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According to Business Insider, California gets the most tourists of any state in the US. From its beaches to theme parks, wineries, and famous icons, millions of people flock to the state every year. If you’re visiting the Golden State, be wary of how many drinks you have before getting behind the wheel. Drunk driving arrests are very common in California. Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are hard enough to deal with it, and they become even more complicated if you have an out-of-state driver’s license.
If you’re from out of state and received a DUI, you should immediately contact a California DUI attorney. Attorney Dod of Dod Law will be able to help you understand your legal rights and options for resolving your case. He can also help you fight to keep your license and may be able to represent you in court without you needing to return to California.
Penalties for a California DUI Conviction
California prosecutors pursue DUI charges aggressively and will fight for you to receive the maximum penalties. DUIs in California are priorable offenses, meaning the more you receive, the harsher penalties become. Below is a breakdown of the convictions and charges you may receive.
- First offense DUIs are a misdemeanor. You may face a fine of $390 up to $1,000, jail time from 48 hours up to six months, and a license suspension up to six months. You may also receive a probationary period of up to three years.
- Second offenses are a misdemeanor as well. The fines are the same for a first offense, but jail time may increase to 95 hours up to one year in jail. You may also lose your driving privileges for up to two years. A judge may also sentence you to three years of probation.
- Third offense DUIs are charged as misdemeanors. Fines remain the same as first and second offenses. You may face up to 120 days to a year in jail, a license suspension of up to three years, and three to five years on probation.
Additionally, the prosecution may file the charges as a felony if someone was injured or killed in an accident. Similarly, a prosecutor may charge fourth and subsequent offenses as felonies.
What Happens When an Out-of-State Driver Is Charged with a DUI
When law enforcement charges you with a California DUI, a police officer will give you a temporary license and inform you that you will lose your driving privileges in California in 30 days. However, you can contest this suspension through a DMV hearing.
You may also be able to file for a restricted license under Senate Bill 1046. To obtain a restricted license, you have to be over 21, have consented to a chemical test, and have no prior DUI convictions. Restricted licenses typically only allow you to drive to and from work and DUI school.
Will My State Find Out about the DUI?
You should expect your home state to find out about your DUI. Most states, including California, share information with other states about DUI convictions for out-of-state drivers. Under the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, states can share information about traffic-related arrests, criminal charges, and license suspensions with other states.
The only states not a part of the compact are Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
Can I Face Penalties in My Home State Too?
It’s up to your home state to give any penalties following a DUI charge in another state. In most cases, the California DMV can restrict driving privileges within California only if you have an out-of-state license. Some states will take action if the California DMV suspends your license, while other states may only take action if you are convicted. The penalties at home vary significantly by state and depend on the charge. It may be in your best interest to hire a DUI attorney in your state as well.
Do I Have to Return to California for a Hearing?
If you live out of state, your DUI attorney may be able to represent you without you being present. However, if you don’t have a lawyer, you will be responsible for returning to court. If you don’t, you may face more charges. In many cases, it may be better for you to return for court appearances.
Contact a Skilled California DUI Defense Attorney
If you’re an out-of-state driver and facing a DUI charge in California, you must seek legal representation. Attorney Dod of Dod Law has more than 17 years of experience fighting DUI charges throughout California. He knows how to create a winning defense strategy for your case.
With a 10.0 “Superb” Avvo rating by past clients and his name on The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers list, you can be confident Attorney Dod will fight for you. He’s determined to obtain the best possible outcome for all his clients.
Call (619) 814-5110 or complete an online contact form to schedule your free consultation.