Criminal Defense Lawyer Oakland CA
Everyone knows that drinking and driving is not a good idea. Most importantly, your chances of hurting or killing yourself or others are exponentially higher when you get behind the wheel after drinking. Aside from the chances of bodily injury or harming innocent people, taking the risk of getting behind the wheel after drinking can have serious legal repercussions and very high costs. In California, the average cost of a DUI is well over $10,000 after considering legal fees, fines, raised insurance costs, and more. If you have been charged with drunk driving, contact a criminal defense lawyer Oakland CA residents trust from the Hallinan Law Firm.
About DUI & DWIs
Drivers that receive a DUI or DWI often ask about the difference between the two. DUI stands for driving under the influence, and DWI is driving while intoxicated. In California, impaired driving is referenced as a DUI but there are different levels of guilt that can be pursued in a DUI case.
The terms are often used interchangeably, to describe offenses where the driver was impaired or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Whether this is a DUI or DWI depends on the state that the offense happened in. Each state, after all, has their own laws and terminology surrounding these charges.
In California, you can be charged with a driving while under the influence of alcohol charge under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC, a driving while under the influence of drug charge falls under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC, or you can receive a driving under combined influence of alcohol and drugs charge which falls under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC.
In addition to those charges, a driver may also be charged with driving and having a blood alcohol content level of .08% or higher due to California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC. This allows DUI cases involving alcohol to be charged with another charge, allowing prosecution on two different theories.
California DMV takes administrative action against a driver with a BAC of .08% or high, or if they refuse to be tested when they were requested too. They will not issue a suspension for a driver who is found to be high or intoxicated while driving if their BAC was under .08%. These drivers may still face automatic suspension if convicted under any section of the California Vehicle Code 23152 VC.
How Does California Handle Out of State DWI Conviction?
While California uses DUI instead of DWI, drivers who have received DWI convictions in other states can face penalties if charged with any offenses in California. California prosecutors can get your records, after all. Anything charged within ten years can be used as “priors” in a case in California, even though you did not live in California at the time.
Not every state’s DUI statute will line up with California, so a good defense lawyer can sometimes get “priors” stricken from the record. However, this is not true for every case, and that is why you’ll want a good criminal defense lawyer in Oakland California to take your case. Remember, your fourth DUI in a ten-year period is typically charged as a felony and you may receive a prison sentence. Drive safely, do responsibly. Often DUI or DWI charges come with jail time, penalties, suspended license, and eventual permanent loss of license.
Work alongside your lawyer to further understand the intricacies of your case. That’s the best way to understand what is going on with your DUI or DWI charge, and how other charges in other states may affect you.
After the Arrest
The first cost to consider is bail or bond costs. While there are rare cases where drivers are released from jail on their own recognizance after being arrested for a DUI, in most situations, bail for first time DUI offenders can range anywhere from $100 plus to $2,000. Also, unless a passenger is able to get the driver’s car home after their arrest, towing and impounding fees need to be included in total DUI cost calculations. While the costs of towing and impounding depend on location, one can expect fees ranging anywhere from the low hundreds to the low thousands. On top of that, cars left in impound lots are at risk of being auctioned off, so drivers charged with DUI should be quick about retrieving their impounded vehicles.
Next to consider are fines and fees doled out by the court. These fees vary from state to state and also depending on how many DUIs the person has already received. In California, first time DUI offenders could see fines of nearly $2,000. On top of court given fines, one must also consider the costs of hiring an attorney. These costs are difficult to estimate, as they vary greatly depending on which law firm was hired, location within the state, and the length of the defense. Pleading guilty immediately with the assistance of a felony lawyer Oakland, CA clients recommend could cost as little as $300, but extensive cases could see costs upwards of $25,000.
What could potentially be the largest expense to someone charged with a DUI is rising insurance costs. Insurance rates can rise immediately following an arrest for a DUI, regardless of being convicted or not. Insurance rates will remain higher for at least three years, but in most cases, insurance companies look for five years of safe driving before lowering rates. The total cost for raised insurance is also difficult to predict, but drivers charged with a DUI can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to upwards to $40,000 over the span of a few years. Some drivers may also be dropped from their insurance provider altogether and forced to find more expensive insurance options.
While these are the primary factors to consider when exploring DUI costs, there are many factors that could significantly increase costs further. DUI’s can lead to loss of employment, lack of transportation, required alcohol classes, driving classes, probation costs, alcohol monitoring devices, and many other fees that add up quickly. This is all assuming that no other people were injured or killed whilst the driver was drinking and driving. If someone were injured or killed, the costs would be significantly higher, and the driver should expect to face serious jail time.
Ultimately, driving under the influence is clearly not worth the risk of bodily harm, harming other people, or the fees and costs afterward. If you are facing DUI charges, having the help of a qualified Oakland CA criminal defense lawyer can be crucial. The experienced attorneys at the Hallinan Law Firm are available to assist you. yer can be crucial. The experienced attorneys at the Hallinan Law Firm are available to assist you.