One of the leading causes of road crashes is drunk driving. While consuming alcoholic drinks is not illegal, driving after drinking or while drinking is a crime. Moderate drinking below the legal limit, however, is allowed. Unfortunately, striking the balance is not easy for most people. For instance, you might take less alcohol than the recommended maximum but still record a blood alcohol content higher than 0.08. That said, driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug that can alter your mental state is illegal. If arrested under suspicion of DUI, it is important you hire the best Sacramento DUI lawyer to help secure your freedom and prevent the Sacramento DMV office from suspending your driver’s license.
Why Hire a Sacramento DUI Attorney?
Driving while intoxicated is a crime. While most people would consider it a minor offense, the consequences can be severe, especially if you are a repeat offender. For instance, the DUI charge will be entered into your driving history. Whenever prospective employers run a background check, they will learn about your DUI. Since insurers normally pay a lot of attention to their policyholders’ driving histories, they will check your driving history to see if you have any convictions that make you a risky or safe investment. If you have a DUI charge on your record, therefore, your insurer may choose not to renew your auto insurance policy. While you can always go to another auto insurance company, the premiums you will be required to pay may be quite exorbitant. This increase in premiums is simply the insurer taking measures to minimize their risk. In fact, the auto policy you get may come with exclusion clauses that are unfavorable to you. This is one of the most serious consequences of getting a DUI conviction, and the main reason why you should hire an experienced lawyer to defend you during the case.
Sacramento County DUI Punishments
Traffic laws vary from one jurisdiction to another, so it is important you hire a lawyer who is licensed to operate in the state of California and has extensive knowledge of Sacramento County DUI laws. This will improve your chances of successfully repulsing the accusations leveled against you. The following are some DUI sentences you can expect if you plead guilty to the charge, or when you’re found guilty:
1st Offense Penalties
You can expect to get off easy if you are a first offender, so the punishment you get is akin to a slap on the wrist, compared to the punishments you will get if you continue drinking and driving. The standard sentences for 1st offenders include:
a. Spend the night in jail
b. 2 days sheriff’s work project (or spend 48 hours in jail)
c. 3 years of informal probation
d. Complete 3 to 9 months DUI school, depending on your blood alcohol level as well as the negotiation skills of your lawyer
e. Pay a fine of around $2,500, which includes a standard fine of $480 and penalty assessments
While the probation may be informal, the driving record of the offender will be under close scrutiny throughout the period, so any other DUI or traffic offense during this period will attract a more serious punishment.
2nd Offense Penalties
A second offense means the driver is beginning to show a pattern of driving under influence of alcohol, so the penalties are more severe. They include:
a. 10 to 60 days in jail, but you can complete the sentence through the Sheriff’s work week program. However, 4 days must be served in county jail. There is also the option of ankle monitoring
b. 4 years informal probation
c. Pay a fine of around $2,500
d. Attend 18 months of DUI classes
Once convicted of DUI, whether it’s your first, second or third offense, you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) to prevent you from drinking and driving.
3rd Offense Penalties
A 3rd DUI conviction means you are a danger to public safety since you cannot stop drinking and driving. The following are some of the standard sentences you can expect:
a. 5 years of informal probation
b. Suspension of your driver’s license for up to 10 years. The sitting judge has the authority to do this, and communication will be sent to the DMV to suspend your license for the period specified by the judge
c. Pay a fine of around $2,500
d. Attend either 18 months or 30 months of DUI school
e. Spend 120 days in jail, of which 6 days must be in custody while the other 114 days can be served through ankle monitoring
Hiring a Sacramento DUI Lawyer
As you can see, the consequences of driving while intoxicated are quite severe, so you should do everything in your power to ensure you’re not convicted. In that regard, the first thing you should do after being arrested is to hire a Sacramento DUI lawyer. Since there are many DUI lawyers in the county, it is important you take your time to identify the best one. Start by searching the web for Sacramento DUI lawyers and make a shortlist of high-ranking lawyers. Next, confirm that the shortlisted lawyers are licensed to practice law in the state. The next step is to carry out some research on the reputation of those lawyers. Ideally, you should give preference to lawyers who are highly regarded in the legal circles since their reputation can work in your favor. Imagine negotiating with a prosecutor who respects and admires your lawyer; you can get the desired results. Lastly, make sure the lawyer is always available and offers a no-fee guarantee.