A common misunderstanding is that judges are lenient towards first-time offenders, so having an attorney isn’t necessary. It’s never a good idea to attempt to handle a criminal charge without an attorney present, especially a DUI case where the penalties can be high. Those who are arrested and charged with driving under the influence should work with a drunk driving attorney in Santa Clarita, CA to help minimize the impact this case will have on their future.
Penalties for a First Offense Are Severe
Most judges are not going to be lenient with those who are accused of driving while drunk because of the devastating accidents that could happen. Instead, they’re more likely to give the maximum sentence to someone who doesn’t have legal representation. Because drunk driving is considered a serious charge in California, those who are arrested and charged with a DUI need to make sure they have legal representation as soon as they’re arrested.
Penalties for a First Conviction
For a first conviction, drivers are subject to jail time, fines, a license suspension, and probation. Fines go from $390 to $1,000, plus other penalty assessments, court costs, and other fees. The total could be thousands of dollars. Jail time is typically between 48 hours and six months, though the sentence can be longer. Probation can be up to five years. The driver’s license suspension is usually for six months, though there are situations when the driver can get a hardship license. They may also be required to go through a three or nine-month DUI class or have an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle.
Penalties for Further Convictions
After the first conviction on their record, the driver faces even more severe penalties if they’re convicted of driving under the influence again. Potential penalties can include increased fees, extended jail time, a longer driver’s license suspension, and a longer probation period.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI, contact a drunk driving attorney in Santa Clarita, CA as soon as possible to get help with your case. They can minimize the potential impact this could have on your future by seeing if charges can be dismissed or lowered, or if the penalties can be reduced. Visit us online now to learn more about how we can help you.