If you are convicted of driving under the influence in California, there are a plethora of consequences you will face as a result of that conviction. As such, let’s briefly discuss: (1) the charges against you, (2) the general penalties associated with a conviction against you, (3) the defenses your Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm attorney can raise; and finally (4) a more detailed inspection of one of the mandatory consequences of a conviction, which is known as “SR22 insurance.”
What are the Elements of Driving Under the Influence in California?
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152, it is a punishable offense to operate a motor vehicle if any of the facts set forth below are true:
- While operating a motor vehicle, you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher;
- While operating a “commercial vehicle”, your blood alcohol content is 0.04% or higher;
- While operating a motor vehicle, you are presently addicted to any drugs; and
- While operating a motor vehicle, you are under impaired by drugs, alcohol, or bothi.
Like all other criminal charges, the Prosecution must prove every element of the crime they are seeking to convict you of; this presents many opportunities for the skilled attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm to poke holes in the Prosecutor’s “theory of the case”, which may ultimately result in a dismissal, or acquittal, of the charges against you.
I Have Been Accused of Driving Under the Influence What Happens Next?
Being arrested for anything is a frightening experience, being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence is frightening because of the immediacy of the consequences, and the impact on your life. At the time you are arrested on suspicion of violating California Vehicle Code §23152, the arresting officer will physically take your California Driver’s License away from youii, and they will provide you with a pink piece of paper, commonly referred to as an “Admin Per Se.” This is your temporary driver’s license. The moment you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the clock starts ticking as it relates to your driving privileges; you have ten (10) days, including the weekend, to request a hearing with the local Department of Motor Vehicles. The hearing at the DMV is for the purpose of convincing an administrative judge to set aside the automatic suspension of your driving privileges in California until the resolution of the criminal case against you.
The moment you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm immediately; they will provide you the best opportunity to obtain a desirable outcome at your DMV hearing, and ultimately, your criminal trial.
I Have Been Convicted of my First DUI, What are the Penalties I Might Face?
While California Courts treat DUIs very seriously, a person convicted of a DUI for the first time may face lesser penalties if they have an attorney advocating for them. Some of the penalties a first time offender may face include:
- A fine ranging between $390 and $2,000; this includes the cost of the penalty, which is assessed after conviction;
- You may be forced to enroll in, and complete, a treatment program designed to help with alcohol dependency;
- Incarceration for a period of 2 days; and
- SR22 Insurance
- Suspension of your California driving privileges for at least 30 days, depending on the facts surrounding your DUI. Once the suspension of your license has run its course, you will then face additional driving restrictions.
It is important to realize that the possible penalties listed above are associated with what is known as a “simple” DUI; that is a DUI without aggravating factors. For a detailed discussion of factors that can result in enhanced penalties, please refer to the article on our page title “aggravated DUI.”
What Can my Attorney do to Improve my Chances of Winning my Case?
Vincent Ross supervises the attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm and has provided them the benefit of tutelage from an attorney who has practiced, and obtained superior results for nearly three decades. Having been trained by the best, our attorneys know every trick in the book to improve the chances of a favorable outcome to your case. Some of these strategies/arguments include:
- At the time you were stopped, and subsequently arrest, you weren’t actually in physical control of a vehicle:
- Your arrest occurred as the result of a DUI checkpoint that was not in compliance with the requirements set forth by the California Supreme Court:
- There was insufficient reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first the place:
- The officer who performed the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (“PAS”) Test did not wait the required 15 minutes between the stop and performance of the test:
While there are a number of penalties associated with a DUI conviction in California, the insurance requirement of SR22 represent a substantial cost, and is always required SR22, also known as the California “Safety Responsibility” form 22, is provided by insurance companies. The purpose of the form is to verify that the individual has met the newly imposes obligations of the Defendant as it relates to insurance. The insurance provider will supply the local DMV with the SR22 form.
When to obtain an SR22 in California
SR22 is only necessary as it relates to drivers, who have incidents that caused the license to be suspended. Some examples of conduct triggering the SR22 requirement include:
- Suspensions of driving privileges as a result of being in an accident without insurance, reckless driving, or speeding.
- Suspensions of the license with conditions that have not been met.
- Convictions for a DUI.
- Failure to pay parking tickets.
- Revocation or suspension of your license as a result of being deemed a “negligent operator.” This can happen as a result of obtaining too may “points” on your license.
- Other vehicle violations
When it is time for an individual to reinstate their license after the term of a suspension has concluded, they are required to file a SR22. California law usually requires you provide SR22 forms from three (3) to ten (10) years after you are convicted; where you were convicted is immaterial for SR22 purposes. Failure to abide by the SR22 requirements will trigger an automatic license suspension.
Types of California SR22 forms
California has three types of SR22 forms:
1. An Operator’s Policy Certificate: This version of SR22 is designed to apply to individuals who do not own a vehicle, but still drives. The SR22 must cover all vehicles the individual drives, even though they don’t own it.
2. An Owner’s Policy Certificate: This version of SR22 applies to vehicles owned by the person filling out the SR22. This coverage must apply to every vehicle, which is registered in the person’s name.
3. A Broad Coverage Policy Certificate: This covers any vehicles, owned or not owned, by the driver. SR22 and Restricted License
Having a valid SR22 may aid you in obtaining a restricted driver’s license. After you have received your punishment for a DUI conviction, it is probable you will also be sentenced to 3 to 5 years of probation. Probation comes with certain conditions. Complying with those conditions will help you get your restricted license. The DMV typically issues a restricted license for a first time DUI offender if:
1. You have participated in a DUI school, and followed the terms your probation
2. File a copy of the California SR22 proof of liability insurance.
3. Pay a fee of $15 for the restricted license and a reinstatement fee of $125. (These fees may vary or change from county to county.)
If you are subsequently convicted of more DUI charges, the DMV may still issue the restricted license, provided you flow additional terms. You could be deemed ineligible for a restricted license if certain facts are present.
Obtaining a California SR22
After you have been convicted of a DUI, your insurance provider will review the DMV records to figure out why you need an SR22. Next they will create, and submit, the SR22. A necessary result of SR22 requirements is that the insurance company will view you as a “high risk” operator, and could increase your monthly insurance premiums. You may also face cancellation of your policy.
California SR22 costs
How much an SR22 will cost you will depend on who your insurance provider is, how old you are, where you live, and how long you have been with your insurance company. The SR22 filing fee is generally $25 to $50. It will also cost you an additional $125 to have your driving privileges reissued by the DMV. The law prohibits you from receiving “good drier” discounts from your insurance provider for ten (10) years. Your insurance costs are one of the major consequences to a DUI conviction.
If you have been convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles, and are required to file an SR22, contact Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm at 424-285-5400 immediately for a FREE consultation.
i This particular provision is intended as a catch-all for people who are below the legal limit of 0.08%, but the arresting officer still believes that whatever the person’s BAC is, it is still impacting their ability to operate their vehicle. This is a very difficult charge for a Prosecutor to prove, and it is rarely pursued.
ii If you have an out-of-state driver’s license, please refer to the article on this site titled “Out of State Licenses.”