DUI without Injury

A person who has been arrested for Driving Under the Influence should ensure he has an experienced DUI attorney representing his interests. Potential criminal penalties for DUI include jail time, fines, and loss of driver's license. A conviction may threaten a person's livelihood, hard-earned reputation, and future plans. DUI defense lawyer Richard M. Oberto has made DUI defense a central part of his law practice and legal expertise. He knows the issues, has the experience, and has achieved outstanding results for a great many clients.

Protecting Clients’ Driving Privilege

In addition to being prepared for courtroom advocacy, a DUI defense attorney must be prepared to help clients protect their driving privilege with the Department of Motor Vehicles. A person has only ten days from the date of an arrest to request a DMV hearing, also called an Administrative Per Se Hearing. Although the issues in a DMV hearing may overlap with some of the issues in criminal court, the ultimate issue is different. The issue in a DMV hearing is whether the evidence is sufficient to justify any administrative restriction on a person's driving privilege. The DMV hearing is subject to rules and procedures that differ from the standards in a criminal courtroom.

DUI without Injury is Generally a Misdemeanor

A DUI without injury is generally charged as a misdemeanor under California law, although there are two important exceptions. The first exception is where a person has a prior felony DUI conviction. The offense date of the underlying prior felony conviction must have been within ten years of the new violation. The second exception is where a person has more than three prior misdemeanor DUI or “wet reckless” convictions or “wet reckless” convictions. A “wet reckless” is defined under Vehicle Code sections 23103/23103.5 as a lesser charge of DUI without injury. The offense dates of the underlying misdemeanor convictions must have all been within ten years of the new violation. A DUI without injury may be charged as a felony when either of the two exceptions apply.

Vehicle Code sections 23152(a) and 23152(b)

California law defines two main types of offenses in cases of DUI without injury. Vehicle Code section 23152(a) makes it a crime to drive under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or the combined effect of the two. The law defines “under the influence” in terms of impairment. A person must have been so impaired due to alcohol, a drug, or the combined effect of the two that he could not drive with the ordinary care and caution of a sober person. Vehicle Code section 23152(b) makes it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater.

Conduct Enhancements in DUI Cases

A person accused of DUI without injury may be subject to conduct enhancements that affect his punishment, driving privilege, applicable DMV classes, and other matters. California law provides enhancements for refusing to submit to testing for blood alcohol content and for excessive blood alcohol content of .15 or greater.

The Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI

The penalties for misdemeanor DUI without injury depend on whether the accused person has prior DUI convictions and on whether any conduct enhancements apply. A first time DUI is punishable by up to six months in jail. (See Vehicle Code section 23536.) A second time DUI is punishable by a minimum of 90 days in jail and a maximum of one year. (See section 23540.) A third time DUI is punishable by a minimum of 120 days in jail and a maximum of one year. (See section 23546.) A convicted person is also subject to heavy fines. Conduct enhancements may affect local Superior Court sentencing standards and may trigger increased Driver’s License restrictions.

The Penalties for Felony DUI

Felony DUI without injury under carries a potential imprisonment term of 16 months or two or three years. (See Vehicle Code section 23550.) A person who has been convicted may be eligible in certain circumstances for probation and a suspended sentence. Even when a person receives a grant of probation, he must serve a minimum of 180 days in jail as a condition of probation. A person convicted of felony DUI is also subject to substantial fines.

Treatment and Alternative Sentencing

Mr. Oberto has a wealth of experience helping clients with prior DUI's defend their cases. In the case of conviction, he also has experience helping clients to arrange treatment programs that enable them to receive the help they need in lieu of jail time.

Mr. Oberto welcomes people to contact him 24/7 at (559) 221-2557 to request an initial consultation. Se habla Espanol.

People also may contact Mr. Oberto to request an initial consultation using the contact form available on this website. Please do not use the contact form to write down sensitive information. Information communicated over the internet, including through this website, may not be considered confidential or privileged.

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