Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal in California and every other state in the US. Each state enforces unique laws when it comes to DUI convictions, and financial penalties are just one aspect of a DUI case that an offender must prepare to face. If you or a loved one have been charged with DUI in West Covina, CA, it is natural to worry about how conviction will impact your life. While penalties for DUI in California almost always include fines, this is just one component of the financial effects a DUI conviction can have on your life.
There are more than 200 DUI convictions in the West Covina, CA area each year, and you should do everything possible to ensure you do not become part of this statistic. DUI is not only illegal and capable of leading to severe penalties but can also easily cause devastating accidents and injuries to everyone involved. Refraining from alcohol and drug consumption prior to driving is the best way to do this, but if you are arrested for DUI in West Covina, you should have some idea of what to expect in terms of the financial impact your conviction is likely to have on your life.
California assigns various penalties for DUI convictions, including fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension, mandatory drug and alcohol classes, mandatory counseling, and much more. These penalties increase with multiple offenses within ten years. For example, if you are convicted of DUI in 2021 and are later convicted of DUI again in 2024, your 2024 sentencing will be much harsher than your 2021 sentencing.
When it comes to fines, the minimum fine for DUI in California is $390. Some factors may lead to more substantial fines, such as an “extreme” or “aggravated” DUI in which the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is above .15%. Fines also increase with subsequent offenses. A second DUI will entail heavier fines than a first DUI, and a third DUI will entail heavier fines than a second DUI.
While fines for DUI conviction may be significant, this is not the end of the financial impact of DUI in West Covina, CA. The defendant will also face penalty assessments, or separate charges related to the court’s handling of their case. These penalty assessments can easily bring the total cost of a first-time DUI conviction over $1,000. Additionally, if the defendant is sentenced to mandatory counseling, drug and alcohol education courses, and/or driver safety courses, they must pay for these classes out of their own pockets. This can lead to several hundred dollars more in financial impact for a DUI.
Some people convicted of DUI in California will require ignition interlock devices (IIDs) to be installed on their vehicles. These devices prevent the vehicle from starting until the driver provides a breath sample to ensure they are not under the influence. If the system detects alcohol on the driver’s breath it will lock the vehicle for several hours and log the event in a small onboard computer. If a judge requires you to install an IID on your vehicle, you will pay for the device and the installation cost, which is usually a few hundred dollars.
After a defendant has been convicted of DUI, the court will issue several penalties including fines, jail time, and mandatory driver’s license suspension. However, this is not the end of the effects their DUI conviction will have on their life. Those convicted of DUI will have a permanent criminal record, making it difficult for them to find work in certain sectors of employment. A professional with a license to practice law or medicine could face disciplinary action from a bar association or medical board, preventing them from practicing for a certain amount of time. This can lead to further financial issues.
Another financial aspect of a DUI case is the cost of legal representation. People charged with DUI and other criminal offenses have the right to seek legal counsel from a public defender free of charge, but private defense attorneys typically offer a higher level of legal representation than what any public defender can provide. However, private defense attorneys charge for their time. If you fight your DUI case in court, you will also need to pay legal fees to your attorney based on how much time they spend working on your case.
After reviewing these examples of the different ways a DUI can financially impact your life, it is natural to want to estimate the total cost of a DUI in California. To do so, simply add a few of the most commonly cited financial effects of DUI conviction:
These factors will fluctuate for everyone facing this type of situation. Ultimately, it is always in your best interests to do everything you can to avoid a DUI conviction. Refrain from driving after consuming alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications that may interfere with your ability to drive. If you need to get home but are unsure if you are safe to drive, take advantage of a taxi or rideshare service to get home safely. In the event you are wrongfully accused of DUI, hiring an experienced defense attorney is the best way to avoid conviction and minimize the financial impact of this experience on your life.
The Law Office of Daniel P. Flores can provide legal counsel you can trust, after a DUI arrest in West Covina, CA. We understand the severe financial toll that DUI conviction can take on your life and we want to extend the full range of our resources and experience to help you fight your DUI charge. If you are arrested for DUI in West Covina, CA, contact us to schedule a consultation with our team and find out how we can help you.
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