DUI Law in San Francisco for First Time Offenders

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First time offenders as charged under the driving under influence law in San Francisco and the entire Bay Area of California will be fined anywhere between three hundred and ninety dollars to more than a thousand dollars. The fine varies depending on the various facts of the case, including the blood alcohol content, if there was any over speeding, if there was any reckless driving and most importantly if there was an accident, leading to personal injury and damage to property. This fine is regardless of any personal injury claim that may be filed by a victim. Such lawsuits are separate from the action initiated by the local policy and the subsequent intervention of the court as per the driving under influence law.

It is possible for first time offenders to waive off some of the fine with community service. In rare instances, especially when the defendant is clearly incapable of paying the fine due to financial limitations, the entire amount may be waived but then the community service would have to be more comprehensive and long drawn. There would be three years of probation at the least for first time offenders who are charged under the civil law and the criminal law. The driving under influence law allows charging a defendant for a civil offense and a criminal offense. The three years of probation can be argued in cases where the blood alcohol content is more acceptable and there was no threat to safety of people on the road or property en route while the defendant was driving under influence.

License suspension is unavoidable unless the defendant can successfully argue against the charges at the Department of Motor Vehicles. This can precede the case moving to court. If a defendant can win the mini trial at the Department of Motor Vehicles and gets the suspension of the driving license revoked, and the charges can be reduced in court, to anything below an actual DUI, no suspension will occur.  If the license is suspended, then a temporary license which is also known as restricted license may be requested and is usually approved so the defendant can move around, get to work and take care of usual responsibilities, after the first 30 days. The actual license remains suspended for a period of six-nine months.

In some cases, first time offenders are required to attend a driving under influence school. There could be a jail term too but that can be contested. The jail term is usually between two days and six months. Most first-time offenders are not jailed. All such penalties or fines and sentences can be substantially harsher for second time offenders. Repeat offenders, who are charged with driving under influence for the third time or more, would be dealt with extreme stringency. Such offenders can be jailed, and the terms or sentences would be longer. The fines would be steeper, and the court will make alcohol education program imperative for the convicted. Repeat offenders are also charged for felony if they have been held driving under influence four times or more, in the last ten years.