The penalties for a DUI in California are getting more and more severe each year. By simply going to court and pleading guilty to a DUI, you face the following punishments:
• County Jail and fine - On a Second Offense DUI, the Orange County District Attorney's Office usually asks for 60-90 days of County Jail, while the minimum is 10 days and for a Third Offense the Orange County District Attorney's Office asks for 270 days of jail while the minimum is only 120 days. Fines are typically $390 plus penalties and assessments approximately $2,000.
• License suspension
• Disallowance of restricted license
• Surrender of license
• Ignition interlock device – a breathalyzer put in the steering column of your car, for which you must pay. Its purpose is to read your blood alcohol content, thereby preventing your car from starting unless your reading is below a certain level
• Vehicle impound
• Participation in county alcohol and drug problem assessment program
• Penalty assessments, fees and state surcharge
Whatever punishment you receive, the costs, both emotionally and financially, are great. Some people face actual job termination when their employer learns about their DUI conviction. A DUI conviction for those looking for work can destroy all chances of being hired, since most career applications require information about any previous convictions. Those who are convicted of an underage DUI must list it on their college applications and it could cost them acceptance. It should also be noted that an individual convicted of an underage DUI and caught failing to put it on their application is subject to immediate dismissal. For others, it’s the embarrassment of family, friends and others in the community knowing of their arrest and conviction. The stigma could even affect their children, both psychologically and socially. Though the effects differ from person to person, the financial burden or the actual costs of a guilty plea without legal representation hit most people with equal force as fines, fees and court costs mount.
The state is counting on you to plead guilty without a fight because if even half of those arrested and charged with a DUI obtained an attorney and fought their charges, the entire court system in California would utterly collapse.
Scott D. Hughes is a Newport Beach, Irvine and Costa Mesa DUI Attorney. Contact us for your free consultation.