If you face DUI charges, your first action should be to engage the services of a talented DUI defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Vincent Hughes in San Bernardino, we provide the knowledgeable legal counsel and aggressive representation you need during this challenging time. Call us today to speak with us about your case. The earlier we get involved, the better it can be for your case. Mr. Hughes has garnered a reputation for excellence. He has received many honors and accolades, including being listed as a SuperLawyers Rising Star, The National Black Lawyers, Top 40 Under 40, an Elite Lawyer in Criminal Law, and Lawyers of Distinction. He offers financing to his clients to give them quality DUI defense counsel without paying in full upfront.

What are the penalties for DUI?

Even for first-time DUI offenders, a conviction could result in severe penalties, including:

  • Fines: For a first-time DUI offense, you could pay a fine between $390 to $1,000, in addition to other penalty assessments, which could add up to several thousand dollars or more.
  • Jail: A DUI conviction could also result in jail time, even for first-time offenders. It could be as little as 48 hours or as much as six months, depending on the details of your case. 
  • State prison: A felony DUI conviction can lead to incarceration in a state prison.
  • License suspension: It is common for first-time DUI offenders to have their license suspended, usually for six months. You could have an additional four-month administrative suspension tacked on if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .08% or more.
  • Probation: You may also receive a three-year term of informal probation. You would be expected to complete a three-month DUI course (30 hours of classes). If your BAC was .20% or higher, your program is increased to nine months (60 hours of classes).

For those with prior convictions for DUI, the penalties increase in severity, resulting in the loss of more privileges. For example, you may have to attend a mandatory second-offender DUI school for 18 to 30 months and have a driver interlock device installed on your vehicle for one year. 

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When is a DUI a felony?

DUI charges are generally misdemeanors unless certain aggravating factors are present, such as a DUI accident causing bodily injuries or loss of life. A driver who has three or more prior DUI convictions (in any state – including DWI, OUI) within the past ten years be charged with a felony DUI. A felony conviction could result in a prison sentence of up to four years with fines from $390 to $5,000. In addition, if another person was killed in an accident, the accused driver may face charges of felony vehicular manslaughter. The penalties imposed can include state prison for up to six years and fines of up to $10,000.  

Drivers with three or more DUI convictions within the past ten years could be charged with a felony DUI for the current offense, regardless of aggravating factors, with penalties including years in state prison.

What can lead to being accused of drunk driving?

There is more than one way for a driver to face DUI charges in California. It can be broken down into the following:

  • If you are an adult who is 21 years of age or older and has a regular driver’s license with no other restrictions, you could be charged with a DUI if your BAC is .08% or more.
  • If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and are accused of having a BAC of .04% or more, you could be charged with DUI.
  • If you are on probation for a DUI from a previous charge and have a BAC of .04% or more, you could be charged with a DUI.
    If you are under the age of 21 and have a BAC of .01% or more, you could be charged with DUI.

A DUI does not just involve alcohol. If you consumed any substance that could affect your driving, you could face charges of DUI. The following substances could also result in these charges:

  • Legal prescription drugs
  • Recreational drugs
  • Illegal drugs
  • Over-the-counter medications

If the prosecution can prove that any legal or illegal substance impaired your ability to operate a vehicle safely, you face serious legal consequences, including jail time, fines, and a criminal record.

Can you plead “not guilty” to DUI?

You have been charged with a DUI offense, but that does not mean you must plead guilty. Various issues must be fully reviewed to determine the best strategy for defending against the charge. Some of the factors in the case that could allow for a successful defense include:

  • Rights violations in the police stop
  • Errors in administering roadside or breath testing 
  • Medical conditions that can lead to an incorrect BAC reading
  • Police misconduct
  • Lab errors
  • Failure to correctly calibrate testing devices
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Why choose us?

If you are charged with a DUI offense in San Bernardino,  turn to the legal team at the Law Offices of Vincent Hughes for the skilled legal representation you need fighting for your rights and freedoms. Our criminal defense attorney delivers both powerful legal support and compassionate, personalized counsel. Let us help you protect your future. Reach out to our law office today to schedule an initial case evaluation to get started on your case.

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