In California, if you are stopped for suspected drunk driving and are found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher, you will be arrested for DUI.
A first DUI conviction in California can bring anywhere from 4 days to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a suspension of your driver's license for up to 10 months. In addition, some counties will require an ignition interlock device to be installed in your vehicle for a set time to prevent you from repeating your offense.
These penalties are for simple DUI, of course. Other factors can increase your jail time and/or fines, such as if your BAC was excessively higher than .08% or you caused an accident in which others were injured.
Even one DUI conviction can affect you later on since the "Lookback Period" for a DUI is 10 years. This means that you will be facing heightened penalties for a full decade following your conviction.
When you are convicted of DUI in California, you may also be forced to get new car insurance through an SR-22 insurance plan. Your current insurer may drop you since you are now a higher risk to insure. Without car insurance, your vehicle registration will be cancelled within 45 unless you find a new policy.
Some situations may make it possible to let your DUI attorney argue for a plea bargain which would downgrade your DUI to a wet reckless charge. You may be successful at securing this deal if your BAC was borderline, no accident occurred, and it is your first such charge.
Given the weight of such punishments for a single DUI conviction, it makes sense to contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys right away.