Many people think that a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol is no big thing. You pay your fine and go on with your life.
If you are ever arrested on suspicion of DUI in the state of California, you will find the experience to be significantly different. To begin with, a conviction will make DUI part of your life for the next 10 years.
Let us assume the worst: A law enforcement officer arrests you on suspicion of driving under the influence. He or she will immediately send your driver’s license with a notice of suspension or revocation to the DMV. You now have 10 days in which to request a hearing, during which the DMV will either reinstate your driving privileges or find that your DUI charge was justified. If the latter applies, you will face both criminal and administrative penalties.
Penalties for first-time offenders
Even as a first offender, you may face jail time: You could serve from three days to six months in county jail. You will also pay a fine ranging from $390 to $1,000, and be on probation for three to five years. The Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for four months, minimum. To get it back, you will have to complete mandatory alcohol assessment or treatment, have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle you drive and obtain SR-22 auto insurance, providing proof of same to the DMV.
A DUI mark remains on your record for 10 years. It will affect your life in many ways. For example, when you apply for a new job, the prospective employer will run a routine background check on you. The DUI may cause the recruiter to hire another candidate with a clean record. Your criminal record may also prevent you from renting the home you want, attending the college of your choice or acquiring the certification you need to meet your professional goals. In short, think about your future. If law enforcement arrests you for drunk driving, explore your legal options promptly. A DUI charge is more serious than you think.