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California's DUI laws may leave you struggling

If you recently experienced the shame and confusion of a drunk driving arrest, you have many things to consider as you prepare for your upcoming court appearance. From the first instant police pulled you over, you probably felt the possibility that this moment could change your life, and you were right. As a result, you may be tempted to accept a plea or just plead guilty to get the ordeal over with quickly.

However, you would be wise to discuss your situation with an attorney before taking such a step. A drunk driving conviction can have long-term effects. You want to be sure you have every opportunity for the most positive outcome possible, and this includes protecting your rights and examining the evidence against you.

Strict laws and tough consequences

Even a first offense can follow you for years to come. For example, if you hold certain professional certificates, a DUI conviction may disqualify you from carrying a certificate. The legal and administrative penalties alone may interfere with your ability to get to work and fulfill your other obligations.

California and most other states have rigid DUI laws, and those laws seem to change and tighten frequently. The purpose of these strict laws is to deter people from driving after drinking, so you can expect the penalties to be inconvenient and even burdensome. For example, if a court convicts you of a simple, first-offense DUI that did not include an accident or injuries, you can expect any of the following penalties:

  • The possibility of spending up to six months in jail
  • If not jail, then years of probation
  • Hundreds, perhaps thousands, in fines
  • License suspension for as long as six months
  • Points on your license, which leaves you vulnerable to additional suspensions
  • Mandatory alcohol treatment at your expense
  • The potential for an order to install an expensive ignition interlock system on your vehicle

Of course, if aggravating factors exist at the time of your arrest, such as having a child in the vehicle, driving with a suspended license or having previous DUI convictions within the past 10 years, you can expect much more severe penalties. No matter your situation, you have the right to legal assistance, and you would be wise to exercise this right. Your attorney can evaluate your situation and guide you in the most appropriate course of action with your best interests in mind.

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Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz
6877 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Phone: 951-335-0510
Fax: 951-686-8195
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