A person who has been arrested for a first-time DUI in California must face two government agencies: the DMV and the criminal court. When arrested, the driver can be charged according to Vehicle Code 23152(a) and Vehicle Code 23152(b). The first code makes it illegal for any driver to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and the second makes it a crime to drive with a BAC level of 0.08% or higher. While these are separate offenses, the defendant can be charged and convicted of both.
A first-time DUI is usually considered a misdemeanor. The main possible outcomes of a first-offense DUI case include the following:
The offense can be elevated to a felony if the driver caused someone to be seriously injured or killed. In addition, there are other aggravated circumstances that can increase DUI penalties such as driving with a minor under the age of 14, having a BAC level of 0.15% or higher, and traveling 20 mph over the mandated speed limit.
While most DUI offenses require court appearances, there are select instances that can lead to a dismissed DUI charge:
In situations where the circumstances of the case make it difficult to prove a DUI charge is necessary in a trial, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce the DUI charge to a lower offense. However, this is only plausible if the prosecutor determines that the defendant’s BAC was close to the legal limit. Prosecutors are also more willing to offer a reduced charge if the defendant has no prior DUIs – aka a first-time DUI.
A plea deal may be possible for first-time offenders. However, that is less likely to happen if a vehicle accident occurred, the BAC level is above 0.10, or if any of the aforementioned aggravated circumstances are at play in the defendant’s case.
If you end up being charged with a DUI, it is important to understand that a DUI remains on your record for 10 years. This starts from the date of your arrest rather than the date of your conviction. If you later decide to get an expungement, this option becomes available after a certain period of time. In order to qualify for expungement, you must complete all necessary requirements mandated by the court.
It can be very intimidating and stressful to face a DUI charge. Finding a good lawyer to handle your case can make it much easier to navigate. The defense lawyers at the Law Office of Taylor & Taylor provides their clients with great representation. Here, first-time offenders will always be in great hands.