Driving Under The Influence

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In General

Being arrested for Driving Under the Influence has both criminal and civil implications. The potential criminal implications are litigated in the Superior Courts, while the civil matter is heard at the DMV administration offices. This hearing is called a Administrative Per Se hearing (APS).

DMV Implications

The DMV suspension or revocation is an immediate administrative action taken against your driving privilege only.  Any sanctions imposed by DMV under APS are independent of any court-imposed jail sentence, fine, or other criminal penalty imposed when a person is convicted for driving under the influence (DUI).

I have just been arrested for DUI. What happens now?

The officer is required by law to immediately forward a copy of the completed notice of suspension or revocation form and any driver license taken into possession, with a sworn report 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. If the suspension or revocation is upheld during the administrative review, you may request a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation.

You have the right to request a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order. If the review shows there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, the action will be set aside. You will be notified by the DMV in writing only if the suspension or revocation is set aside following the administrative review.

How do I get back my confiscated driver license?

Your driver license will be returned to you at the end of the suspension or revocation, provided you pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV and you file proof of financial responsibility. The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law pursuant to Vehicle Code §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392. If it is determined that there is not a basis for the suspension or revocation, your driver license will be issued or returned to you.

Order of Suspension and temporary license

You may drive for 30 days from the date the order of suspension or revocation was issued, provided you have been issued a California driver license and your driver license is not expired, or your driving privilege is not suspended or revoked for some other reason.

Criminal Implications

What is the minimum and maximum penalties for a first DUI conviction?

Assuming there is no bodily injury or death resulting from the DUI, the minimum penalties for a misdemeanor first conviction are as follows:

  • $390 fine plus over $1,000 in ordinary penalty assessments, plus additional DUI-only assessments for a total of approxi­mately $1,800.
  • 48-hour jail sentence or a 90-day license restriction allowing you to drive to and from your work—and for work—if required, and to and from an alcohol treatment program. If the 90-day restriction is imposed, it begins after your DMV four-month suspension or 30-day suspension followed by a five-month restriction.
  • Attendance and completion of a $500, three-month alcohol-treatment program (nine months if your blood alcohol level was 0.20% or higher. Completing the program is a requirement for ever being able to drive again following a “per-se” DMV license suspension and for minimizing that suspension to 30 days (plus five or eight months of restricted driving) instead of the six- or ten-month flat suspension that would otherwise be imposed.
  • Loss of your driver’s license for at least 30 days, followed by either a five-month restriction to drive to, from, and for work and to and from an alcohol treatment program, or an additional two-month restriction that allows you to drive only to and from the program.

The maximum penalties for a misdemeanor first DUI conviction in California is a $1,000 fine plus over $2,600 in penalty ­assessments, six-months imprisonment in the county jail, a six-month license suspension; ten-months for blood alcohol level of 0.15% or more, having your vehicle “impounded” (stored at your expense) for 30 days, and being required to attach an “interlock” breath device to your vehicle that will not allow the car to start if there is any alcohol on your breath. This will cost you about $800.

What type of probation is required of a first offender?

Almost all first-time offenders are placed on probation for three to five years. If you violate any of the terms of your probation, you can face a nonjury hearing where additional penalties can be applied. The standard conditions of probation include: (1) not driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system; (2) submitting to a blood or roadside breathalyzer (PAS) test upon the request of a police officer; and (3) refraining from further violations of the law (no further misdemeanors — ordinary traffic infractions don’t count).

Why do I need an attorney?

Fighting a DUI involves attacking the way in which the arresting officers conducted the stop, the field sobriety test and the arrest. The United States Constitution affords its citizens the right to be free from unreasonable warrantless search and seizures by the government. A DUI is exactly that; an unwarranted search and seizure. So in order for the DUI to be constitutionally acceptable, the search and seizure must be reasonable. If the actions of the arresting officers are found to be unreasonable, then the DUI must be reduced or completely thrown out. At Hunt Law Group we will help you stand up for your constitutional rights.

Dru Vincent Hunt Attorney at Law

Dru Vincent Hunt
Attorney at Law

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