California law criminalizes drunk driving as the charge of “driving under the influence.” The legal limit for alcohol blood content in California is 0.08% if someone is over 21 years old. In this situation, you may be rightfully concerned and frightened. This blog will explain if it is possible to get your DUI dismissed, when, and what factors enter into that question. Call a Tehama County DUI lawyer as soon as possible for personalized advice on your situation.
What is a DUI?
We’ve mentioned that California criminalizes drunk driving, but how exactly do the state and state penalties approach drunk driving? Driving under the influence can carry a significant punishment under California law. Factors like your criminal history and how much of an intoxicating substance the authorities found in your system can all increase the penalties.
Typically, the penalty for a DUI increases every time you commit the offense. Penalties for a first offense, though often punished intensely, are still the least severe DUI punishments. A first-offense DUI may be punishable by:
- license suspension for up to six months,
- fines between $400 and $1,000,
- probation involving having chemical tests done,
- attending an alcohol education program,
- possibly the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) that prevents the driver’s vehicle from turning on if a certain blood alcohol content level is detected,
and possibly up to six months in jail.
Can I Get My DUI Charge Dismissed?
At any point between arrest and trial, you may have your DUI charge dropped. This means you are not facing criminal penalties anymore. Remember to talk to your lawyer about any other possible consequences of having been accused of a DUI. Your charges may be dismissed before your trial, or expunged even after you have begun serving your punishment.
Getting a DUI Dismissed Before and During Trial
Your lawyer may offer several arguments as to why your charge should be dismissed. For instance, your lawyer may argue that the police did not give you sufficient warning (as they must watch you for 15 minutes before pulling you over) or that you were simply driving badly but not driving under the influence. In both cases, if true, these would be causes to dismiss your charge. Your lawyer may argue that the officer who arrested you incorrectly administered a field sobriety test, leading to a false result.
Getting a DUI Charge Expunged
When a DUI conviction is dismissed, it is said to be “expunged.” To get your charge expunged, you must have met every punishment of your sentence and must neither be serving another sentence nor facing another criminal charge. In the absence of other charges, you may request expungement after you complete probation. Probation often lasts three to five years, though not always.
For an expungement, you should file a petition with the handle where your DUI case was decided. You’ll submit both a request for expungement and documents that affirm why you are eligible. The judge will then review your petition, weighing factors like your criminal history.
If your request is granted, you are allowed to legally say you were not convicted, which is beneficial when filling out forms such as job applications that ask if you’ve been convicted of a crime.