Few people were sorry to see 2020 go. As difficult as 2020 was, 2021 could be even worse for those who started it off with a DUI arrest.
The California Highway Patrol said that in the recent New Year’s Eve Maximum Enforcement Period, it arrested 442 people for driving under the influence. This year’s arrest total is down slightly from last year’s 491 arrests made in the same enforcement period.
The consequences for those arrested for the first time for driving under the influence are just as harsh in 2021 as they were last year.
It’s important to remember that in our state, a DUI arrest results in criminal charges and kicks off a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) process as well.
The arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license, which will then begin a license suspension process by the DMV. The officer will also give you a temporary license good for 30 days if your license was valid at the time of arrest.
Important DUI deadline
You then have just 10 days in which to contact the DMV to challenge the suspension and set a hearing. If you do that, you’ll get a driver’s license extension pending the DMV hearing results.
At the DMV hearing, you or your attorney can challenge the suspension or revocation of your license and try to show why it is not justified under the law.
Note: for a 21-year-old driver who took a blood or breath test that showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more, a first offense typically results in a four-month suspension for the DMV proceeding. There can be an additional six-month suspension which could overlap the DMV suspension if convicted in Court of a DUI.
On the criminal-charge side of the ledger, that same driver will typically – but not always – receive three to five years of informal probation, fines, be required to attend an alcohol program, possibly be required to have an ignition interlock and possibly public work, electronic or actual custody depending on the facts of the case.
It’s important to understand that when certain aggravating circumstances, like an accident or high blood alcohol level are present, those “typical” punishments can become much harsher – including jail sentences. There are also possible mitigating factors which could assist in getting lesser penalties or charges. Generalities are useful to give people broad outlines, but the specific circumstances of your arrest, background and facts of your case should be discussed in detail with an attorney.