In some states first time DUI arrest is not considered a crime. However states like California do treat drunken driving as a misdemeanor otherwise known as a DUI offense. The punishment that goes with arrest can range to jail time, fines, probation, suspension and revocation of license etc. Once you have been arrested for drunken driving, if you repeat the offense once or more than once within 10 years you could face stiff penalties and restrictions on your driving privileges.
If a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he may request you to take a PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening) test, such as a breathalyzer to detect blood alcohol content in your breath. If you are under the age of 21 you have no right to refuse and if found with a blood alcohol level of .01 and above, you may be booked for arrest. A driver over the age of 21, reserves the right to refuse to take the test but the DMV can also exercise the right to suspend your driving privileges for a year or revoke them for two years if your refusal should happen within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction. California law also permits that the person who refuses a breath test can face later mandatory jail time if convicted. The fact that you refused to take the breath test or chemical test can be used against you should your case go to trial.
After an arrest, your license would be automatically suspended or revoked. To contest that suspension the offender would have to seek a hearing with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for an administrative hearing. An experienced DUI lawyer would help you to face the case in a professional manner to allow you to get a favorable outcome to your DUI case. In case you are convicted you may face jail time, probation, fines, suspension and revocation. In addition the insurance rates for your car would also increase dramatically. DUI offenses may hinder you getting hired or also contribute to the loss of your present job. Immigrants who are convicted of driving drunk can face stiff penalties and risk change in their immigration status.
Many cases do not go to trial and are resolved by plea bargaining. Your attorney should have adequate experience in plea bargaining to allow you to settle for a reduced punishment. Before hiring a lawyer, take account of his or her track record in cases related to DUI. Ventura residents can consult online directories or search engines before hiring their preferred lawyer.