Do I Need a DUI Attorney for My First Offense in California?

Aug 22, 2018 | DUI, News

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If you have a recent charge with driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of California, you may be wondering what to do next. As a DUI conviction can lead to severe consequences and may impact your future, it is essential to contact a DUI attorney right away. There are many different types of attorneys, but to fight DUI charges, you will want to contact a San Diego criminal defense attorney.


What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time?

When you get charged with your first DUI, there will be both administrative proceedings and criminal proceedings. On the administrative side of things, generally, once charged, the police officers will confiscate your driver’s license, and you will receive a temporary license along with a notice of a possible DMV suspension. The DMV will then review your case and decide whether or not to suspend your driver’s license.

To possibly prevent the suspension of your driver’s license, you will need to request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest (if you receive the notice at the time of your charges). If you do not receive the notification at that time and instead get it in the mail, then your ten-day timeline to request a hearing starts once you receive the notice. Your notice is another reason why it is a good idea to call a DUI attorney immediately so that you can make sure you do not miss any important deadlines for your case.


Administrative Penalties for Your First DUI

If you fail to timely request the DMV hearing, or if the hearing does not go in your favor, your license will be suspended by the DMV for at least four months. Additionally, you will be required to carry SR-22 insurance to have your license reinstated after the suspension period is up. You may also have to pay fines to the DMV.


Criminal Penalties for Your First DUI

In addition to the administrative proceedings, you will also have criminal charges for the DUI. For your first DUI offense, the judge may decide to order a period of probation and may also require you to pay a fine. It is also common for a judge to order first-time offenders to take a court-approved DUI class. A judge also decides whether or not to sentence you to jail time which means anywhere from three days to six months. However, longer jail sentences are more likely to incur for multiple offenses. A DUI attorney assists in the criminal process and possibly help in reducing the charges.


Is a DUI a Felony?

In California, a first DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor. If you get subsequent DUIs, they may classify as felonies under certain circumstances. In addition, if you have obtained a DUI after a car accident involving serious injury or death to someone else, you may face more severe penalties than you would for just a DUI charge. You could potentially undergo a felony charge under these circumstances. It is advisable to contact a San Diego DUI Attorney to handle your case if any of these circumstances are present in the facts of your case.