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What Are DUI Penalties?

DUI LICENSE SUSPENSION

Perhaps the worst DUI penalty is losing your license.  The police send information about your DUI arrest to the DMV and the DMV will act to suspend your license after 10 days unless a stay is properly enacted to stop the suspension.  


10 DAYS TO CONTACT THE DMV


You have 10 days to contact the DMV and stop the suspension.  The time to respond has been shortened because they do not want you to stop the suspension and request a hearing.  It is easiest for the DMV to simply automatically suspend your drivers license after a DUI.  However, you have a right to a hearing.


THE DMV HEARING


You are entitled to Due Process (your day in court) before the DMV can take your drivers license away after a DUI arrest.  Although there is little justice at the DMV, it is important to invoke your Right to a hearing for strategic reasons.  You can substantially reduce your time without a license after a DUI arrest and you can obtain information from the police through the DMV process. 


HOW LONG IS A DUI SUSPENSION?


The suspension time and laws are different depending on various factors surrounding an arrest for DUI - how many times a person has been arrested, and whether there was a refusal to provide a breath test or blood test are the key factors.


  • First DUI:  As long as a breath or blood test was provided at the time of the DUI arrest, a person will lose their license for 6 months on a first time DUI offense.  
  • Second DUI: If it was the second DUI suspension within 10 years then the license suspension is 1 year.  
  • Third DUI: If a person is convicted of DUI a third time the license suspension is for 3 years.


WHAT IF NO BREATH TEST OR BLOOD TEST WAS PROVIDED?


If you refused to provide a breath or a blood test this is called a refusal, and the penalties are much more severe.  


  • A first time license suspension with a refusal is one year. 
  • A second DUI suspension in a 10 year period with a refusal is a 2 year suspension. 
  • A third DUI in a 10 year period with a refusal to provide breath or blood is a 3 year suspension. 

IS THERE A WAY TO SHORTEN THE SUSPENSION?


Yes, the suspension can be cut short as long as a breath or blood test was provided.  There are things that need to be done in the case to do this.  However, if there was a refusal there is no way to shorten the suspension so the DMV hearing is very important as the suspension is quite harsh.


HOW DO I GET MY LICENSE BACK?


The courts and the DMV share information and there are a number of things you will need to do to get your license back, you will need to take an alcohol class, show proof of insurance, and if convicted of DUI in Los Angeles, you will need to install an ignition interlock device.

DUI FINES AND PENALTIES

Many good people are arrested for DUI and suddenly find themselves in the criminal justice system.  The main ways a Court will punish a person convicted of Driving Under the Influence are through jail time, community labor, a fine, alcohol classes, DUI programs, and probation, which will be explained below.


JAIL TIME


Serving time in jail is something no one wants to go through. The good news is that if it was your first time arrested for DUI you will most likely not need to do another second of jail time.  However, if you have been arrested multiple times within the last 10 years for DUI, then jail time is mandatory.


Other situations where someone may have to serve jail time would be if there was a bad accident - if someone was injured then it is elevated to a felony and jail is likely and potentially time in a state prison.  generally though, if you were arrested for DUI for the first time you should not serve jail time.


COMMUNITY LABOR


Community Labor can sometimes be substituted in place of jail time.  Community labor is hard work and run by Cal Trans.  This typically consists of picking up trash.  This is different than community service which is a lighter form of service with more options available.


GPS MONITOR DEVICE/HOUSE ARREST


It may be possible to serve time with an alcohol monitoring device locked to your ankle.  This device also can track your whereabouts through a GPS system.


MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING/HOSPITAL AND MORGUE 


There are other programs the Court may Order a person convicted of DUI to complete.  Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a common program Ordered by the Court.  Here is a link to learn more about MADD.  https://www.madd.org/southern-california/  


The HAM program is time intensive and requires attendance at the hospital and morgue to impress upon the attendee the risks of driving under the influence. Here is a link with more info.  https://www.volcenter.org/hospital-and-morgue-program


FINE


DUI fines depend on the severity of the situation leading to arrest.  DUI fines start at $390 and go up to $1,000.  However, this amount is deceiving because penalties, assessments and court fees will be added.  If you can get the fine as low as possible under the law, $390, that is approximately $1,900 by the time penalties and assessments are added.  Fines are typically something attorneys can manipulate by lowering in a plea bargain, getting credit to reduce even further, and getting time to pay the fine.


PROBATION


If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence you will be placed on probation.  If it is only a misdemeanor conviction, not a felony, then probation is informal.  There is nothing you have to do, no one you must check in with, but you cannot drive at all after drinking alcohol, and you must obey all laws.  Being convicted of a crime would then be a probation violation.  Additionally, not completing the programs Ordered by the Court would be a violation of probation.  It is important to reduce penalties as much as possible because completing all these tasks is difficult.


If you are not arrested during probation and you completed all obligations ordered by the court then your probation automatically expires.  It is important to note that probation begins to run on the day of conviction, not the date of arrest.  After the probation ends you can request the Court Dismiss your case and it is almost certain they will.  


Probation is typically 3 years, but it can go up from there depending on the number of DUI convictions and severity of the circumstances lea

IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE


If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence in Los Angeles County, the DMV will not give your license back until you install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle.  The length of time the device needs to be in your vehicle depends on the number of convictions for DUI.  

  • First DUI: For a first time conviction you will need the device in your vehicle for 5 months.  
  • Second DUI: For a second DUI conviction within 10 years you will need the device in your vehicle for 1 year.  
  • Third DUI:  For a third DUI conviction it is 2 years.

Here is a link to the DMV with detailed information regarding the ignition interlock device: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/0a201372-f85a-4cca-8f92-fcbf34ea74c2/iid_pilot_program_q-a.pdf?MOD=AJPERES


It is possible to keep the device out of your car if you can get the charges reduced to a 'Wet Reckless.' 


SEARCHING FOR SOMEONE IN CUSTODY OR YOUR OWN BOOKING INFO?


If you are searching for someone who has been arrested for DUI and is in custody, or your own booking information, you can search here:

https://app5.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm


INFO REGARDING VOLUNTEER WORK AND PROGRAMS


Info about Volunteering, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the Hospital and Morgue Program can be found here:

https://www.volcenter.org/court-referral-community-service


GPS TRACKING DEVICE


Info regarding the alcohol monitoring device can be found here:

https://www.scramsystems.com/products/scram-continuous-alcohol-monitoring/


IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE


If convicted of DUI in Los Angeles County the ignition interlock device will need to be installed in your car.  This device prevents a car from starting unless a breath sample is provided.  If alcohol is detected the vehicle will not start.  For more info and maybe a coupon here are a couple links for ignition interlock companies.  

https://guardianinterlock.com/

https://www.intoxalock.com/


Even if you cannot beat the DUI charge by putting for a legal defense you can likely get these penalties eliminated or reduced.  

Feel free to contact the best DUI lawyer in Torrance, Beach Cities DUI, to get an honest assessment of your case, and helpful advice to get through this.