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california dui defense lawyerIf you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in California, you face many serious penalties in the short term. Your sentence could include fines, jail time, probation, driver’s license suspension, court-ordered community service, DUI school, and attendance at AA meetings. However, you may also be concerned about the long-term effects of a conviction, including a criminal record that can impact future sentencing and employment and housing opportunities. It is important to understand how your criminal record can affect you, as well as whether you have any options to remove a DUI conviction from your record.

Expunging a DUI Conviction in California

A DUI conviction is likely to remain on your record in some form for the rest of your life. However, under some circumstances, it is possible to have a DUI conviction dismissed, preventing it from affecting certain aspects of your life.

The most important requirement for dismissing a DUI conviction is that you have completed any term of probation that was included in your sentence. In California, DUI sentences often include a probationary period of between three and five years, during which time you must refrain from committing any additional criminal offenses. Probation also typically includes conditions such as attending DUI school, completing community service, and driving with restricted privileges. Once the probation period ends, you can petition the court for dismissal, provided that you have abided by all of the conditions of probation and you are not currently serving another sentence or facing pending criminal charges.

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneysIf you are arrested, charged, and then convicted with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense, that does not necessarily mean you will be serving jail time. In California and many other states, there are plenty of alternatives to jail time, some of which might even give you an opportunity to not only serve your time but also improve your life and your community.  

A Brief Overview of Alternatives to Jail Time in California

From a practical perspective, alternatives to jail time are meant to manage overcrowding in prison and the high cost of jailing people, but in a way, these alternative programs also help the convicts as well. In California, in particular, there are many alternatives to jail time for DUI convictions if approved by the courts. A few of the most common alternatives include:

  • Mandatory AA meeting attendance or similar programs—Court-ordered attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings or other alcohol abuse education classes aim to replace or supplement punishment with rehabilitation. Essentially, the goal with these is to educate you in such a way that you get the help and treatment you need to improve your life and never face another DUI. In addition, a DUI convict might be able to attend any of the following other alternatives similar to an AA program:
    • Professional alcohol and drug rehab
    • Professional counseling/therapy
    • Other educational programs or support groups meant to improve behaviors and attitudes concerning alcohol
  • House arrest—Also known as home confinement, house arrest is not just for white-collar criminals anymore; you might find courts ordering it for you with a DUI conviction for similar reasons that other alternatives are employed. With house arrest or home confinement, you are permitted to serve part of your prison time or all of it from your home as long as you wear an ankle bracelet that tracks your location.
  • Work programs—Work programs, usually offered by the Sheriff’s Office, such as the one in San Francisco, titled SWAP (Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program), allow you to substitute some or all of your jail time for supervised work out of custody for part of your sentence. As with all alternative sentences, SWAP and other work programs are only court-ordered and are not necessarily offered to everyone; however, they do benefit the community as much as the convict. For instance, during these work programs, you might put in a hard day’s work doing any of the following:
    • Street-sweeping
    • Landscaping
    • Washing government cars
    • Janitorial work
    • Painting and construction, including some art
    • Picking up trash and needles
  • Remote alcohol monitoring—Through SCRAM services and devices or other similar tools, law enforcement is able to measure and monitor your perspiration, breath, or other vitals to determine whether you are consuming alcohol. Monitoring is continuous, preventing you from drinking alcohol and getting in a potentially illegal situation that might violate the terms of your sentence. 

Contact a Napa DUI Defense Lawyer

While an experienced and talented San Francisco DUI defense attorney could prevent you from being convicted of a DUI charge with impressive strategies, if you are convicted, you might be able to serve your time in a number of alternative ways. Whether you need your lawyer to strategically defend you and win your case, or at the least fight for you to serve your time in a more productive way, you will want to contact the highly skilled team at Burglin Law Offices, P.C. by calling 415-729-7300 for a free consultation.

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Sonoma DUI defense attorneyThere are many facts about the California DUI process that distinguish it from other states; relative to some of those states, California’s legal proceedings are slightly different. In California, there are two legal proceedings when dealing with the aftermath of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. They are the administrative hearing at the DMV and the actual criminal court proceeding. It is worth knowing how these two are different so that you know what to expect at every step in the process. The following is a brief summary of these two legal proceedings.

The DMV Hearing vs. the Court Proceeding for a DUI in California

These two legal proceedings are very different, and their differences take root in their ultimate goals for the alleged offender. The DMV Administrative Hearing is just that—administrative. This means it is strictly meant to handle the administration of your driver’s license (i.e., whether you will have your driver’s license suspended).If you do not request a DMV Administrative Hearing within 10 days, you will be given an automatic driver’s license suspension after 30 days.If you choose to go through with the hearing, you could choose to represent or yourself or you could hire an attorney to represent you. Note that the DMV never appoints a public defender for administrative hearings.

As for the criminal court proceeding itself, this is a lot more complicated and complex as a process. It could involve up to four or more separate courtroom appearances, including:

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San Francisco Out of State DUI Defense LawyerThere is little doubt that California, at least pre-COVID and also before the major, frequent fires, has always been the place to be when traveling within the U.S.—you might be there to check out Hollywood and all the stars, or you could be there to savor some lush libations in wine country throughout Napa. Whatever your reasons for traveling here as an out-of-state visitor, odds are you will probably need a car or a rental. Much of the most popular spots in California are not exactly within walking distance of wherever you might be. Residents know this—and have known this—for years. So if you do end up driving a lot while here as a nonresident, you should know that when it comes to a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, things can get complicated. Here is why. 

California Is Serious About Out-of-State DUI Due to Interstate Agreements

Do not think that being in a new place for a short while disqualifies you from severe consequences with regards to DUI charges; in fact, in California, out-of-state DUI is a serious offense that could result in major punishments in both California and your home state. The reason for this is mostly due to an interstate agreement about road safety:

The state of California is one of 45 states that agreed to join the Nonresidential Violator Compact, also known as the Interstate Driver’s License Compact or the IDLC, at least partially. This compact is a partnership between states across the nation to share all violation information from out-of-state residents with their fellow members of the compact. For many states, this includes minor traffic violations; for California, it is primarily for more serious dangers to safety like DUI. As such, if you are charged or convicted of DUI in California as a nonresident, you will face stiff penalties and consequences, both in California and your home state. The constant sharing of information between states with regards to this might actually make your case even more complicated, as the prosecution might discover a history of criminal activity, including prior DUIs.   

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence (DUI) on its own, as a one-time offense, can be a difficult and very challenging charge to face, but the circumstances and consequences concerning felony DUI are even more grave and substantial. Whereas first-time DUI, second-time DUI, and third-time DUI offenses are usually classified as misdemeanor DUIs, there are specific qualities of a felony DUI that make it much more serious. Here is a brief overview of felony DUI.  

Circumstances That Can Lead to Felony DUI in California

In general, the basic requirements for a felony DUI charge in California are at least one of the following:

  1. You already have three or more DUI convictions over the last 10 years.
  2. You have one or more felony DUI convictions over the last 10 years.
  3. This specific DUI caused injury or death to someone else.

However, these are only the basic circumstances that justify a felony DUI charge. There are also other instances, which are more specific, that can lead to a felony DUI. These include aggravated situations, such as:

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