For even a first-time driving under the influence, DUI , or DWI charge in California, it is considered a criminal offense that can carry high penalties, fines, and costs. Not only does it come with a hefty fine, there could also be substantial jail time included. A 1st DUI offense in California is considered a complicated matter. It is in your best interest to remain calm and try not to do or say anything that would implicate you with guilt when you’re being pulled over by the police for suspicion of DUI or driving while under the influence of alcohol or another substance in CA.
Each state has their own rules for testing a driver for alcohol or drugs after an arrest or traffic stop. What happens when a police officer first arrests a driver for a suspected driving under the influence offense, the state of California has a chemical DUI blood or breath test law which means that every driver in this state is subject to give their implied consent to DUI testing after an arrest, which is most often a chemical blood, breath, or urine test taken an a hospital or police station. Just because this DUI California law is strict and causes most drivers to consent to taking the BAC tests and many times not pass or fail by having a blood alcohol content read over the legal limit of .08 BAC, there is help we can provide to fight and get first offense charges dropped or dismissed in many cases when any arrest or testing mistakes were made and found in enough time.
- 2017 California DUI First Offense Laws
- What The CA Penalties Are For A DUI Conviction
- 4 Best Ways To Help A 1st Offense CA DUI Case
- Consequences Of A First-Time DUI Conviction
- Am I Guilty If I Failed The Breath Test?
- What If I Did Have Some Drinks Before Driving?
- Police Mistakes With California 1st DUI Arrest Offenders
- Best Defense For California DUI First Offense Charges
There is no substitute for staying informed about your case, and knowing what all your true defense options really are. With any lawyer you do eventually decide on hiring, it is essential to know what they are (or should be) actually doing for you.
Too many first-offenders are quick to write a check to a DUI attorney, only to realize after the fact that the minimal effort was put forth in their case.
While there is never any guarantee in any field of law in CA, the more you know what to look out for in advance, the better your chances of winning will be in court.
Important: If you have just been arrested for DUI charges and this is for a first offense, this page will outline preventative steps for how to avoid the Ignition Interlock device and it’s high cost. For most drivers in California who get charged under the strict new laws today, knowing if they will need to get the Ignition Interlock installed and finding ways to stop it in time, will benefit their life as much as getting the charges dropped or reduced.
It is in your best interest to have a California DUI attorney in your area to help you with fighting a first DUI/DWI charge in CA, by having your arrest details examined free online through this site to help provide you with potential defense options. They can also help you in knowing what to expect for what happens in court, as well as for the cost as a first offender as it applies to your particular court case.
A first offense charge in California for DUI can result in a suspended license for at least one year, fines over $1,200 and installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of time, and the fees of monthly charges for this device are your responsibility to pay. Other penalties that may occur with a first DUI, DWI or related drunk driving charge in California include having your auto insurance increased or being dropped altogether from an auto insurance company, the denial of entry into certain countries because of a criminal record that is now stamped on your permanent record, as well as possible job loss or loss of future employment due to the criminal record in background checks.
First-time California DUI charges can successfully be defended when it can be shown that technicalities may have occurred, or when the police possibly gathered their evidence improper to procedure that demonstrates that a driver was in fact under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
What Happens With 2017 California DUI First Offense Charges, Laws and Penalties
In California, over 210,000 people are arrested and charged with a DUI offense each year, many of which who are first-time offenders. Driving under the influence can reach all levels of society and does not only just happen to the drivers that are clearly intoxicated or stumbling over while drunk. The truth is, in most cases drivers that get charged with a first offense DUI arrest are law abiding people that did not feel drunk or impaired in any way, and did not drive erratically or intoxicated, yet somehow still may have breath test results that read above the legal limit for a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 at the time the Breathalyzer or blood test is taken. Another growing reason many more drivers are getting arrested for DUI charges in CA for the first time, is not just because of being suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol – but rather for Marijuana, illegal drugs, or even legally prescribed medicine. It is also important to note that according to the DMV 2017 laws for California DUI charges regarding penalties and ignition interlock requirements, the costs and consequences are still equally severe if convicted or for a guilty plea, regardless of how the offense may have come about. Due to these serious consequences that add up to $16,000 on average for a even a 1st time conviction, this is why most drivers choose to get the best help to effectively fight the charges for a dismissal.
Just recently there has been significant changes to the existing law that many drivers may not even yet be aware of until they are facing this situation. For a even first offense conviction or guilty plea, a new bill ordering an Ignition Interlock requirement for DUI offenders was signed into law by the California Governor. This new law will now require that most convicted DUI drivers to install “Ignition Interlock” car Breathalyzer devices into any vehicle they will drive. This is one of the many latest penalties and most efficient ways to help prevent a person from driving while intoxicated on alcohol, and risk becoming a 2nd or repeat offender. This is also one of the primary reasons why having to use an Interlock device has become standard in CA, as well as most of the country. Unfortunately it is also one of the most expensive penalties for driving under the influence a driver will face if they get convicted of the charges. What will happen for how this new law works for a first non-injury DUI offense, is now a convicted offender may choose to have the Ignition Interlock installed for six months with full driving privileges, or choose to have a restricted driver’s license for a minimum of one year. While the license is not technically suspended, having this restricted driver’s license means that a person will only be allowed to drive to work or school, while also being required to finish all the DUI classes and counseling as part of the consequences ordered by the court for a 1st time offense.
If injuries or extensive property damage from an accident has occurred as a consequence of drunk or drugged driving, the usual misdemeanor charges may be upgraded to a far more serious felony offense. When the proper help is obtained in time, of the over 210,000 drivers who are arrested with one or more of these charges each year in CA, not every person charged will be convicted or found guilty of the offense. This is because the area of DUI law is very subjective, and it therefore creates several ways for how to successfully fight and beat the charges based upon each person’s unique arrest circumstances. There are a variety of reasonable explanations of why a driver could have appeared to look under the influence, when in fact they are not at all. Some of the most common reasons include being sick, lack of sleep or fatigue, a distraction or simply not paying attention, etc. It is for these and other factors, why it is so important that a local California DUI lawyer reviews a person’s arrest details online through us, so they can analyze the information objectively for evidence and find the best defense options for what to do next.
Most DUI charges are very technical and scientific, due to the test procedures and laws in place regarding them for how they are conducted and processed after an arrest. The arresting officer is required to follow a number of strict protocol rules in order to legally comply with the test regulations, and under a persons constitutional rights. Additionally, the police are required to make sure that the breath or blood test devices used to get and analyze evidence against a person is working properly. The crucial purpose of having a DUI arrest examined, is so that a skilled attorney from where a person will be going to court at can review if the police followed all the procedures properly, and find out of any other mistakes were made that can be used as an advantage to possible win the case altogether. This is because if the arresting officer violated a person’s rights or did not properly follow DUI protocol, the collected breath or blood test results evidence could be excluded from being allowed in court.
What The Full Penalties Are For A DUI California First Offense Conviction
The expected consequences and costs for being charged and convicted with a DUI in CA can be severe, even for a 1st time offense. Below are some of the most common far-reaching penalties that happen a convicted person can expect to face.
- DUI is a criminal offense conviction in CA which will result in a permanent criminal record, unless it can be expunged several years later, which will cost more in attorney fees and court costs.
- A guilty plea or conviction of any DUI California offense charge will be able to be found in any future background checks, which can negatively affect a person’s job and personal life in both the present and the future for many years to come. A driver’s criminal record will also show up on a computer of the police departments throughout California and other states, which could cause extra problems when pulled over again in the future.
- Even for a first-time offense conviction for DUI, it typically will carry a driver’s license suspension from several months to a year on average. Additionally, even while a person is still going to court and the case is still in progress, if proper help is not obtained early enough after an arrest with a skilled CA lawyer, a person can still lose their license at the first court appearance for the DMV Administrative License Revocation Hearing.
- Another costly penalty for California DUI charges is the ignition interlock device requirements which is now usually ordered to get installed in a person’s car. Actually, the DUI interlock is becoming so common now for all DUI offenders in every state, one of the first questions many drivers ask after an arrest is “will I have to get an ignition interlock in my car for a first offense in California?” The answer is, that unless the charges can be won in court, a person will most likely be required to install the interlock device in their vehicle. How long of time it will be required for can vary, depending on the severity of the offense and other details about the arrest. It is important to first understand exactly what the device is, and how it works. The ignition interlock is a type of car Breathalyzer, and it periodically will test a driver’s breath to see if any alcohol is detected. If the device detects any alcohol on a driver’s breath, it will automatically turn off the vehicle and report the readings to notify the court. If that happens or if it is tampered with, a driver can face a much longer license suspension, fines, and even extra jail time. The ignition Interlock device, or “car Breathalyzer” as it is also sometimes referred to, is part of the strict first offense penalties to allow a driver in California to drive under limited conditions after a DUI offense.
Beyond just the mandatory consequences and penalties under 2017 DUI California first offense laws, any type of conviction for driving under the influence is considered a criminal offense. This consequence will likely lead to serious limitations of future job and career opportunities, difficulty being allowed to travel to other countries, as well as being force to deal with the negative stigma and consequences from it being found in any standard background check.
4 Best Ways How We Can Help After A First Offense DUI With What Happens Next
It is essential to know what happens when you get arrested for DUI in the state of California. This is especially since there is much that can be done can to help prevent a drivers license suspension when a person has failed a breath or blood test, and been charged with a DUI offense in CA. Getting the proper professional legal help in enough time by having an experienced local DUI lawyer review the arrest circumstances online through us, can make all the difference between the full costs and penalties of a first offense conviction, and avoiding the consequences entirely.
To assist in possible options for what to expect to happen and actions to take next, below are some common strategies for DUI defense in California. There are several possible ways how to fight DUI CA 1st offense charges successfully. 4 of the best such ways are to:
1. Question the Accuracy of the Breathalyzer or Blood Test Results
Both DUI Breathalyzer and blood test results are not always accurate in their reading, with many technical reasons for why they can go wrong. These devices have the potential to have errors in which blood alcohol content (BAC) levels may not be entirely accurate. When any of the DUI blood or breath test devices are not calibrated or maintained according to California DUI laws and procedure, or is not up to date with the proper software, after a skilled criminal defense lawyer reviews this information in enough time, they can then be able to build a strong defense against the charges in court. This is because when a person first has their DUI arrest information examined online through us, the next step a CA DUI attorney can take is to request the necessary paperwork for maintenance logs on the DUI test devices, and then have them analyzed by technical experts in this field. What happens afterwards, is once a trained tech expert assigned by the attorney reviews the DUI testing data and/or equipment, if there are any problems with calibration or proper maintenance issues found, it could very well help in getting the test results evidence to be suppressed from being used in court against a person charged with driving under the influence.
2. Analyze the Different Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Level Readings
What many people don’t realize about DUI tests that measure a driver’s blood alcohol content or BAC, is just how easily the readings can be different from one time to the next shortly after the last drink. This is because by having only one or two drinks within an hour before driving, could mean that a person was still within the legal alcohol limit of .08 BAC, but may read a higher level of BAC at the specific time a driver had to take a Breathalyzer, blood or urine test. These different BAC level readings often can happen to a driver unknowingly, because alcohol will gradually enter a person’s bloodstream gradually as time elapses during the first couple hours after the last drink was consumed. The results of the highest level taken of the blood or breath test readings will typically be used by the prosecution as the strongest evidence during court to help prove a California DUI offense case. It is because of these essential reasons, why it is so crucial to have an arrest carefully analyzed online though us by a local CA DUI lawyer from where you will be going to court. Some people make the critical mistake of waiting too long to get help after a 1st DUI arrest because of uncertainty, or by just doing general online searches for “criminal lawyers near me” for random legal help or counsel. Just hiring any attorney for DUI charges can also prove to be a costly mistake, that is often not realized until it is too late after the fact to avoid the penalties and high costs if convicted. Whether it is for a first offense DUI charge or not, having a DUI arrest examined online through us will ensure that only a qualified local California criminal DUI defense lawyer reviews the arrest information and can then help by discussing with a person what the best defense options are for what to do next based upon the precise events that happened. After going over the details of what took place, an attorney who is properly experienced and trained for fighting driving under the influence charges can in many cases show that a driver’s BAC reading was actually still within the legal limit at the time they were driving the car, before getting pulled over and the time the DUI test was conducted. This is an area within DUI law again in CA, where a trained technical expert used by a skilled and local criminal DUI lawyer could help challenge and fight the blood or Breathalyzer test alcohol results successfully, and provide a person with the best defense possible to help maximize the chances of winning the case in court.
3. Challenge the Police Officer Observations of Alcohol or Drug Intoxication
When it comes to every type of DUI arrest case, whether it is for alcohol or drugs, the observations that the arresting police officers put in their report is very important for finding some of the best potential ways to help win a first offense charge case in California. This is because the details of what an officer may think or assume is signs of physical intoxication demonstrated by a person under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, Pot, or prescription medication – may instead be due to several other possible reasons for that false perception of a suspected DUI driver. Some of the most common reasons and examples for how many police report observations can get successfully challenged is: unsteady or bad balance could be because of an uneven road surface, not having good shoes on or possibly not wearing any at all, high heels, or having a documented injury or medical condition. Two more of probably most frequently used remarks an arresting officer will write down on the police report details, is claiming a driver had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. The slurred speech observation can often simply just be due to a normal pattern of speech for that individual, and being nervous from being in this unexpected an frightening situation. The second common remark in DUI police reports about a person’s red, watery, or bloodshot eyes may also simply be due to an allergic reaction, being tired, or being exposed to cigarette smoke if the person is generally a nonsmoker. Unless an officer knows the driver they pulled over already, they do not have a baseline to go by and can accurately determine with certainty if a person is acting normal or not. Therefore it is not all that unusual for a police officer to exaggerate or even be mistaken completely in what they note in their report of how a driver was observed. Once a person takes the necessary first step for a CA DUI offense by having the arrest details reviewed, a trained lawyer can often challenge the police report details and refute the so-called observations, which many times is shown to be bias in automatically assuming a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or another substance.
4. Provide Valid Reasons for a DUI Test Refusal
Especially in cases for 1st time offender DUI charges in California, when a driver is caught by so much surprise after first getting pulled over suddenly and then is suspected of driving under the influence, many people are not fully aware of their rights, what to do, or even what will happen if they refuse or are unable to take the DUI tests. For example, some drivers who are charged with a DUI refusal offense, may have Asthma or other legitimate breathing issues for why they could not take a Breathalyzer test as ordered by the officer. Others may be too nervous to properly take the breath or field sobriety test, and then was charged with refusal anyways. In other circumstances that have occurred, some arresting officers may have been yelling during the events taking place, and therefore was not clear in giving adequate instructions on how to properly follow the test procedure. Even in other cases, some of the smaller portable breath test devices used first at the roadside during an arrest, are simply not sufficiently maintained or working correctly to obtain a proper BAC reading. Since each person’s DUI arrest circumstance is unique, after the details can be reviewed for a full understanding of what happened and other specifics of the case, we can help you with what the best appropriate DUI defense options will be to use. Any person who has been arrested and charged with a DUI offense for the first-time or refused to take the tests, our California criminal DUI defense attorneys are here to examine the arrest details free and online to help, so a person can expect to know what will happen next. Even when a person has made a mistake that resulted in the present ordeal, or is accused of driving under the influence that is truly unfair and false, protecting a driver’s rights and fighting to win the case entirely is always the primary focus.
What are the Consequences of a Conviction for First-time DUI offense in California?
The consequences for first-time drunk driving or a DUI in California also continue to increase. The public risks of drunk driving have caused police, prosecutors, and politicians to treat driving under the influence very seriously, and the CA DUI penalties for a conviction have been increasing. For these reasons, it is very important that everyone who is charged with a first DUI offense in California consult with a DUI attorney as soon as possible. Facing a first DUI charge in CA is an allegation, and you are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. Only a experienced California defense DUI lawyer can properly advise you about your chances of successfully fighting a 1st time California DUI charge case.
Besides the high cost of a CA DUI, for many people, the most significant penalty for driving under the influence in California is the loss of their driver’s license. Anyone found guilty of a 1st time CA DUI could be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle anywhere in California for a period of at least one year. Obviously, this can have significant employment consequences. Even for a first-time DUI conviction in California, it is also likely to result in large increases in auto insurance premiums for several years. In addition, if there was a traffic accident related to the CA drunk driving charge, a conviction could result in your insurer denying you coverage for any property damage or injuries that resulted from the accident.
Since A first DUI charge is a criminal offense in California, a conviction will result in a criminal record. The conviction will remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life, unless you apply and qualify for an impingement. It will typically take at least five years before you are eligible to apply to have your criminal record expunged in CA.
If a person has already been convicted of a first DUI offense in California, the penalties can be even more severe. For example, if a person is convicted of a CA DUI offense charge and you have already been convicted of an impaired driving offense once before, the person could be sentenced to jail time. Although the prosecutor does not always seek jail for a second or third conviction in California, the rule of thumb in CA is that the court will impose the mandatory jail penalties if a person is convicted of two offenses within five years. A second California DUI conviction will also usually result in a longer driving suspension period, as well as even more severe fines, costs and penalties.
If I failed the breath test in California, am I guilty?
A person who has taken and failed a breath or breathalyzer test in California, might think they are automatically guilty, however this is not always the case. Breathalyzer test machines are not perfect, and neither are the police officers operating them when strict rules in how they are maintained and administered are not followed as required in California.
If any mistake or error has been made during the course of the DUI arrest, the test results could be suppressed from being used against you as evidence. This is another reason it is so important to make sure your arrest details can be thoroughly examined, since this is a relatively common occurrence that when discovered early enough and with the help of a good legal counsel, can be the best defense for a first offense DUI case in California.
What if I had drinks before driving?
Many people can immediately think that if they had anything to drink before driving, that they will be found guilty for a first offense DUI arrest in California. One of the first things to remember, is that it’s not against the law to responsibly drink and drive in California as long as the driver is not legally intoxicated at or above the .08 blood alcohol (BAC) limit. However this is where the DUI laws in California can get complicated and you need a skilled CA DUI attorney to challenge all of the evidence and fight a California DUI on your behalf. There are several potential ways an experienced DUI lawyer can win against first-time DUI cases in California, after learning the details of your arrest and informing you of all possible ways what to do for a 1st offense DUI California case. Never automatically assume that you will be convicted for a first-time drunk driving or a DUI charge in California, just because you were arrested for drinking and driving in CA.
What to do a First California DUI/DWI case based on police mistakes made during a 1st CA DUI arrest
Proving a CA DUI case can be a significant hurdle for the prosecution in proving a first California DUI offense charge in court. This is because if there is are mistakes that can be shown by the arresting officers at any point during your DUI arrest in California, you have significantly increased chances winning a first-time CA DUI case.
If the arresting police officers make an important error in their police report or other important documentation during the course of your 1st DUI arrest in California, or while collecting breath, blood, urine, and field sobriety test evidence, after reviewing your arrest details – a skilled DUI attorney in your area can often find and discuss options and defense strategies with you that could help defend a first-time California drunk driving, DUI, DWI arrest case. California driving under the influence (DUI) laws are always changing, therefore, even the most experienced or competent police officer can easily make a mistake during the processing of an California DUI case, collecting test results, and other evidence. By quickly taking action and making use of the free examination of your DUI arrest details which we provide free online with no other obligation, it can prove very helpful in finding these potential errors and then use it your advantage in showing what to do for a first DUI offense charge in California.
Your Defense for a California First DUI Offense Charge
If you are currently facing drunk driving charges in California for DUI, DWI, or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving over the legal limit, refusal to take a breath test, or causing bodily harm while intoxicated, it is important that you speak with an experienced DUI attorney from your area as soon as possible. Understanding your unique case details and charges, is essential to knowing all of your options. California DUI attorneys have a wide range of expertise when it comes to fighting first-time CA DUI offenses and drunk driving cases. Having your arrest details carefully examined online through us free online, can help provide you with information on building strong defense in knowing what happens when you get arrested for a first DUI in:
South Lake Tahoe
[column col=”1/4″]Los Angeles
La Habra Heights
Palos Verdes Estates
Rancho Palos Verdes
Rolling Hills Estates
Santa Fe Springs
South El Monte
Del Rey Oaks
San Juan Capistrano
Desert Hot Springs
San Juan Bautista
Big Bear Lake
[column col=”1/4″]San Joaquin
San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo
East Palo Alto
Half Moon Bay
South San Francisco
Los Altos Hills