Being arrested for DUI can be very stressful and scary. You may have been pulled-over and arrested in Capitola, where the cops like to wait for people to leave bars late at night. Or, you may have been arrested near Water & Pacific Streets in downtown Santa Cruz where the cops often watch people leaving the bars.
It's important for you to know the potential consequences you are facing in Santa Cruz Superior Court. It is also crucial to get expert DUI legal advice.
The prosecutor may tell you that your only choice is to plead guilty. Some public defenders may encourage you to take a deal. Yet, before pleading guilty to any crime, make sure you understand your rights and options to challenge the DUI charges. Contact an exclusive Santa Cruz DUI defense attorney.
FIRST OFFENSE MISDEMEANOR DUI - POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES
A first offense misdemeanor DUI is typically charged as a violation of Vehicle Code sections 23152 (a) and 23152 (b). If you have never been convicted of a DUI or "wet reckless" before, or the arrest for the prior conviction occurred more than 10 years before the arrest for the new DUI, you are facing a first offense DUI charge. If the offense is not for driving under the influence of alcohol, but for driving under the influence of drugs, or the combined influence of alcohol or drugs, then the offense will be alleged as a violation of 23152 (f) or (g).
A first offense DUI carries a maximum punishment of a $1,000.00 fine and six months in jail. First offense misdemeanor DUIs without injury almost never come with an actual jail sentence. If there is any custody time imposed, it is typically served on house arrest or on a work release program. The fines are also often significantly higher than $1,000.00 once penalty assessments and court fees are added in.
DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS FOR FIRST OFFENSE DUI
If this is your only arrest for DUI, you face potentially having your driving privileges suspended in two separate ways. First, the DMV will automatically suspend your driving privilege for four months starting thirty days after a DUI arrest unless you request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of the date of the arrest. We can do this for you. This DMV hearing is wholly separate from any court proceedings. You can also have your license suspended if you are convicted of a DUI in court. Upon a conviction for a first DUI, the court notifies the DMV of the conviction, and the DMV will impose a six-month suspension.
RESTRICTED LICENSE OPTIONS FOR FIRST OFFENSE DUI
If you don't have any prior DUIs, you are eligible for a restricted license to drive to and from work or school during the suspension period. There are two options for remaining on the road. (1) You can sit out 30 days of the four-month suspension, enroll in a DUI class, obtain a SR22, and then apply for a restricted license to drive to and from work/school. (2) You can install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), not sit out 30 days of the four-month suspension, and immediately get back on the road.
WHO YOU HIRE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Santa Cruz attorney Phillip Crawford exclusively handles DUI cases. He is a winning DUI attorney who has defended hundreds of people charged with DUI. Who you hire makes all the difference in your case.
Call our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss your case with Mr. Crawford (831) 204-0773. Or, schedule a time to speak with him here: Speak with Phillip Crawford