A California DUI can be costly in time and money

Californians can avoid and better defend themselves against DUI accusations by knowing the answers to these frequently asked questions about the state’s DUI laws.

It is a costly experience in time and money for anyone in California charged with a DUI. There are collateral costs of attorneys and rising insurance, there are significant fines, DMV licensing reinstatement costs and costly required programs. Time wise, there is the arrest, overnight in jail, missing work, attending Court, programing and potential custody or public work. In addition, there is the inconvenience of a loss of license, the additional transportation costs and travel time to work and court ordered programs. While many states may share the same or similar DUI laws, the elements of the offense and the penalties can differ to some degree. Also, penalties from state to state may differ in areas like fines, DUI programs, license suspension, custody and other aspects of the sentencing. It is important to understand the DUI does not mean "drunk" driving, but rather "impaired" driving ability from alcohol and/or drugs.

DMV administrative license suspension is in addition to criminal proceedings

California has an administrative suspension process that can also be triggered by the DUI arrest based on blood alcohol levels, test refusal, and prior record beginning 30 days after arrest unless the individual requests a DMV Admin Per Se Hearing within 10 days of arrest. This administrative action is in addition to any criminal proceedings. First offenders age 21 and over face a possible four-month suspension. Arrestees that refuse a blood or breath test face a possible one-year suspension on a first offense - regardless of blood alcohol level. Defendants under 21 face a year suspension if they are even .01 or more regardless if charges are filed. There are much greater administrative suspensions if the individual has priors or is on probation for an alcohol or drug DUI.

There is no administrative suspension for nonalcohol DUI cases unless there is a conviction for being under the influence of a drug while driving. For all DUI convictions there is a separate DUI suspension which can run at the same time as the administrative suspension. Administrative and Conviction suspensions may start at different times and have different requirements to turn the suspension into a restricted license for work and Court ordered programs.

California DUI programs are standardized throughout the state

Driving under the influence programs are usually mandated as a term of probation by the Court as part of any DUI sentence. California DMV requires these programs in order to get your driving privilege back. The program curriculums are dictated by the state and all programs are identical throughout the state so you could transfer to a different provider in another county and still get credit for whatever you have completed before transferring. The length of the programs in San Diego area generally for the first offense program is three months, and nine months if your BA (blood alcohol) is .20 or more. Second or more offenses require an 18-month program. Individuals under 21 may have an extra month to include a Star program on a first offense.

Experienced DUI defense attorneys know what needs to be done

Anyone who is accused of a DUI in California may find themselves dealing with a number of serious consequences in a maze of legal and administrative proceedings. Having an experienced DUI defense attorney familiar with the specific Court where your case is pending, can be of great value in being able to get the best possible resolution of your case and guide you through the system.