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Palm Desert DUI Law Blog

Drunk driving convictions can lead to serious penalties

There are many legal consequences a California driver may face if he or she is convicted of driving under the influence. These legal consequences can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life. A DUI conviction can ruin personal and professional reputations and make finding and keeping a job more difficult.

There is a long list of specific consequences that those convicted of a DUI could expect to face. Some consequences include vehicle impoundment, alcohol or drug treatment programs, hefty fines and even jail time in some situations. Ignition interlock devices can be installed in vehicles to analyze the driver’s breath to determine his or her blood alcohol content. The vehicle will only start if the driver’s BAC level is below a certain number.

One of the most devastating consequences for many drivers is losing the right to drive. Most states will punish convicted drivers with a restriction or revocation of their driver’s license. First-time offenders could have their license revoked, but drivers with multiple DUI convictions could face even longer periods of time without their license. In some cases, a driver may lose their license permanently.

In fact, most DUI penalties are harsher for habitual offenders than for first-time offenders. This could mean higher fines, longer periods of license suspension and even the total loss of your vehicle. DUIs are typically misdemeanors, but some states automatically charge drivers with a felony DUI charge if they have prior DUI convictions.

The consequences of a DUI conviction can be serious, so it is important to do whatever you can to avoid such a conviction. Fortunately, with the proper defense, many DUI charges are lessened or dropped altogether. Those accused of drunk driving should understand the options available and ways they could reduce or dismiss the charges against him or her.

More Californians may face license suspension after DUI decision

One of the many potential consequences of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is the loss of your driver’s license. In the state of California, a driver who has had his or her license suspended as a result of a DUI arrest can request an administrative hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles to fight the suspension.With a recent case out of Orange County, the California Supreme Court just made it more difficult for drivers facing DUIs to hold on to their licenses. The Court ruled that the DMV may consider circumstantial evidence to show that a driver’s blood alcohol level was above the .08 legal limit. That means driver behavior and field sobriety test results can be used to build a case against a driver.The court warned that while DMV hearing officers are allowed to use this type of evidence, they should be reasonable and not use it to discredit expert testimony. However, many defense attorneys are concerned that hearing officers will use it to punish drivers statewide.Among those most affected are drivers with inconclusive blood-alcohol levels, and those with blood-alcohol levels close to the legal limit. This ruling will make it more difficult for them to prove that they were not impaired while driving. However, the ruling can also help drivers who were over the legal limit. These drivers can use other evidence to show that while they may have tested over the legal limit, they were still able to drive straight. In any case, this ruling will have a profound impact on DUI license suspensions in the future.

DUI arrest could result in license suspension

Being arrested for a DUI in California can be a terrifying experience, especially when you don’t know what to expect. The steps taken after an arrest are critical to your case, especially if your license was suspended or revoked. First-time offenders who are 21 or older and who took a urine, breath, or blood test to determine their blood alcohol content level will likely have their license suspended for four months if their results showed a .08% BAC or higher. Those who have multiple DUI offenses within 10 years will have their license suspended for one year.

Once you are arrested, police officers are required to forward a sworn report, test results, copies of any licenses taken and a copy of the completed notice of revocation or suspension form to the DMV. There may be an administrative review determining whether the suspension or revocation should be upheld or set aside. If it is upheld, you may contest the decision, but to do so you must seek aa hearing within 10 days from receipt of the suspension or revocation order.

If your license was confiscated at the time of your arrest, you will get your license back at the end of your suspension or revocation, assuming that you pay a fee of $125 the DMV and provide proof of financial responsibility. It is important to note that the DMV suspension or revocation of your license is different from the suspension or revocation that may come after a conviction in criminal court. The DMV may impose sanctions that have nothing to do with criminal penalties that come after being convicted of a DUI in criminal court.

The criminal court may also take action to suspend or revoke your license, fine you or put you in jail as a result of your conviction. This is why it is necessary to know about the consequences you may face and defend against them in the best way possible.

License suspension for refusing DUI chemical tests

There are a number of reasons why a driver’s license may be suspended, including repeat traffic violations and DUI offenses. When it comes to a DUI, a license suspension can come from both the DMV and as the result of a criminal conviction. The length of suspension may vary based on a number of factors. For California residents who refuse to submit to chemical tests, the suspension can be longer than a typical license suspension.

Age does matter when it comes to DUI charges. However, for license suspensions resulting from refusing a chemical test, the length of suspension is the same regardless of age. Suspensions lengths for refusing a chemical test are:

  • 1-year suspension for a first offense
  • 2-year revocation for a second offense if it occurs within 10 years of the first offense
  • 3-year revocation for any subsequent offenses within a 10 year period

Chemical tests are required in California, but there are a number of reasons why a person may not be able to take them. For instance, certain medical conditions and medications can alter test results. Some of the medical conditions that can contaminate a chemical test include hemophilia, heart conditions and GERD.

Those arrested for DUI will face an automatic license suspension through the DMV. The circumstances surrounding the incident, such as a chemical test refusal, will determine how long a suspension will last . If a criminal conviction is secured, the license suspension can be extended beyond the DMV standards. California residents who have been arrested for DUI can appeal to have their license reinstated through the DMV, as well as fight any criminal charges in court. A number of defense strategies may be utilized to assist in this challenge and help those accused get through their legal proceedings and back to their daily lives.

DUI for Phelps, swimmer out of action for six months

There is a certain list of penalties that many people expect when someone is accused of, or convicted of, driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or some other substance. They probably suspect that the individual will lose his or her driver’s license. Their car is likely impounded, or at least out of their possession, for some time. They will have to pay fines, court costs and other financial penalties as a result of their intoxicated driving.

However, there are other consequences related to the intoxicated driving charge that can be just as damaging — or even more damaging — to the accused or convicted individual. The person could lose his or her job as a result of their criminal history, and they could also find it very difficult to find a suitable place to live. Their friends and family members may not think of them in the same way, or they may treat him or her differently than before.

We bring all of this up in light of the Michael Phelps DUI story that many people all across the country know about. Phelps was recently suspended six months by USA swimming for his second DUI, meaning that the man with the most gold medals (and indeed the most medals total) in Olympic history will have a tough time getting back into shape for his potential comeback in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Even all-time great athletes who are Olympians can’t escape the extended punishment of a drunk driving charge. It’s important to realize just how menacing a DUI cahrge can be, and those who are accused of such a crime need to get legal representation to defend their case — and protect their future.

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