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CA defense lawyerIn an effort to keep unsafe drivers off the road, California law typically requires a driver’s license suspension for a person who is arrested or convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. However, in a world that frequently relies on personal vehicles for transportation, the loss of driving privileges can be a major inconvenience and even a cause of financial hardship. If your license has been suspended for DUI-related reasons, you may be able to mitigate some of the consequences by applying for a restricted license.

Restricted Licenses for California DUI Arrest Suspensions

In California, a DUI conviction is not necessary for a driver’s license suspension to go into effect. Rather, you could find your license suspended for four months if a chemical test shows that you had a BAC of at least 0.08. You may be able to contest your suspension with the help of an attorney at an administrative DMV hearing, but if the suspension goes into effect, you will be unable to legally drive under any circumstances unless you obtain a restricted driver’s license.

The California DMV offers two options for obtaining a restricted license under these circumstances. The first is to agree to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your vehicle, in which case you would be able to drive for any reason as long as the device does not register alcohol in your breath. The second option is to serve at least 30 days of the suspension and then agree to drive only for the purposes of employment and attending a DUI program. For either option, you must apply through the DMV, pay a fee, and provide proof of insurance. These restrictions typically last for the duration of the suspension or slightly longer.

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CA DUI lawyerA DUI conviction can have lasting consequences for anyone, but it can be especially hard for drivers under the age of 21 who are just beginning their adult lives. If you or your child has been charged with an underage drinking offense in California, it is understandable that you would be concerned about the outcome of your case. An attorney can inform you of the possible consequences and prepare a defense that may help you avoid them.

Penalties for Underage DUI

In California, drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of an alcohol-related offense can face both administrative and criminal penalties, depending on the circumstances. The severity of the consequences depends in large part on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as measured by a preliminary breath test or chemical test.

For example, underage drivers with a BAC of at least 0.01 are subject to a one-year suspension of their driver’s license according to California’s zero-tolerance law, but this is likely to be the only penalty they face. With a BAC of at least 0.05, the driver can also be assessed a fine, and if they are at least 18 years old, they can be ordered to complete a DUI education program before having their license reinstated. Notably, neither of these charges will result in jail time.

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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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