California prosecutors take drunk driving seriously, and even a first conviction may trigger serious consequences. Most California DUI charges are misdemeanors, but even a misdemeanor carries a possible sentence of up to six months in jail. A first-time DUI offender may also be placed on probation for up to three years, be assessed significant fines, and lose his or her driver’s license for four months.
California DUI Penalties are Only the Beginning
The penalties imposed by the criminal court system and the California DMV can be serious, but they’re not the only consequences a person convicted of drunk driving in California may face. The indirect consequences of a conviction may have a significant impact on the driver’s life. Some examples include:
- A jump in automobile insurance rates
- A criminal record, which may impact the driver in many ways
- Possible limitations on employment options
If you’ve been charged with DUI in California, you must act quickly to protect your rights and prepare your defense.
You Only Have 10 Days to Request a California DMV Hearing
One of the California DUI penalties of great concern to many clients is the driver’s license suspension. Losing your license can create a significant burden, interfering with your ability to earn a living, care for your family, and attend to many important areas of your life.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the driver’s license suspension that occurs after a BAC test result of .08% or greater as “automatic,” but that’s a bit misleading. While the suspension automatically takes effect 30 days after the arrest, you can fight the suspension—but only if you take action immediately.
You have just 10 days to request a driver’s license hearing in a DUI case. If you do not request this hearing, generally called an “APS hearing,” within 10 days, you will be barred from contesting the license suspension.