the State Bar of California
the San Diego Union-Tribune
The Press-Enterprise

First-Time Driving While Under the Influence Offenses

Although first-time driving under the influence cases are almost always filed as misdemeanors by the prosecuting agency, do not mistakenly underestimate the seriousness of these types of offenses. In Riverside County, even a first-time conviction for driving under the influence can have widespread and significant ramifications both now and in the future. Consequences include a maximum of 180 days in jail, fine and penalty assessments in excess of $1,700, and required attendance and completion of a minimum, three-month long alcohol offender education program. Additional fines are incurred in cases where the vehicle is impounded incident to arrest and then subject to costly storage fees as a result. In cases where driving under the influence results in a traffic collision, restitution will also be ordered to compensate the injured party for any property damage or expenses incurred for medical treatment related to any physical injuries sustained as a result of the accident. Most significantly, and perhaps most frequently overlooked, are the serious implications regarding your driver’s license and privilege to drive that will ultimately result from a driving under the influence conviction.

Even in a first-time driving under the influence situation, the Department of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your driver’s license for a period of four months, thirty days after arrest, unless you specifically request an administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of the date of your arrest. Additionally, if you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in court, meaning you pled guilty to the charge(s) in court or were convicted following a jury trial, a separate license suspension will also be imposed once the court gives notice of the fact of the conviction to the Department of Motor Vehicles. To add to the mess, the suspensions imposed by the courts are almost always different from the suspensions imposed administratively by the Department of Motor Vehicles. They will often vary, not only in terms of the length of suspension, but also as to the specific terms of the restriction(s).

It is important to remember that the Department of Motor Vehicles is an administrative agency and their hearings regarding the status of your driver’s license following a driving under the influence arrest are entirely separate from any criminal court case filed by the District Attorney or other prosecuting agency. The bottom line is you need an experienced advocate fighting for you in both the criminal court proceedings and administrative hearings in order to ensure the best possible chance of a favorable outcome in your case. At the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC, we believe that full-service legal representation includes defending you in the criminal courtroom, as well as at the administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles. When you hire us, we will put our skills to work for you in both arenas. Contact us today so that we can schedule your administrative hearing, determine if you are eligible to get a temporary driver’s license, which will allow you to continue to drive while your case is pending, and work diligently to mitigate the criminal consequences as well.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with a first-time DUI in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta DUI lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

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