Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in San Francisco is a criminal act prosecuted through the criminal justice system, rather than through traffic court or the DMV. A record of your DUI persists for ten years and the penalties for those convicted of one or more DUIs in a decade can be quite severe.
Once you are stopped for suspected drunk driving, a police officer measures your “BAC” or blood alcohol content through breath, urine, or blood tests. Failure to submit to a test after you are arrested can have penalties. The legal limit for most drivers is .08% BAC. The legal limits are more stringent for commercial drivers and drivers under 21 years of age.
Even if you don’t meet the legal limit to be charged with a DUI, you can still be charged with reckless driving in San Francisco. The District Attorney will charge a high blood alcohol allegation if a defendant’s blood alcohol level is .15 percent or greater. Such a charge will bring you increased penalties such as a longer DUI program and a longer jail sentence.
San Francisco DUI Convictions Are Expensive
Drivers in San Francisco who face a first-time DUI charge have the potential to receive several harsh criminal penalties. A driver convicted for the first time of a DUI may receive a 30-day to 10-month suspension of driving privileges. First offenders convicted of misdemeanor DUIs face the following: fines that run from $390-$1,000; jail time from 4 days up to 6 months; a requirement of participation in a first-offender DUI program; and a license conditioned on IID installation. As set forth later in this section, these consequences are more severe if you also injured someone while driving under the influence of alcohol.
If these penalties do not deter them, second and third offenders face even harsher penalties than first time offenders do. A second offender has the following potential punishments: revocation of driver’s license for one to two years; 90 days to one year in jails; fines of $390- $1000. The sentencing of third-time offenders may include: 120 days-1 year jail time; fines of $390-$1,000; mandated 18 or 30-month program; revocation of driver’s license for 3 years.
On January 1, 2012, a new law came into effect that permits the court to order a license to be revoked for ten years if an individual has three or more DUI convictions in a decade.
When someone is injured as a result of a DUI or in the case of felony DUIs, all of the foregoing penalties are increased. Someone convicted of a felony DUI with an injury may face 16 months to 10 years in prison. They will also receive a sentence based on how many people they injured and how badly. This additional sentence can range between $1015-5000 in fines, mandatory treatment in an alcohol or drug program, habitual traffic offender status for three years, and payment of restitution to anybody they injured.
On top of criminal penalties assessed at sentencing, people who are convicted of a DUI must also pay court fees and DMV fees. Their records last a decade. This means that if you are arrested for a DUI, and you were convicted of one or more DUIs within the last 10 years, you face charges as a second or third-time offender. Under these circumstances where the stakes for a conviction are so high, if you are charged with drunk driving, you need the best attorneys on your side. Hire an experienced and accomplished San Francisco DUI defense attorney to mount a vigorous defense.
According to the 2012 Annual Report of the DUI Management Information System, there were 1072 alcohol-related crash fatalities in California or 39.1%. The statewide average rate of arrest in 2010 was .8 arrests for every 100 licensed drivers.
If You Need Help Challenging a DUI Charge in San Francisco, Contact the DUI Attorneys at Dudek & Cintean, LLP
As described above, the penalties for a DUI can be severe, but the San Francisco DUI Defense Attorneys at Dudek & Cintean, LLP can help you fight a DUI charge. As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we have helped many clients get their DUI charges dropped or reduced based on faulty tests, improper procedures, unlawfully acquired evidence, and many other reasons.
For a confidential consultation, call Dudek & Cintean, LLP at our San Francisco office at (415) 946-4020.