California Criminal Defense Attorney DUI / DWI Plea Bargains

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California Criminal Defense Attorney DUI / DWI Plea Bargains

One may plead guilty to a charge of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. Generally a California DUI / DWI attorney will help the client assess the strength the of the prosecutor’s case before making any such decision. The prosecutor will also assess the case. Based on their assessment, they will offer the driver a plea bargain.

A DUI / DWI lawyer will try to get the charge reduced. If one is charged with felony drunk driving one might seek a reduced charge of misdemeanor driving under the influence. When one is charged with a misdemeanor DUI, often an attempt to seek lesser charges such wet-reckless or dry-reckless will take place.

Generally, the first three drunk driving offenses are charged as misdemeanors while a fourth DUI / DWI within ten years will be charged as a felony. If a person is injured or killed, a first, second, or third driving under the influence offense will be charged as a felony.

The minimum sentence for a first time DUI / DWI in California is 36 months of informal probation, 12 weeks of alcohol education classes, close to $1,500 in court fines and penalties, a 90 day driver’s license restriction as well as six month suspension imposed by the DMV if the driver is not successful at the DMV hearing.

A second drunk driving offense within 10 years will result a minimum of 10 days in county jail and 18 months of alcohol education classes. Furthermore, the DMV will institute a two years suspension of the driver’s license. After one year the driver will be eligible to apply for a restricted license.

Third time drunk driving offenders will face 120 days in county jail and extensive alcohol education classes. The Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend driving privileges for three years. A restricted license may be available after two years of suspension.

A fourth DUI / DWI offense in California will be charged as a felony. Punishment will include 180 days in county jail, 18 months of alcohol education classes, fines and probation. The driver’s license will be suspended for four years with eligibility for a restricted license coming after three years.

The second type of felony DUI happens when the driver has been in an accident. Restitution is required in cases of injury. The injured party must be repaid for the damages they suffered. As well as requiring restitution, the driver will be sentenced to jail, fined, and have their driver’s license suspended. Extensive alcohol education classes will be ordered by the court.

There are factors that will result in an increase of the minimum punishments. Those factors include a refusal to take a chemical test, a BAC of .20 percent or higher, speeding at 20 miles per hour above the speed limit on side streets and 30 miles per hour when driving on freeways. Reckless driving while under the influence, causing a traffic accident, or having a minor in the car will also worsen the punishment. Prior DUIs and being under 21 will also have exacerbate the sentence.

When a jury trial is not a good option, a DUI / DWI lawyer will try to achieve a fair compromise from the prosecutor. While some punishments in plea may seem harsh, they can be better than the alternative at trial.