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DUI Sentencing

Every driving under the influence conviction, whether under the influence of alcohol or drugs, will result a driver’s license suspension for a statutorily proscribed or court-ordered period of time. However, if you were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after January 1, 2019 you will probably have the option of installing an ignition interlock device (IID) which will allow you to avoid the hard suspension of your license. Most misdemeanor DUIs for alcohol, but not drugs, are eligible for this option. On the most most serious of DUI convictions, e.g. DUI homicide, fourth offense DUI (within a ten year period), some DUI manslaughters and DUIs with serious injury, the state may permanantly revoke your license to drive.

A DUI conviction is criminal conviction and is a separate matter from the DMV administrative proceedings. Most DUIs are charged and convicted as misdemeanors but the punishment becomes progressively more severe with each DUI (cummulative over a ten-year “lookback” time period). When a misdemeanor DUI conviction includes aggravating factors, such as DUI with a child under 14 in the vehicle, driving at excessive speeds, excessively high BAC, causing an accident, or test refusal, the penalties are enhanced. Some serious DUIs may be charged and convicted as a felony. These DUIs carry significant consequences and the offender can be sentenced to prison, among other unpleasantries.

Because DUI is a priorable offense, one DUI accumlates on top of another within the lookback period of ten years. Your Orange County DUI sentening defense attorney can assess your options and best defense, but also to review your case for any evidence that might argue for a dismissal of the charge. A first offense DUI can turn into something more serious if you have another DUI within the next ten years.

California drivers—or anyone driving in California for that matter—shoud be aware that a DUI in another state will count as a DUI prior under California law. That is because California is a member of the Driver License Compact which is an interstate agreement (among all but six states who have not become members) to share driving records. Not only will your prior out-of-state DUIs be available to the California courts, but if you have had a license suspension or revocation in another state, California will know that too. You will not be able to get a license in California while the suspension is in effect (a revocation is permanent) and vis-a-versa. If your license is suspended or revoked in California, you will not be able to get a license in a member state.

The California Vehicle Code DUI sentencing scheme is complex. Although the punishments are written into the code, courts have some discretion in sentencing the DUI offender. Often it varies from county to county. In Orange County, most courts and prosecutors take a dim view of driving under the influence but also recognize that many DUI offenders need treatment, not punishment. That is not to say you won’t be punished, but a DUI sentening defense attorney familiar with the district attorneys, courts, and programs in Orange County can often identify and suggest alternative punishments to the court—especially for repeat offenders or those who qualify for diversion programs.

As a general guide, DUI sentencing for those who are over the age of 21 is as follows:

1st-time DUI:

  • Up to a 6-month driver license suspension, but with the voluntary installation of an IID, there is no hard suspension;
  • Possible confinement in jail for up to six months;
  • Up to five years informal probation;
  • Successful completion of a three-month DUI-awareness program (at the driver's expense) if the drivers BAC was under .20%. If the driver's BAC was over .20% or if the driver refused to take a chemical test after being arrested for DUI, the penalty imposed will include a nine-month DUI-awareness program;
  • Possible order to install an Interlock Ignition Device on your vehicle (although not mandatory on the first DUI offense, it may be ordered by the court); and
  • Fines and penalty assessments.

2nd Offense DUI (within 10 years of the first DUI/DWI conviction in California or any other state):

  • Installation of an IID for one year, which will allow continued driving as long as the IID is in operation (or if an IID is not installed, a driver’s license suspension for two years, with a possible restricted license during the second year);
  • A mandatory 10 days in jail, with a possible sentence of one year in jail;
  • Up to five years probation;
  • Successful completion of an 18- to 30-month DUI-awareness program; and
  • Fines and penalty assessments.

3rd Offense DUI (within 10 years of the first DUI/DWI conviction in California or any other state):

  • Installation of an IID for two years, which will allow continued driving as long as the IID is in operation (or if an IID is not installed, a driver’s license suspension for up to three years, with a possible restricted license after completing at least 18 months of the hard suspension);
  • Jail sentence of 120 days up to one year ;
  • Up to five years probation;
  • Successful completion of a 18- to 30-month DUI-awareness program; and
  • Fines and penalty assessments.

Aggravating factors or a chemical test refusal at the time of the DUI arrest may tack on additional punishments.

The circumstances of the arrest, chemical test results, and a variety of other factors can influence the outcome of your case. A better sentencing outcome can be facilitated with the help of an attentive defense lawyer. Orange County DUI sentencing defense attorney William Weinberg endeavors to put a human face on his clients, encouraging the prosecution and the court to fashion an appropriate sentence, not a “one size fits all” punishment.

Defending even a first-offense DUI requires an understanding of the complicated and sometimes confusing criminal and administrative DUI laws. William Weinberg has defended hundreds of DUI cases and his goal is to obtain the best possible result depending on the specifics of the stop, arrest, and chemical testing. As an experienced DUI sentencing attorney William Weinberg will review your case and look closely for any viable defenses to the charge. While not every potential defense will get a dismissal, a disciplined defense may still result in a successful conclusion, such as conviction on a lesser charge, a minimum sentence, or alternative sentencing.

Orange County DUI Defense Attorney William Weinberg can Help

Whatever your circumstances, you can be secure in the knowledge that Orange County DUI sentencing defense attorney Weinberg will apply his considerable experience and expertise to defend your rights under the law. Contact Mr. Weinberg at any time to set up a confidential consultation with a DUI sentencing attorney in Orange County without charge. He will work with you and your family to setup a fee structure that best suits your circumstances.

Orange County DUI Lawyer Blog - Sentencing
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Anyone who is arrested should contact an experienced Orange County DUI Criminal Defense Attorney to determine whether or not their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, were violated.

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