Riverside DUI Attorney
The team at the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz in Riverside, CA want to help local residents understand the dangers of DUI and know what to do after an arrest for DUI. Having the right attorney by your side during this difficult ordeal can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in California. Depending on the nature of a DUI offense, the potential penalties could include fines, driver’s license suspension, mandatory counseling, and even jail time. A DUI conviction will also remain on a driver’s record for up to ten years.
Why Work with the Team at the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz?
When you need legal representation for a DUI offense in Riverside, you need an attorney who can provide you with a solid legal defense and compassionate, professional legal counsel. Consider the following reasons to trust your case with our firm:
- The attorneys at the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz have extensive experience handling DUI defense cases. Founding attorney Catherine A. Schwartz has more than 30 years of legal experience.
- Our firm understands every DUI case is different. We will take the time to get to know you, your situation, and the details of your case to provide the best defense possible.
- As a former Riverside County Deputy Public Defender, attorney Catherine A. Schwartz has in-depth knowledge of the local criminal justice system and how the law applies to your case.
- Our team is not afraid of intense litigation. We’ll work to navigate you through your case as swiftly as possible, but we will not shy away from an extensive legal battle if that’s what it takes to defend your rights.
When you choose to work with the attorneys at the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz, you can rest assured that you have decades of legal experience and a fiercely dedicated legal team on your side.
Potential Penalties for DUI in San Bernardino and Riverside
When the police suspect that a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Riverside, the officers handling the traffic stop will administer a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test. In most cases, this is done with a breathalyzer device that detects alcohol on a driver’s breath. The legal limit for BAC in California is .08%. If a police officer pulls over a driver to administer a BAC test and the driver’s BAC registers .081% or more, the officer will arrest the driver for DUI.
When a police officer pulls over your vehicle for suspicion of DUI in Riverside, taking the chemical test for BAC is not optional. California operates under an implied consent law; as part of using your California driver’s license, you offer your implied consent to BAC testing in the event a police officer stops you for suspicion of DUI. If a driver refuses to submit to a BAC test, the driver will lose his or her driver’s license for one to three years depending on whether the driver has prior DUI convictions.
Possible Penalties for a First DUI Conviction in Riverside
California law classifies first-time DUI convictions as misdemeanor offenses. Anyone convicted of a DUI for the first time faces fines of $390 up to $1,000, but it’s also possible for the offender to face additional financial penalties depending on the facts of the case. A first offense may also lead to jail time of 48 hours to six months, but this generally only applies to cases involving significant destruction of property or DUI violations that caused injuries or fatalities.
Many California judges will be lenient to first offenders and willing to reduce the penalty to probation. This probationary period can last up to three years, during which time the driver will need to complete a mandatory drug and alcohol education course and a three-month DUI school with a total of 30 classroom hours. Drivers with BAC of .20% or more should expect a nine-month school and 60 classroom hours.
A driver convicted of a first DUI offense should also expect a six-month driver’s license suspension and an administrative license suspension from the California Department of Motor Vehicles for four months. When a driver faces both types of suspensions, they typically overlap, so the driver will not have to wait out two consecutive license suspensions for one violation. It’s possible for a first time DUI offender to apply for a restricted license to get to and from work during the suspension period. This generally requires installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) that verifies the driver’s BAC level before starting the vehicle.
Escalating Penalties for Repeat Offenses
California law applies substantially harsher penalties for multiple DUIs. If a Riverside driver has subsequent DUI convictions, they will face increasingly higher penalties:
- A second DUI conviction is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to $1,000 in fines plus penalty assessments, 96 hours to one year in jail or house arrest, a two-year driver’s license suspension, and up to five years of probation with a requirement to attend an 18 to 30-month DUI school.
- A third DUI conviction is also a misdemeanor, carrying penalties including fines up to $1,800 plus penalty assessments, and jail time for 120 days to one year. If the judge grants a third-time offender probation, jail time could reduce to 30 days as long as the offender attends DUI school for 30 months. The convicted driver should also expect a three-year driver’s license suspension and mandatory two-year IID requirement.
Riverside, CA drivers should know that DUI offenses involving injuries or fatalities to others could qualify as felonies and also leave the offender vulnerable to civil lawsuits from the victims and their families.
Defending Against DUI Charges
A DUI arrest can be a traumatic experience, but the right attorney can help a driver obtain a reasonable penalty and potentially avoid jail time. In some cases, it’s possible to plea down to a “wet reckless” or reckless driving charge with substantially lighter penalties. Generally, a DUI offense recorded at a routine traffic stop that involved a relatively low BAC level and no injuries or deaths will carry a much lighter sentence than an extreme DUI offense with a recorded BAC over .20% that resulted in injuries or fatalities to others.
When you or a loved one face DUI charges in Riverside, CA, it’s vital to secure legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney. The team at the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz have the experience and resources to help you reach a more favorable outcome with your DUI case. Contact our firm online today or call us at (951) 686-8190 to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about how our firm can help you with your DUI case in Riverside or San Bernardino.
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