patrol v. Superior Court (2006) 135 Cal.App.4th 488).

If you get these letters for a mere DUI arrest, without an accident, you have the right to fight these extra fees. The CHP will charge recovery costs between $750 to $900, so it is certainly worth knowing the law and fighting these illegal penalties.

The Right Lawyers for the Case

Choosing the right DUI defense lawyer will be the most important decision someone can make when facing DUI charges. Many people who face DUI charges are good people who made a mistake or exercised poor judgment. There are also some people who have been wrongfully accused of DUI, based on a misunderstanding or false evidence. Our attorneys will listen to your side of the story carefully, who will evaluate the evidence thoroughly. As former prosecutors we have the skills to negotiate with our former colleagues and the trial experience necessary to get the best results for our clients. For an example of our work, please see our case results and read our client testimonials.

Call us at (949) 265-7005 for a free consultation.

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