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California DUI Overview

Protecting your rights in a DUI arrest

DUI ― “driving under the influence” ― is one of the most common types of criminal arrest today. Most people charged with DUI are respectable citizens experiencing their first brush with the law. At Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau, our Bay Area DUI lawyers believe in your right to an effective defense and work diligently to level the playing field, preserve your freedoms and give you a second chance.

Our attorneys at Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau have more than 100 years of combined experience in criminal defense, and over the years have watched DUI laws become harsher and more heavily enforced. We see increasingly sophisticated technology introduced to evaluate blood alcohol content (BAC). Of course, we often challenge many aspects of a DUI arrest, from probable cause to stop to improper administration of BAC testing.

Potential penalties for DUI offenses

Understanding potential DUI penalties puts into perspective the importance of protecting your rights and retaining an experienced Bay Area DUI attorney.

First DUI offense

  • Mandatory 48 hours in jail and potentially up to six months (possible conversion to work service)
  • Three to five years of court probation
  • Fines — $390 to $1,000
  • License suspension up to six months
  • Alcohol treatment program

Second DUI offense

  • Jail — 90 days to one year
  • Three to five years of court probation
  • Fines — $390 to $1,000
  • License suspension up to two years
  • Alcohol treatment program for 18 or 30 months
  • Interlock ignition device (IID)

Third DUI offense

  • Jail — 120 days to one year
  • Three to five years of court probation
  • Fines — $390 to $1,000
  • License suspension up to three years
  • Alcohol treatment program for 18 or 30 months
  • Interlock ignition device (IID)

The “look back” period on repeated offenses is 10 years, which means when the offense occurs within a 10-year period, the court considers it a repeat offense.

Wet reckless option

For a first DUI offense, a Bay Area DUI lawyer may be able to negotiate a “wet reckless” plea bargain, which is a reduced charge with lighter penalties. It requires only a fine and completion of a DUI education program instead of mandatory jail time and license suspension.

Bay Area DUI attorneys protecting your rights

If you have been charged with a DUI, call Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau at 650.568.2820 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.