If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI in Riverside, you likely have concerns. Consider the following common questions about DUI.
- Will I go to jail?Jail time is not mandatory for DUI convictions in CA; however, it is possible in both misdemeanor and felony cases to spend time in jail. A reputable DUI attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to help you avoid going to jail if you are convicted.If this is not your first DUI or your case includes any of the following factors, the potential jail time is likely to be greater:
- Being under the age of 21
- Having minor children in the vehicle
- Additional charges for excessive speeding
- Causing an accident while DUI
- Refusing a chemical test
- Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15% or higher
- What is a felony DUI?Your DUI charge will likely be classified as a misdemeanor unless any of the following are true, in which case you may be facing a felony.
- You caused an accident while driving under the influence that caused another individual to be killed or injured.
- You have a prior felony DUI charge.
- Your DUI is a fourth offense in a ten-year period.
- If someone died in my DUI accident, am I facing involuntary manslaughter charges?If you were involved in an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and someone suffered a fatality, it is not involuntary manslaughter in California (as it would be without the drugs or alcohol). Instead, you will likely be charged with either vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated or gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Prosecution for these charges only applies to individuals driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol who committed one of the following:
- A dangerous but lawful act
- A misdemeanor
- An infraction
You must also have demonstrated negligence, which means you behaved in a way that put others in danger. This typically involves taking a step that you know could threaten another person’s life.
- What are the defenses for vehicular manslaughter while DUI?There are several ways for your attorney to prepare a defense in a vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence case. They may include the following.
- You were not demonstrating negligence. Your DUI attorney may be able to show that you were behaving in a way that any reasonable person would in the same situation, but you got into an accident anyway.
- You weren’t under the influence. If you were accused of driving under the influence when you were not, your lawyer may be able to present an effective defense based on that. This method may involve disputing blood alcohol tests and providing other evidence that you were sober when the accident occurred.
- You didn’t cause the accident. You should not face charges of vehicular manslaughter while DUI unless you caused the crash. Even if you were driving under the influence, you may have a solid defense if you did not take any action that caused the collision. If another driver was at-fault, your attorney may be able to build your defense on that basis.
- Can I avoid jail time for a second DUI?In most cases, an individual who is convicted of a second DUI will spend at least a few days in jail, but often the sentence is for much longer than that. A second offense may lead to as much as a year behind bars.The important factor to consider is that being charged with a DUI doesn’t mean that you will be convicted. An experienced DUI lawyer can help you avoid being convicted of the offense by:
- Completing a thorough investigation of your charges
- Weakening the prosecutor’s case
- Attempting to dispute any evidence against you
They may also argue your case in court, with evidence that suggests:
- Your BAC test was not administered correctly
- The police stopped you without due cause
- You were not driving under the influence
Depending on your unique circumstances, your attorney may be able to block enough evidence to get your charges dropped. They may also be able to help you get a plea bargain from the prosecution, which may reduce your penalty if you are convicted. Such a deal may include serving community service instead of going to jail.
- Will I lose my license if this is my first DUI?If this is your first DUI offense, it is possible to lose your driver’s license for four to ten months; however, an experienced attorney may be able to help you fight the suspension and retain your license. Since a DUI conviction will automatically trigger a suspension for six months, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you to get a DMV hearing within the first ten days after your arrest and then represent you in court to fight against the conviction.
- When will I lose my license after my DUI arrest?Your driver’s license may be confiscated when you are arrested for DUI, but it is possible to get a temporary license. Act on this as soon as possible; the DMV will suspend your driving privileges automatically after ten days of your arrest. Your attorney will be able to help you request a DMV hearing to decide on your suspension, allowing you to drive up until the hearing date. The DMV operates on its own timeline and does not wait for your criminal case to go through the court system.
- If this is my first DUI, can I get a restricted license?You may apply for a restricted license after yours has been suspended for thirty days. It is also possible to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) and minimize the length of your license suspension. There is no way to be sure that your application will be accepted, but a skilled lawyer can offer assistance in trying to get your driving privileges partially restored.
- Does DUI show up on a criminal background check?In most cases, a DUI conviction will appear on a criminal background check. If you have any related charges, such as refusing a breathalyzer or impaired driving, they may show up as well. Several factors may affect the way your background check is used and whether your history may be held against you. It is possible, however, to have a DUI charge taken off your record.There are many ways a DUI conviction may affect your future through your criminal record, including the following:
- Colleges and universities considering your acceptance
- Professional associations deciding whether to grant a license for your skill or trade
- Your current employer, upon review of your records
- Potential future employers deciding whether to hire you
If you are turned away by any of these institutions, it is not considered discrimination but rather standard procedure.
- How can I get a DUI conviction taken off my record?You may be able to get a DUI removed from your criminal record through a process called “expungement.” This would mean that the conviction is sealed and not open to the public in most cases. When your DUI is expunged, it no longer shows up on most background checks.An expungement also changes refusal by colleges admissions offices, professional licensing associations, and employers from standard procedure to discrimination. These institutions may not hold an expunged DUI against you. Other factors to consider include the following:
- Employers may not ask you about arrests that did not lead to conviction or expunged convictions.
- Occasionally, a background check will show an expunged conviction, along with notation that it was expunged. It is illegal for an employer to deny you employment based on the expunged conviction.
- Federal law does not allow arrests to be reported after seven years; these arrests “fall off” the report. An employer may not hold an arrest against you if it did not result in a conviction.
A DUI attorney will be able to help you determine whether you are eligible to get your record expunged, prepare your request, and fight any challenges to the request by the prosecution.
- Does expungement completely erase a DUI from your criminal record?If you get your DUI expunged in California, there are still a few limits to how it may affect you, including the following.
- Expungement doesn’t remove any “points” you get on your license due to a DUI.
- If your right to own a gun was taken away due to a felony DUI, it won’t restore that right.
- Getting your record expunged will not help you to get your driver’s license reinstated.
- If you get another DUI within 10 years, the expunged DUI will still count as a previous offense.
- Can I join the military if I have a DUI?Technically, anyone with a DUI conviction on their record is not allowed to join any branch of the military. In some cases, however, you may be able to get your DUI waived. Some of the requirements to get a DUI conviction waived include:
- No one was injured or killed as a result of your DUI.
- Your DUI was not a felony.
- You have successfully completed your sentence and probation.
It is essential to discuss this matter with your recruiter if you would like to join the military. Since anything you tell the recruiter is confidential, they cannot share the information you provide, and they may be willing to help you get a waiver approved. In any case, they will be able to give you advice and recommend the best course of action.
- What is DUI school?If you are required to attend DUI school in California, it may include a combination of education and counseling. The education portion is intended to help you understand the state’s DUI laws and how they affect you. The program also includes education on problem drinking and drug abuse, using videos, lectures, and group discussion.The counseling portion of DUI school includes both one-on-one sessions and group counseling. You are required to be sober during these classes and to participate actively in order to remain in the program.
- Am I required to take DUI classes?If you are convicted of any of the following offenses, you are required to attend DUI classes in California.
- “Wet reckless” charges that often result from plea bargains negotiated for DUI
- Underage DUI involving a BAC of 0.05% or higher
- DUI with a BAC of 0.08% or higher
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Any other drug or alcohol-related driving offense
You will also be required to attend DUI school if you plead “nolo contendere” (no contest) or guilty to any of these charges instead of a trial by jury conviction.
- Will I need to pay for DUI classes?If you are required to attend DUI school, you must pay the costs out of your own pocket. This will include making a down payment when you enroll. The total cost of the classes may range from $200 to over $3,000, depending on the specific requirements for your case and the duration of your program. Some providers allow you to apply for a fee reduction or fee waiver if you do not have the means to pay for the program.
- Can I take DUI classes online?Although DUI school is typically only conducted in person, some providers have been allowing online attendance due to COVID-19 making in-person meetings impossible. There is normally no option to complete these classes online, though, so this is not likely to be a permanent option as social distancing guidelines are eased.
If You Have Been Charged with DUI in California, Seek Legal Counsel Immediately
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with DUI, call our firm. Your lawyer will help you address any issues or questions and prepare a case for the best possible outcome. The legal professionals at the Law Office of Dennis Moore have more than seven decades of combined legal experience. Visit our website today to find out how we can help.