In California, the penalties for driving under the influence are tough. Even if it's your first conviction and no one gets hurt, you may face thousands in fines, possible jail time, and a restriction on your license. If you've been charged with drunk driving, there are a few things you can do. Let these tips help you.
1. HAVE AN ATTORNEY COME TO YOUR ARRAIGNMENT
After you are arrested, you have an arraignment hearing. At that hearing, the judge sets bail, and you have to pay that before you can leave the jail. For DUI cases in California, the bail amount is typically between $5,000 and $10,000.
It can be less than that in some cases, but it can also be a lot higher, especially if someone was injured or if you've had multiple convictions. When you have an attorney come to your arraignment, they can help argue that you need to be released on a lower bail. That can make it easier for you to get home so you can start to focus on your upcoming DUI trial.
2. SIGN UP FOR ALCOHOL EDUCATION CLASSES
Whether it's your first offense or you've had several DUI convictions, you may want to sign up for alcohol education classes, go to meeting with a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous, or even start therapy for alcohol abuse. Taking these steps helps to show the judge that you are remorseful for your actions, and that may help you get a reduced sentence.
You may as well take this step proactively. Under California law, you are required to attend a three-month course if you are convicted of a DUI, and if your blood alcohol level was over .20 percent, you have to take a nine-month course. If you don't complete those courses, you can't get your license back.
3. HIRE AN ATTORNEY
Even if you didn't have a criminal defense attorney come to your arraignment, you should still hire an attorney for the rest of your case. If you want your trial to go smoothly, you need an experienced lawyer in your corner.
This is especially critical if you have had multiple DUI's in a 10 year period. For four convictions, the punishments can be up to $18,000 in fees plus up to 3 years in state prison.
4. WORK WITH YOUR ATTORNEY TO SET UP A DEFENSE
When you hire a DUI attorney, they have your best interests at heart, and they can help you come up with a defense for your case. For instance, in some cases, you may want to prove that your blood alcohol level was influenced by other factors such as medications, illnesses, stress, or a broken breathalyzer.
5. TAKE STEPS TO AVOID DRINKING AND DRIVING IN THE FUTURE
Because the punishments are so much tougher for a repeat offense, you may want to take some steps to avoid drinking and driving in the future. This is also important to do because driving while under the influence can be extremely dangerous for you or other people on the road.
If you have trouble with drinking too much and not making wise decisions, you may just want to quit drinking altogether. If you usually drive while under the influence because it's convenient, you may want to figure out other ways to get around.
For instance, you may want to earmark money for a cab into your going out budget. You may want to focus on going to restaurants, bars, or clubs that are close to public transit lines. If you plan a way home, it is easier to avoid getting behind the wheel while you are drunk.
If you've been accused of a DUI, contact Kassel and Kassel today. We are a small family-operated firm that is ready to help you.