4 Potential Consequences of Your Second DUI

If you are facing your second DUI, you are probably somewhat familiar with the process and the punishments. Don’t give up on your case, as you may have defenses and arguments that can get the charges dismissed or reduced. This article is to give you an idea of what consequences you are facing if your defenses are not successful to help you understand the worst case scenario, and it assumes you are 21 or over.  

Driving Consequences

  • Suspended License:  The DMV will automatically suspend your license for a year on a second DUI. You could have your licenses suspended for up to 2 years. The court suspension is two years, which can be run concurrently with the DMV suspension. It’s possible to apply for a restricted license after three months of DMV suspension.  
    • You need to request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days if you want to dispute the DMV suspension.
  • Interlock Device:  The judge can order you to get an interlock device on your vehicle, which measures your breath alcohol every time you drive.
  • SR-22 Insurance. If you don’t win the DMV hearing or don’t dispute it, and your license is suspended, you will need to get a special type of automobile insurance called SR-22 insurance for three years.

Court Ordered Counseling and Probation

  • 18 Month Programs:  If this is your second conviction in 10 years, you will likely be ordered to complete an 18 month program.  For a third offense, you would typically be looking at a 30 month program. You may also be ordered to attend AA, or Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) or other programs.
  • Probation: Probation is typically 3-5 years.

Jail Time – Max is 1 year

  • Jail Time:  Minimum of 96 hours in county jail, and maximum of one year jail time.

Financial Consequences

  • Fines, penalties and costs. The court at its discretion will impose a fine of between $1800- $2700. Additionally, you will likely incur costs of defense attorney, costs for counseling, interlock device, and SR-22 insurance. The total cost can be very expensive, but consult with your attorney for an estimate of total costs.

 

4 Potential Consequences of Your First DUI

Whether you have just been arrested for DUI or whether you are further down the road in the process, you need to be prepared for what is ahead. You likely have many potential defenses to fight the charge, which are discussed in other articles. For this article we will assume you are 21 or older and entered a guilty plea or conviction of a first DUI and give you a look at “worst case” scenario.

1. Driving Consequences

  • Suspended License:  The DMV will automatically suspend your license if you had a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more for four months.  The DMV will suspend your license for a year if you refuse the test. You’ll need to pay a $125 fee to get your license reinstated at the end of the DMV suspension. The court can also suspend your license, which is typically run concurrent to the DMV suspension, meaning that both suspensions are in effect at the same time.  A driver may be able to get a restricted license, to drive only to certain places like place of employment.
      • If you want to fight the DMV suspension, you need to request a hearing within 10 days.  
  • Interlock Device:  You may be ordered to get an interlock device on your vehicle, which measures your breath alcohol every time you drive.
  • SR-22 Insurance. If you don’t win the DMV hearing or don’t dispute it, and your license is suspended, you will need to get a special type of automobile insurance called SR-22 insurance for three years.

2. Court Ordered Counseling and Probation

  • 3-9 Month Programs:  You will likely be ordered to complete one of three programs, with the program usually determined by your blood alcohol content (BAC) measurement from the DUI:  3 month (30 hour), 6 month (44 hour) or 9 month (60 hour program). Additional hours may also be required based on county requirements. Each program requires drug and alcohol education, hours of group counseling, and certain hours of individual counseling.
  • Probation: Probation is typically 3-5 years.

3. Jail Time – Max is 6 months

  • Jail Time:  Crimes come with a maximum punishment, but this does not mean the judge will impose the maximum jail time.  The maximum for a first offense is up to six months in jail.

4. Financial Consequences

  • Fines, penalties and costs. The court at its discretion will impose a fine of between $390- $1000. Additionally, you will likely incur costs of defense attorney, costs for counseling, money for the interlock device if ordered and the cost of SR-22 insurance. The total cost can be very expensive, but consult with your attorney for an estimate of total costs.

 

Typical Legal Procedure for a DUI Case

                  If you have a loved one who is facing DUI charges, or if you yourself are concerned, this article will provide a general overview of the legal procedure for a DUI case from start to finish.

  1. The Driver Comes in Contact with Police. A DUI case begins when you come in contact with the police.  This typically happens because of a traffic- related incident, such as a traffic violation (speeding or weaving) or a traffic accident.
  1. The Police Notice Indications or Alcohol or Drugs. The police officer may notice a scent of alcohol in your breath or physical symptoms such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, etc.
  1. Tests Are Performed by Police. The next step is where the police officer builds the case against you by collecting data through field sobriety tests or chemical tests, such as a breath test or blood draw.
  1. Booked in Jail/Car Impounded. You will typically be booked in jail and your car will be impounded.
  1. Prosecutor Reviews. The Prosecutor reviews the evidence and decides whether to charge you with an offense or decline to file charges.  If you are charged with DUI, it is likely in your best interest to engage and attorney as soon as possible.
  1. Driver’s Licenses Suspension. After the arrest, your licenses is suspended for 30 days. The DMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license after the 30 days unless you request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. 
  1. Arraignment. This is your first hearing where you have an opportunity to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no context. Entering a not guilty plea is very common at this stage, and you should not feel forced to enter a guilty plea even if you believe you are guilty.
  1. Hearings/Plea Negotiations/Motions. You may likely come back to court several times during the course of your case to negotiate with prosecutor or present a motion. A typical motion is a Motion to Suppress, where you or your attorney argue that certain information cannot be considered as evidence in your case because it was obtained in violation of your Constitutional rights.
  1. Trial/Plea. Eventually the case will either go to trial, where you will be convicted or acquitted, or you will enter a plea, or the prosecutor may in rare instances at some point choose to dismiss the case.
  1. Sentencing. The sentencing phase is where the judge determines the appropriate consequence for your actions.  Often sentencing will involve meeting with a counselor, who will ask questions and prepare a report about you for the judge. The counselor may make recommendations to the judge regarding appropriate education or therapy. At sentencing, the judge may impose jail time, community service, and fines.

 

 

3 Things Most People Do Wrong When Being Charged With a DUI

When you have been charged with a DUI, it is easy to focus on negative

1. What Most People Do Wrong:  Panic, Give Up, or Focus on Regret. What You Can Do Right:  Spend energy on affirmations.

    • You can’t change the past, so you need to put your energy into the future.  Here are some affirmations that will help you be confident in yourself and your future happiness.
      • Know that you may have defenses that you aren’t aware of yet.
      • Understand that everyone makes mistakes, and you can always recover.
      • Forgive yourself and focus on what you can learn from the experience to help you in the future.

2. What Most People Do Wrong:  Delay.  Procrastination is one of your most dangerous enemies if you have been charged with a DUI. Some people requesting a DMV hearing and miss the deadline, others delay seeking legal counsel immediately, others wait to begin changing harmful habits.   

What You Can Do Right:  Take immediate action!  

  • Request a DMV hearing to avoid the default, which is a suspended license.
  • Immediately start looking for an attorney who is experienced in criminal law, particularly DUI.
  • Change your habits starting now, so that you don’t end up in more hot water. Make sure you do not risk getting another DUI. If you struggle with substance abuse or alcoholism, work with your attorney to identify treatment programs or counseling that you may work into a plea deal if you decide not to go to trial.

3. What Most People Do Wrong:  Spend money as usual, and forget to set aside funds for DUI.  What You Can Do Right:  Start preparing financially.   If convicted, you will be facing costs of fines, counseling, and eventually increased insurance costs and an interlock device when you can drive again.  These costs add up, so now is the time to start preparing financially to handle those responsibilities.

      • If you qualify, a public defender can save you costs.  Some defendants prefer to hire a private attorney.
      • Start setting aside money from paychecks to allocate to DUI expenses.
      • Talk to family members about assisting you during this time, if they are able to contribute.

A DUI can be challenging, but you can hit it head on by being proactive.  Don’t give up or panic.  Find an attorney who may be able to assist you in beating the charge.  Take immediate action to defend yourself and your right to drive. Prepare financially to put yourself in the best position to succeed in making the most of a tough situation.

 

5 Secrets to a Successful DUI Defense

If you are facing a DUI charge, the most important step is not to give up.  The government has the burden to prove its case against you, and there is hope for a good resolution.  This article will give you the 5 most important secrets to preparing your DUI defense.

1. Request an administrative hearing with the DMV regarding your Driver’s License within 10 days.

  • What is this hearing? – You only have 10 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing at the DMV office.  The formal name is Driver Safety Administrative Per Se “APS” Hearing.   
  • What happens if I do request it? – A DMV hearing officer (not a judge) presides over this hearing.  This officer cannot fine you or send you jail.  The sole issue is whether or not your driver’s license should be suspended.  
  • What happens if I don’t request it? – If you don’t request a hearing, the default is that your license will be suspended 30 days from your arrest.

2. Get an attorney that has experience in DUI cases.

  • Attorneys are not “one size fits all.”  There are many different areas in which attorneys specialize.  They also greatly range in experience and competence.
  • Look for an attorney who focuses on criminal law and who has experience.
  • Find an attorney who regularly practices in the court where you will appear so that your lawyer will know the judge and the prosecutor well or at least have been in front of them before.

3. Use the DMV Hearing to Learn More about the Case Against You.

  • Bring an attorney and gather information.  You have the right to be represented by an attorney at the DMV hearing, and it provides a good opportunity for you and your attorney to find out information because you can do the following:
    • Hear the evidence against you
    • Subpoena witnesses (such as the arresting officer)
    • Present testimony of witnesses (such as a passenger who was with you)
    • Cross-examine witnesses
    • Testify yourself.

4. Consider a Motion to Suppress Evidence

  • A Motion to Suppress is basically a document that requests that the Judge disallow certain evidence against you on the basis that it was illegally obtained.  
  • This Motion could be challenging the reason for the traffic stop, the questioning conducted by a police officer, etc.
  • A Motion to Suppress is very fact-specific based on your particular case, so be sure to consult with your attorney on whether this Motion would be effective in your case.

5. Consider a Plea Bargain.

  • Although some Defendants relish their “day in court,” there are instances where a plea bargain may be a safer bet given the evidence against you.
  • Like the Motion to Suppress, the decision on whether a plea bargain is right for you is very individual to your specific case.  You will need to consult with your attorney, but keep your mind open to a plea bargain because sometimes the best defense is when your attorney negotiates an advantageous bargain for you.

 

 

What Kind of Fees Can I Expect with a DUI Charge?

Unfortunately, the cost of a DUI is very high.  This article will summarize some of the costs that you can anticipate, as well as give you helpful links to find out more.  Your attorney can also advise you on the costs to be anticipated, and can help you prepare for the road ahead.

  1. Impound Fees.  If your vehicle was impounded, you will be on the hook for administrative fees, plus the cost of towing and storage.  The administrative fee depends on where the vehicle was impounded, but for instance, the cost in Vacaville can be $234.  (See https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/dl/fees/miscdl_fees#misc_duireissue).  Also, be aware that the vehicle can only be released to the Registered Owner.  However, if the owner is incarcerated, then the jail can provide a Vehicle Release Form.
  2. Driver’s License Fees.  These vary depending on the age of the driver, and whether it is a first or second offense, but to give you an idea of the ballpark the Reissue Admin Fee for a Driver over 21, is $125.  This link will give you the specifics:  https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/dl/fees/miscdl_fees#misc_duireissue.
  3. Bail Fees.  If you have been incarcerated, you can anticipate a bail bonsdmen fee.  The way it works is that the court sets the bail.  The bonds company charges you a fee (usually a percentage of the amount of bail), and then the bonds company pays the full amount to the court.  When you appear at your hearing, the bonds company receives their money back, but they earned the fee.
  4. Court Fines.  These can run you at least $2,000.  According to the Yolo County Sentencing Guidelines for Infractions and Misdemeanors, Effective August 25, 2016, the minimum fine to be imposed for a DUI is $1958.  
  5. Other Miscellaneous Court Fines and Fees.   The Court will likely impose misc. fines and fees which total at least $300, depending on the jurisdiction.  See the excerpt below from the Yolo County Sentencing Guidelines for Infractions and Misdemeanors, Effective August 25, 2016.
  6. Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 8.57.36 PMCounseling – The amount of counseling ordered and the cost of the classes varies, but a conservative estimate would be at least $200 for counseling and classes.
  7. Restitution – If the DUI involved an accident, the court may order restitution, which means that you will have to pay for the damages incurred by the other driver.
  8. Interlock  – An interlock device is placed in your car so that your breath alcohol level is checked before you can drive.  The cost can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle and the company you choose.  One company surveyed charged a $60 installation fee and 69.95 plus tax per month.  
  9. Insurance – Automobile insurance rates are higher for those who have been convicted of a DUI.  To reinstate your license after a DUI, you will have to file a Proof of Insurance Certificate (SR-22).  These sites can give you more information about the insurance needed.  https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl35 

 

 

Can I get a DUI Expunged in California?

If you have a DUI conviction on your record that is interfering with employment or perhaps immigration, you may be wondering if you can get a DUI expunged in California.  The answer is maybe.  There is not right to have a DUI expunged, but it is possible to have one granted under certain circumstances.  This article will walk you through some of the important questions, but consult with an attorney to find out if you can get your DUI expunged.

  • What is expungement?

California Penal Code 1203.4 lists the circumstances in which a defendant (the person who committed the crime) can have their offense dismissed and be released from the penalties resulting from the offense.

  • Do I have the right to have my DUI expunged?

No, you do not have the right to have a DUI expunged. The court has discretion, which means that the court can look at the circumstances and decide whether or not to grant your request.  This means that you have a chance, but there are no guarantees.

  • Should I petition the court now?
  • You have to be finished complying with all the conditions that were imposed upon you at sentencing.  This includes:
    • Fines have to have been paid.
    • Counseling completed.
    • Community service if applicable is done.
    • Competition of any probation.
    • Completion of any other requirement of the court.
  • You are not currently charged with, on probation for, or serving a sentence for another offense.
  • You did not commit new crimes while on probation.
  • What is the interest of justice that is considered by the court in determining whether to grant my petition? 
  • The interest of justice is not specific, but there are factors that weigh in whether a court will consider an expungement in the interest of justice:
    • The length of time since the DUI
    • Employment considerations
    • Family considerations
    • The circumstances of the DUI itself
  • What is the process?
  • You will likely want to hire an attorney to assist you with the paperwork.
  • You request a dismissal of your charge, which is called a petition for relief.
  • The prosecuting attorney is allowed a certain amount of time to respond.
  • What are the limits of what an expungement can do for me?

Getting your DUI expunged may help you in meeting your employment, licensing or educational goals.  However, getting the DUI expunged will not prevent your sentence from being enhanced in the event that you get a subsequent DUI in the future.  Also, it is rare that expungement lowers your insurance rates. Although your conviction has been dismissed, it may still be accessible through public records.

3 Essential Steps to Best Resolve a DUI Conviction

If you entered a guilty plea to a DUI or lost your case at trial, this article is for you.  It discusses what to do next once you have a DUI conviction.  Following these steps will help you succeed in completing your probation successfully and putting this conviction behind you.

Set Yourself Up for Probation Success

  • Know.  Make sure you find out what the terms are of your probation and how long it lasts.  Typically, you will at minimum be ordered to stay drug free and not have any other criminal offenses.    
  • Do.  Confirm that you have your paperwork and call the court for a copy if you have lost it.  This will list what you need to accomplish and when.  Typically you will need a counseling evaluation and a certain amount of counseling sessions. You may have community service obligations.  Following through with the Court’s orders is essential.
  • Report.  Ensure that anything you complete is reported, because you want to “get credit” for the counseling, etc. that you finish.  If you don’t know whether the court has a record of what you’ve done, be proactive to call and find out.

Do Not Drive with a Suspend Driver’s License 

  • Don’t drive while your license is suspended.  Typically, your license will be suspended.  Make sure that you do not drive during the suspension period.
  • Complete the DUI Program.   You will likely need to complete a DUI program prior to reinstatement of your license.    
  • More information about Suspended Driver’s License.  For more information about a suspended driver’s license in California go to http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/suspended-license.php

Compliant Driving after a DUI – Interlock and Insurance

  • Interlock.  An ignition interlock device prevents you from driving with a level of blood alcohol above the setting.  You will typically be ordered to utilize this device for a certain amount of time following your DUI, and you shouldn’t do anything to try to bypass the system.    
  • Insurance.  You need a special type of automobile insurance following a DUI.  It is often called high-risk or SR-22 insurance.  Make sure that you obtain the right kind of insurance and keep your payments current.

If you take the time to know and obey the terms of your probation, you can successfully overcome a DUI conviction.  Make sure that you find out what you need to accomplish, avoid driving while your license is suspended, and take the steps necessary once your driving privileges are restored.

3 Things Most People Do Wrong After Getting a DUI

If you were just charged with DUI (Driving Under the Influence), then the last thing you want to do is make any more mistakes.  This article will explain what people often do wrong and what to remember to avoid those pitfalls.  

 

  • Mistake: Post to Social Media/Publicize to Friends.

 

Remember: “You have the right to remain silent.”

After getting a DUI, many people are fired up and furious.  Many feel that they were treated unfairly by the police or that there were extenuating circumstances in their case.  If you feel this way, you may be right, but you should exercise your right to remain silent even when you are not in custody.  Your public social media accounts are not the right place to post details about your arrest or charge, because anything posted publicly could potentially be used against you as an admission.  It is also a common mistake for people to tell friends or associates at work about the criminal charge.  While it may be therapeutic to share the story, it is often better not to share this information with friends or co-workers, as news often travels fast and there may be professional repercussions to you.  Remember, you are presumed innocent, so don’t let your own mouth get you into trouble before you have had your day in court.

 

  • Mistake:  Procrastinate.  

 

Remember:  “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Denial is real, and after getting a DUI many people want to forget about it and inadvertently lose track of details.  Some throw the paperwork in a drawer.  Others fail to find out when their administrative hearing is for the Driver’s License.  Many will put finding an attorney on their mental task list, but not follow through in taking that step.  The most important step you can take in your defense is the first one.  As the old adage says, you eat an elephant one bite at a time.  First, organize your paperwork.  Next, identify important dates:  When is your administrative hearing?  When is your first court date?  Third, decide on your legal defense:  Are you going to request a public defender?  Are you going to hire a private attorney?  

 

  • Mistake:  Have Another Run-In With the Law.   

 

Remember:  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

So you have a DUI.  It’s not good news, but it is manageable.  Even if it’s not your first DUI, you need to remain calm and focus on the future, not the past. The most important step you can take is to keep your nose clean and stay out of trouble.  The worst mistake you can make is to compound the DUI with subsequent criminal offenses.  It’s common for people to have problems after the DUI, so expect this from yourself and prepare for it.  Depression can push people back into an addiction cycle, where illegal drug use may be a problem.  Enlist the help of family members and friends to avoid anything that could lead to criminal offenses:  do not drink and drive, avoid situations that may erupt in domestic violence, beware of illegal drug use, do not drive if your license is suspended).  This is how you avoid the “big things,” but there are other small things you can do.  If you are a passenger, encourage the driver to obey traffic laws. Avoid situations or friend groups where illegal activities may be occurring, even if you aren’t participating.  The bottom line here is do everything you can to avoid getting charged with another crime.

 

 

 

 

Never Do These 5 Things after Being Charged with a DUI

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you certainly have many worries and concerns about what you should and shouldn’t do.  This article will walk you through a list of actions you should avoid at this critical time, so that you can be in the best position to resolve your case as favorably as possible.   

    1. Don’t panic or give up.  A DUI can be one of the most stressful events in your life, so it’s understandable that you might panic or want to give up on all the good things you are doing in your life, like work or fulfilling family responsibilities.  Hire a great attorney as soon as possible and let your attorney guide you through this experience.  Ask your attorney a lot of questions, so that you understand the process. Don’t berate yourself for what can’t be changed and focus on problem solving in the future.

 

  • Don’t delay in hiring an attorney.  Don’t delay in hiring your attorney because you will have a DMV hearing typically prior to the resolution of your DUI case in court. After an arrest for DUI, the officer is required by law to immediately forward a copy of the notice of suspension or revocation form and any driver license taken into possession to the DMV.  The DMV automatically conducts an administrative review that includes an examination of the officer’s report, the suspension or revocation order, and any test results.  You have the right to request a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order, and your attorney can assist you in the DMV hearing.
  • Don’t drive on a suspended or revoked license, don’t get another DUI, and don’t commit any other crimes.  Although it seems fairly obvious that you shouldn’t drive on a suspended or revoked license or commit any other crimes, it is somewhat common for defendants to slip up in this area.  This is a risk you do not want to take.  The penalties are enhanced for subsequent DUI offenses.  Plan ahead.  Look at public transportation or find someone to drive you to work so that you don’t get in a situation where you feel forced to drive on a suspended or revoked license.  If you are attending an event or party, make sure that your keys are safely out of your reach and that you are prepared to take a cab or Uber.  Discuss with your attorney and your family the strategies you will employ to avoid getting in trouble.
  • Don’t post publicly on Facebook or Social Media.  Consider changing your public social media accounts to private.  Do you have pictures of yourself with a drink in hand on the night you were arrested for the DUI?  You can’t destroy or delete evidence, but you are not under obligation to keep your social media account public.  Also, refrain from posting any new information about the DUI. Consult with your attorney about information on your social media accounts, as he or she will be in the best position to advise you how pictures or posts may impact your case.
  • Don’t forget to write down what happened right away.  Your memory is best when it’s fresh, so take the time right after your DUI to sit down and write everything you can remember:
  • When, where, and how were you stopped?
  • What did the officer say when he stopped you?  
  • What did you tell the officer?
  • What type of tests did you do?
  • How did you perform on those tests?
  • Was a breath test administered?  Where, when and how?
  • Was there anything that impacted the tests?  busy traffic, health impediments, etc.

 

In sum:  The most important step you need to take right now is to relax and look to building your case by finding a good attorney as soon as possible, avoiding escalating your problems with other offenses, being aware of your public posts, and recording your recollections as soon as possible to assist your attorney in providing an excellent defense for you.