DUI Punishment in Federal Court

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Generally, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated cases are prosecuted in State Superior Courts. Arrests that take place on federally-owned land such as national parks and military bases are prosecuted under the jurisdiction of the Federal Court. Federal Courts are different from State Courts in that they are controlled by different procedures. A California criminal defense attorney who is experienced in defending federal drunk driving cases understands the difference between state and federal prosecutions, the potential penalties that each may carry, and the many methods that are available to mitigate the consequences of a conviction for either.

Arrests in national parks are under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and as such, they are governed by the Code of Federal Regulations. Under the Code of Federal Regulations, driving under the influence of alcohol in a national park is a Class B misdemeanor. A driver convicted of a Class B misdemeanor can face up to six months in a federal prison and a fine of up to $5,000. He or she may also face up to five years of federal probation.

People driving under the influence of alcohol on federal land that does not fall under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service face the same punishment as those prosecuted in State Superior Court. The Assimilative Crimes Act, provides that DUI / DWI arrests on any land other than National Parks and military bases that are owned by the federal government fall under the law of the state where the driver was arrested.

The penalties for a conviction in a federal DUI / DWI case can be harsh and inconvenient, so it is crucial to hire excellent legal representation. An attorney experienced in defending federal drunk driving cases can implement a plan to achieve the best possible results in an individual case.

The federal government has Implied Consent laws similar to California’s Implied Consent Law. When a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test in a federal DUI investigation, there will be additional consequences. Refusal to submit is a misdemeanor under the Code of Federal Regulations and could lead to six months in a federal prison. A convicted driver will not be allowed to drive on federally-owned land for one year. Although there is no automatic license suspension under the federal laws, the California DMV will be notified of the refusal to submit and it will suspend the driver’s California license for one year.

It is important for a person facing federal drunk driving charges to understand that not every attorney is fully capable of representing a person in Federal Court. Federal courts differ from state courts in terms of timelines and procedures. It is important to use a federal criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable about the federal rules when fighting federal DUI / DWI charges.

Brianna Wilkins
Brianna Wilkins