What are the Criminal Penalties Associated with a DUI Conviction in San Diego?

Drunken driving cases are taken rather seriously in San Diego; the consequences may sometimes be very harsh depending upon the nature and the number of offenses. DUI refers to Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant. If the driver’s blood alcohol content is above the legal limit of 0.08% as decided by the statute, he or she is to face a wide range of consequences based upon the nature of the offense.

If the DUI offense involves any injuries, then it is called a felony, otherwise it is considered a misdemeanor offense. In San Diego, a person could end up serving up to six months in county jail and/or could face heavy fine (up to $1000). A second offense may lead to a yearlong prison in county jail. In case of a first DUI felony conviction, the convict is sent to state prison for up to three years and heavy fine is also imposed (over $1000).

Some convicts do not get jail time for a first misdemeanor charge based on their blood alcohol level, age and the extent of injuries, if any. In case of a first misdemeanor, the defendant usually undergoes a 3-9 month DUI program and license suspension. A second misdemeanor offense requires the convict to go through up to 18 months of DUI program and installation of an Ignition Interlock Device to eliminate the possibility of any accidents. A third offense may additionally impose a 3 year license revocation and up to one year in jail. Fourth subsequent misdemeanor DUI offense will lead to a 4 year license revocation. Subsequent misdemeanor cases require the convict to go through DUI programs if he/she has not attended one before.

In case of felony charges, the convict has to face additional penalties to compensate for the loss of the plaintiff once proven guilty. In case of an injury, death or property damage due to a DUI offense, the defendant usually faces hefty fines and more jail time even if it is their first offense. Moreover, the basic penalties for DUI felony charges are the same as those for DUI misdemeanor charges.

Some circumstances may lead to additional DUI penalties; for example, if there is a person below the age of fourteen on the passenger’s seat, the defendant is bound to face jail time. Similarly, if the blood alcohol content is more than 0.15%, penalties are increased. Refusal to submit to a chemical test may worsen the penalty and may result in an increase in jail term.

DUI charges may also lead to cancellation of auto insurance or increase in insurance costs by the convict’s insurance company. The convict may also lose the eligibility for certain jobs as the DUI offense remains on one’s criminal record and shows up on a background check. A DUI penalty may also lead to financial crisis as the convict usually has to pay for DUI classes along with the fines. It can sometimes lead to undesirable penalties such as confiscation of the vehicle and impound fee depending on the nature of the accident, injuries sustained and property loss. In case you are facing a DUI charge in San Diego, it is advisable to contact a DUI attorney before taking any action.