DUI Sentencing

Every driving under the influence conviction in California will result in a driver license suspension and the more serious convictions can result in a revocation of the driving privilege. The states share this information by means of the Interstate Driver License Compact--a suspension or revocation of your driving privilege in California will apply to any state. Many drivers are surprised to discover that if their license is suspended or revoked in California, they will not be able to get a license in another state as long as the California license suspension or revocation is in effect. An Orange County DUI sentencing lawyer can further explain this situation.

In addition to the inconvenient and costly suspension of your driver license, every driving under the influence conviction in California will result in fines, court-ordered attendance at DUI-awareness classes and/or programs, probation, and possible jail time. Furthermore, the court-ordered installation of an Interlocking Ignition Device (IID) is becoming increasingly common.

When a person is arrested for driving under the influence, his or her driver license is suspended and a temporary driver's license is issued. This temporary license is valid for only 30 days at which point the DMV will suspend driving privileges for a period of months or years, depending on the charge. The driver has the right to challenge the suspension but only if the driver requests a DMV Administrative Per Se hearing within 10 days of the arrest. If a hearing is requested, the driver's license may still be suspended if the hearing officer finds probable cause for the DUI arrest.

Not only is the driver subjected to a DMV administrative suspension, but the driver is also charged with a misdemeanor or felony, which requires a criminal court hearing before a judge. The driver may face additional court-ordered suspension time of his or her driver license, as well as other court-imposed punishments. A DUI sentencing lawyer in Orange County can help you try to avert or minimize any penalties.

The driver license suspension and court-imposed penalties vary by county and circumstances (for example, a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of over .20% carries enhanced penalties), but 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 suspension2;
  • Possible confinement in jail for up to six months;
  • Up to five years informal probation,
  • Successful completion of a three-month DUI-awareness program3 (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;
  • Fines and penalty assessments, which may total to over $3500;
  • Possible order to install an Interlock Ignition Device on your vehicle; and
  • Possible confinement in jail for up to six months.

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

  • Up to a two-year driver license suspension;
  • 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;
  • Fines of up to $1000; and
  • Installation of an Interlocking Ignition Device on the driver's vehicle.

3rd Offense DUI (within 10 years):

  • Up to a three-year driver license 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;
  • Fines of over $1000; and
  • Installation of an Interlocking Ignition Device on the driver's vehicle.

When a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test after being arrested for DUI, he or she faces a mandatory driver license suspension of one year (first-offense DUI) and the revocation of his or her driver license for 2 years on a second-offense DUI or 3 years on a third-offense DUI. More information about test refusals can be found here.

First, Second, and Third Offense DUIs are usually charged as misdemeanors. Please select this link for more information about misdemeanor DUI.

A 4th-time DUI (within 10 years) is a felony conviction which carries penalties of up to a four-year revocation of the driver's license to drive and a mandatory 16 months in state prison with up to four years imprisonment.

When a driver causes an accident, injures, or kills someone while driving under the influence, the penalties are far more severe and can result in a substantial prison sentence. Even a first-time DUI, which usually carries a maximum 6-month driver license suspension, carries a possible 3-year suspension if another party is injured as a result of driving under the influence. If the driver has been previously convicted of a DUI within the past ten years and is convicted of a subsequent DUI wherein he or she has injured another party, the penalty can carry a state prison sentence. A driver convicted of killing someone caused by his or her drunk driving can result in charges as severe as second-degree murder with a sentence of up life in state prison.

Please select the following links for more information on felony DUI, DUI with injuries, DUI manslaughter, and DUI 2nd degree murder.

Defending even a first-offense DUI requires an understanding of the complex and sometimes confusing criminal and administrative DUI laws. An experienced Orange County DUI sentencing attorney is able to review your case and determine whether you have any viable defense to the charge. William Weinberg has defended hundreds of DUI cases and his goal is to obtain the best possible outcome depending on the specifics of the arrest. Sometimes that means challenging the stop, arrest, or chemical testing. In other cases, that means negotiating a lesser charge or minimum sentence.

Whatever your circumstances, you can be assured that Mr. Weinberg will apply his considerable 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
Orange County DUI Lawyer Blog - DUI

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.