DUI Law in Sacramento, CA
What Is a DUI?
DUI, which refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a criminal offense that can lead to weighty consequences. Also known as DWI, the process of going to court to face either conviction or exoneration can change the course of your life forever.
Learn more about your DUI law defense options below, and then talk to a local attorney in Sacramento, California who will help you in this delicate situation. You don’t have to stare down consequences alone. You can take wise steps today to protect your interests.
Possible Consequences of a Sacramento, California DUI Conviction
Where you live, the severity of the incident, and your criminal record determine the sentencing for a DUI. The punishments can drastically increase if you have had previous DUIs, so be mindful of that. If this is your first DUI, do not go at it alone and risk costly mistakes. Get a Sacramento law firm on your side to fight for you and your rights.
If convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Sacramento, California, you can count on fines being a part of your sentencing. According to California Vehicle Code, DUI fines can range from a minimum of $390 for a first offense, to $5,000 for a 4th DUI, within a ten-year period.
However, other factors can drastically increase the amount you must pay, including:
- Any damage to property while driving under the influence
- If someone suffered injuries as a result of your intoxicated driving
- Cases that include child endangerment
- Any court costs associated with your case
Jail time is mandatory, even for first-time offenders in Sacramento. If this is your first DUI offense, you may only have to face a day or two in prison. But if you have previous convictions for DUIs, you can be sentenced to several months or years, depending on the nature of the crime. Know that some circumstances can add even more time in a cell, including injury to other people while driving under the influence.
If you do not face jail time, you will likely be on probation, with the sentencing judge determining the duration. You will pay monthly fees, and you cannot commit any more criminal offenses, including traffic violations. If you violate the terms of your probation, count on facing time behind bars.
For your first DUI in Sacramento, California you could receive as much as 3 years of probation. Terms can include installation of an Ignition Interlock Device, and mandatory community service. As well, you cannot drive with any amount of alcohol in your system. You can be arrested for another DUI with a blood alcohol content of only .04% or greater and will receive a one-year suspension. In fact, any violation in Sacramento could result in serving jail time that was waived earlier. Although some California counties use formal probation for DUI misdemeanors, Sacramento County does not. Instead, you will typically be on summary or informal probation in Sacramento. You can petition the Sacramento Superior Court if you feel the conditions of your probation should be modified.
Drug and Alcohol Education Program
Following a Sacramento DUI sentencing, the law states you must complete a drug and alcohol education program. This will teach you about the dangers of driving under the influence. These programs cost more fees besides the legal costs you already have to pay.
On your first DUI offense in Sacramento, California you will be ordered to complete DUI School. The California Department of Health Care Services licenses and performs compliance monitoring on all DUI programs. Fees can vary, depending on factors such as course length. DUI School is typically 30 hours of in-person classes over 3 months. However, second offenders must complete an 18-month program, and third offenders must complete a 30-month program. You can find a state-certified program in Sacramento on the California Department of Health Care Services website. Of note, DUI classes offered via the internet do not meet California’s DUI Program requirements.
The education programs also include a DUI evaluation. An evaluator asks you questions about how alcohol and drugs affect your life. If they believe that you are dependent, you may have to enter a substance abuse treatment program.
Suspension or Loss of License
No matter where you may face a DUI conviction, you have to undergo a license suspension period, at the very least. If it is your first DUI, you may have a license suspension for a few months while you go through probation and the drug and alcohol education program.
If this is not your first DUI, you may have your license suspended for much longer, or you could have it taken from you permanently.
What Should You Do When Charged With a DUI in Sacramento, California?
If you’re facing a felony DUI charge, you must take the following steps to protect yourself:
Step 1: Contact an Attorney Familiar With Sacramento, CA DUI Law
Immediately following your DUI arrest, you need to contact an experienced Sacramento DUI attorney. Your attorney can help prepare for your arraignment and prepare a defense to vindicate yourself or reduce the sentencing.
Step 2: Learn About Your Local DUI Laws
Sacramento, California has unique laws for DUI or DWI charges. Your lawyer will work with you to help you better understand your state’s laws on driving while intoxicated. It is critical to understand what charges you face and the potential outcomes of your case.
Step 3: Request a DMV Hearing
You or your attorney should request a hearing as soon as possible following your arrest. In Sacramento, California you only have so much time to ask for a DMV hearing to keep your license until your court appearance. If you do not request a hearing, prepare for a license suspension.
In Sacramento, an arrest for a DUI will result in confiscation of your license. In addition, you will receive a notice of suspension or revocation, and a temporary license. However, you have 10 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The cost of the administrative hearing is $120. For Sacramento residents, your hearing will typically be held at the Sacramento Driver Safety Office. If you pay the $125 reissue fee, your license will be reinstated at the end of the suspension or revocation. You must also file proof of SR-22 insurance.
Step 4: Prepare for Court Appearance
You and your attorney will prepare for your appearance and arraignment in Sacramento. If you plead “not guilty,” your DUI defense attorney represents you in court, and a judge and jury oversee the DUI law case.
Step 5: Receive Sentencing or Exoneration
You will either be “not guilty” of the charges brought against you and walk free, or you will receive sentencing for a guilty verdict.
Work with an Experienced Local DUI Lawyer in Sacramento, California
Should you ever find yourself charged with a DUI, you need to work with an experienced Sacramento, CA lawyer who can stand up for you in court. You cannot clear your name of the charges or reduce the consequences without help. Your life and future depend on having great legal representation during your DUI case. Contact an attorney near you today. We can even help you connect with legal help across California state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!