DUI Lawyer San Francisco, CA
Driving while under the influence (DUI) can result in a tarnished reputation, expensive fines, requirement to complete alcohol education courses, suspended license, increase of car insurance premium, and perhaps jail time too. In some cases, a driver may or may not have actually committed the crime. The officer who performed the field test may not have calibrated the breathalyzer correctly, or misjudged the situation. Those who have been arrested for a DUI charge, may have plenty of questions for their attorney, including the following:
Q: Will I have a criminal record if I am convicted?
A: Being arrested for a DUI doesn’t automatically make you guilty. The state has accused you of having an unsafe amount of alcohol in your system while behind the wheel, and must bring forward sufficient evidence to prove you committed the crime. If convicted, you may have either a felony or misdemeanor charge on your record. The majority of DUI cases are classified as misdemeanors, with some risk of serving jail time. Felony DUI cases are very serious and may be classified as such if significant personal injury and property damage was caused.
Q: If it’s my first DUI offense, what is the likelihood I’ll go to jail?
A: Chances are, you are probably not going to jail if it’s your first DUI charge and you didn’t cause significant damage or harm to anyone else on the road. Depending on your state laws, the maximum jail time you may have to serve for a first DUI conviction is up to six months. You may have to spend time behind bars for longer if your conviction is considered a misdemeanor with injury, in which the term would be up to twelve months.
Other potential consequences for a first time DUI offense can entail:
- Paying for steep fines
- Having to serve a certain number of community service hours
- Automatic license suspension with ability to request reinstatement after a designated amount of time has passed
- Serving a probationary period
Q: What can my attorney do to help keep me out of jail?
A: Prosecutors and judges may inflict jail time on first time DUI offenders if an accident occurred, the BAC level was high, the driver had a suspended license, or was refusing to cooperate. However, an attorney can usually find flaws in the case and argue against their client serving jail time. It is important to hire an attorney who is familiar with criminal defense cases, as they can use strategies to help decrease the severity of punishments.
Q: What does it mean if I “refused” to cooperate?
A: If during your arrest you refused to provide a breathalyzer or blood test at the police station, then there are likely to be consequences for this resistance. The prosecution may request that the accused is held in jail for 48 hours, in addition to other unnecessary penalties. A DUI lawyer in San Francisco, CA from the Morales Law Firm can negotiate with the prosecution in hopes of eliminating the refusal accusation entirely, potentially saving the accused thousands of dollars in fines and several days behind bars.