There are numerous names for this transgression – driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, drunk driving, impaired driving, but they all mean the same thing; a person was operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. If you have a DUI trial ahead, you had best hire a good criminal attorney, and familiarize yourself with the consequences and what awaits you here https://www.monderlaw.com/pratice-areas/driving-offenses/drunk-driving.
The damage done by DUI drivers is counted in tens of billions of dollars each year and tens of thousands of lives nationwide. California has recognized this as a problem, and the legal system of California is less than forgiving to drunk drivers than most out there.
California is at the forefront of some aspects of DUI discouragement methods. For instance, it is ranked number one when it comes to the increase in insurance rates for DUI drivers, as well as fifth when it comes to the jail time duration for DUI drivers. The story is very similar when it comes to the suspension of drivers’ licenses for those drivers in terms of severity and duration.
On the other hand, California still has ways to go in some other fields. It is listed as 31st nationwide when it comes to the overall preventative measures for DUI. The minimum fines for those drivers are also not very well rated, at 16th place in the nation.
What Qualifies as a DUI?
If you believe that you are protected from a DUI if you are on private property, you are wrong, because the police have the authority to test you for alcohol and other illicit substances if you are driving. However, driving doesn’t only include you sitting in the driver’s seat, you could also be fined if you are operating the vehicle from any other part of the car.
What’s more, the car engine doesn’t even have to be turned on, the only important thing is that the car was moving and that the movement is deliberate; so, cruising down a steep road without the engine is still liable to a DUI.
What Penalties Can You Expect?
If you are accused of DUI in California, the sentence you can expect is largely dependent on your history when it comes to driving infractions, particularly any previous DUIs. If you are found guilty of a DUI as a first time offender, you can expect up to six months in a county jail and a fine which can go as high as $2000. Additionally, the DMV has the option of suspending your driver’s license for the duration of six months.
However, if you have another DUI within the 10 year period, the law becomes much stricter, with jail time doubling to a year, or to be more specific up to 364 days in a county jail. The fine remains at the 2000 cap, but your license can be suspended for two full years by the DMV if they see it fit.
Your third DUI within the same period has the same repercussions as the second one, except the driver’s license suspension can be increased to three years.
Can DUI Be a Felony?
DUI is largely considered a misdemeanor. However, if you have already been convicted of 3 DUIs in the past 10 years, any subsequent DUI is treated as a felony. This can be a big problem since the penalties are much more severe for felonies. When it comes to DUIs in California, a felony DUI sentence can land you the following punishments.
Your jail time is increased to up to three years in a county jail, whereas your license can be revoked for the following 4 years.
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