Wherever you are in the United States, getting caught drunk driving is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. After all, driving under the influence or DUI is a criminal offense in all states as well as the District of Columbia, and that means its consequences cannot be taken lightly. One of those consequences is jail time, which is something no person looks forward to serving.
All DUI offenses, whether it’s a first-time misdemeanor or a third DUI felony charge, are punishable with jail time of varying lengths. A first DUI conviction in California, for example, carries a penalty of up to six months in jail. A third DUI felony conviction, on the other hand, is punishable with mandatory jail time of up to five years.
However, it is still entirely possible to avoid jail in case you are convicted of a DUI. This is one of the many reasons to hire a DUI defense attorney to represent you in court - you stand a much better chance of staying out of a jail cell despite a conviction.
It’s all in the judge’s hands.
Whether or not a DUI convict—particularly a first-time offender—will spend some time in jail or not will largely depend on the judge handing down the sentence.
A good DUI lawyer can plead with the judge to spare the offender from jail and hand down an alternative sentence instead. The judge will hear your attorney’s presentation and will decide on it based on several factors.
The judge will take into account the type of DUI offense and how severe it is. Judges can be more lenient toward people who have committed a first-time DUI offense, which is typically charged as a misdemeanor. However, if that first-time offender hurt or killed someone, the likelihood of avoiding time in jail is significantly reduced. Judges will also weigh several other factors such as criminal history, if any, of the offender. Whether the DUI convict expresses any remorse will also be considered.
DUI sentencing alternatives
If the judge determines, among other things, that you are sorry for committing a DUI offense and that you are not a danger to the community, then you will likely end up serving probation instead of jail time.
Probation is better than jail, but it is no picnic for the offender either. You may no longer be under police custody and will have the freedom to move around, work, and contribute to society, but you will be supervised closely by a probation officer who will be assigned as soon as you receive your sentence.
If you’re serving probation, you will be required to follow specific rules throughout the probation period, like never driving without a valid license or with any amount of alcohol in your system, not committing any crime, or any other conditions the court may impose. On top of all this, you will also have to pay restitution, court costs, and probation supervision fees.
Violating or failing to complete the conditions of your probation will lead to its revocation, you will serve the maximum sentence that your original criminal DUI offense allows.
2. House arrest
The court that convicts you of a DUI offense can also require house arrest as an alternative to jail time. It also comes with certain inconveniences, but it does beat being in jail.
Then again, house arrest is, in a way, just like being in jail, but without the bars. You will have to confine yourself within your property and will be required to wear a monitoring device around your ankle, which will alert authorities if you leave your home. The monitoring device will most likely be a SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring) bracelet, which can detect alcohol in your sweat and measure your alcohol use.
3. Community service
Community service for a DUI offender can come in various forms. If you were convicted under California DUI laws and made to perform community service in lieu of jail, you would likely be made to work for the California Department of Transportation or Caltrans picking up trash on the freeway wearing those orange jumpsuits.
Other forms of community service include doing volunteer work for charities. In some cases, DUI offenders perform community service by speaking about the dangers of drunk driving in front of groups.
4. Alcohol or drug rehab
A DUI offender with an underlying alcohol or drug addiction may also be allowed by the court to spend time in a rehabilitation facility instead of a jail cell.
As mentioned above, you have to convince the court to hand down a sentence that doesn’t involve going behind bars. Only a skilled and experienced defense attorney can help you do that, make sure you hire one if you ever find yourself in DUI trouble.
Criminal laws are like a deep ocean that only legal experts can successfully navigate. There are so many nuances relating to the criminal law that it can cause analysis paralysis and create more confusion for a layman.
Here we try to simplify important legal terms for our readers' knowledge. One important legal principle that we will shed light here is the 'principle of legality'. What does it mean? How does it affect a criminal case? You will find out the answers here in this article.
A Close Look at the Principle of Legality
The principle of legality is one of the most fundamental concepts related to the criminal law in the US. The law offers protection of the legal rights of a person who faces a criminal charge. It is taken from the Latin phrase "llum crimen sine lege, nullapoena sine lege", which simply means no crime without punishment.
The main purpose of the principle of legality is to prevent a person from being wrongly charged with a crime. It ensures that the state or the federal body does not violate the basic human rights. No person no matter what is his or her nationality, race, age, gender, or class can be convicted of a crime without a fair trial.
Another connotation of the principle of legality is that a person cannot be charged with a crime if it does not constitute a criminal offense when the crime was being committed. Also, the person cannot be imposed a heavier penalty if it was imposed after the crime was committed.
The principle of legality implies that the jury cannot issue a verdict against a person if the action was not prohibited when the crime was committed. Also, it disallows a judge to lean in favor of any verdict that has been given without any reasonable or clear justification.
Get Help of a San Bernardino Criminal Defense Attorney
While the principle of legality, in theory, protects a person from being wrongly convicted of a crime, in practice mistakes sometimes happen. A person can be wrongly convicted of a crime if there is no adequate legal representation. That's why it's essential that a person facing a criminal conviction should get the help of an attorney who specializes in criminal cases.
A professional criminal law attorney in San Bernardino will look at all the evidence to ensure the person gets a minimum possible conviction verdict. The legal expert who specializes in criminal law will know when to appeal and when to accept the verdict of the jury. Getting the help of a criminal law attorney will help in getting the minimum possible penalty for an offense.
29-year old Leonardo Daniel Torres, 25-year-old Leeonna Mae Marquez, and 36-year-old Raquel Acob were all arrested on suspicion of possession of a stolen car, reported The Press-Enterprise on an online article. Torres was the driver and led law enforcement on a car chase after he failed to follow directions of a peace officer near Victoria Gardens at the intersection of Church Street and Victoria Gardens Lane in Rancho Cucamonga. Torres sped off after failing to listen to the officer and the chase pursuit began immediately. The chase covered several residential and city streets and reached speeds over 70 mph, but soon ended when the three tried to flee the car and were soon caught by trailing officers. Torres is facing another charge on top of suspicion of possession of a stolen car, he is also facing evading a peace officer and has a set bail of $100,000. As for the other two, Marquez and Acob, they have a set bail of $50,000 and officers are still investigating further theft charges against all three.
All three of the suspects are now looking at criminal charges which could result in time in jail as well as costly fine, fees and even restitution. If charges are brought, and convictions follow, the lives of these individuals will never be the same. Debt, damage, criminal convictions and license suspension or revocation are all things these suspects could have to face. The quick mistake and decision to break the law as well as the potential outcome of charges placed on them could follow them for a lifetime.
DMV Driver Safety Offices
Regardless of criminal charges in County Courts brought by the County District Attorneys’ Office, the California DMV is obligated to keep drivers safe by removing unsafe motorists and they do this by suspending or even revoking unsafe driver’s license in administrative hearings at DMV Driver Safety offices throughout the state. As the California DMV is separate from California criminal court, the DMV has the control and power to go after a driver’s license when a situation like the one in this article occurs. If a driver is caught in this situation it is important for them to do their research in order to find a team who has experience with negligent operator hearings and that can expertly represent them to defend their ability to drive. It is crucial to find a DMV Defense Expert that will dedicate their full time and effort into the case to ensure the client will receive the best possible outcome in their favor.
California Drivers Associates is a team of qualified and experienced DMV Defense Experts that can help defend drivers at negligent operator hearings when their license and driving privileges are at risk of suspension or revocation. Rob Collier is the President and CEO and is a Distinguished Graduate of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Academy and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics School. As a member of an Orange County DUI task force, Mr. Collier has made more than 1,000 arrests for DUI. He has also written or reviewed more than 4,000 DUI arrest reports. Visit Rob and his team at their website or contact them at 1-888-281-5244 as they will be happy to answer any questions you may have at a no cost obligation.
New York is a popular vacation destination for Californians and vice versa. Californians visiting the East Coast, especially outside New York City, may find it necessary to rent a car in order to get the most of their vacation. For the most part, a California driver’s license extends your driving privileges to New York and the other 48 states. However, it means big trouble if you end getting hit with a speeding ticket or other traffic violation while in New York.
If you think you can just ignore a ticket you get while out of state, think again. New York and California (along with 43 other states and D.C.) all share driver information with one another. As such, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be notified if you receive a speeding ticket while on vacation or business in New York. The same is true if you have a New York license and get a ticket while in California.
CA vs. NY Drivers' License Points
California almost always assesses points against you for any tickets received while driving out of state, including tickets convicted of in New York. However, the two states have very different point systems.
California assesses one point against your driving record for the vast majority of traffic violations, regardless of where they occur. Exceeding the speed limit, for example, is a one-point violation, whether you drove five miles-per-hour over the limit or 25. The same is true of minor offenses such failing to use a turn signal, red light violations, texting while driving, etc. Serious violations such as drunk driving, hit and run, reckless driving, or even driving on a suspended license are two-point violations. Points will linger on your driver’s license for 39 months after the date of the violation (three years and three months). A California driver can see his/her license suspended or revoked if he/she accrues either four or more points in 12 months, six or more points in 24 months, or eight or more points in 36 months.
While California will never assess more than one or two points per violation, New York’s point system is much more complicated. Each violation can result in a different number of points. For example, red light violations carry three points, but texting behind the wheel carries five points. A ticket for speeding varies depending on how fast you are going:
In New York, drivers who end up with 11 or more points on their license will have their licenses or driving privileges suspended. For California drivers, that may seem like a lot, but it is an easy amount to reach using NY’s point system. For example, drivers in NY who are caught and convicted of both texting while driving (five points) and driving 22 mph over the limit (six points) will have their license suspended. In California, those violations would only incur one point each.
What do NY’s points mean for California drivers? Drivers from California who accrue 11+ points based on New York’s point system will see their driving privileges within NY suspended. This suspension will be noted by the CADMV which has the right to “honor”the suspension. But even if it doesn’t, CA points that result from a NY ticket can lead to suspension in CA just like any other CA points.
What Fine Will CA Drivers Pay in NY?
Drivers from California who get ticketed in New York will end up paying a fine to New York. The agreement between CA and NY means that the latter sets the fine. California cannot collect a fine for an NY traffic ticket and will not charge drivers for the equivalent violation in the state.
In New York most ticket fines start at $150 but can be more than $600. Each ticket will also come with a mandatory surcharge of $88-$93 per violation, in addition to the fine itself. That means the above example of a texting while driving and speeding 22mph over the limit could cost $636 ($150 fine for texting, $300 fine for speeding, and a $93 surcharge per ticket).
That’s not all! Drivers who receive six or more points in NY will also be subject to what the state calls a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA). A DRA costs drivers, even those out of state, $100 per year for the next three years ($300). Each point over six costs an additional $25 per year for three years ($75 total). Again, using the above example, which would result in 11 points, the total cost would be $1,311--$636 in fines and surcharges, plus a base DRA of $300 and $375 ($25/point x 5 points x 3 years) for each additional point up to 11.
That’s not even getting into the cost of reinstating driving privileges.
How an NY Ticket Impacts CA Auto Insurance
Unfortunately, the fines, surcharges and DRAs are not even the most expensive part of getting a ticket in New York. The worst comes when your auto insurance provider gets wind of the violation. A simple speeding ticket can increase your premiums by as much as 21%! In California, the average premium is around $1,962 each year, which means that same ticket could result in an additional $412 per year for at least three years.
What Should California Drivers Do?
Drivers with a California license who get a ticket while in New York have options. They could pay the ticket, but the risk of high fines and the potential impact on auto insurance premiums make that the least desirable choice. The best bet is to hire a skilled attorney with experience fighting tickets in New York, including for out-of-state drivers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam H. Rosenblum, Esq. is the principal of The Rosenblum Law Firm. The Rosenblum Law Firm’s skilled criminal defense and traffic violations attorneys have a reputation for aggressive representation for anyone facing criminal charges and traffic violations that may result in jail time, heavy fines, points and license suspension or revocation.
Joshua Tree – A beautiful destination, but not without risks.
In a recent article by Jenna Hunt of The Desert Trail, it was noted that the National Park at Joshua Tree California could experience a record number of visitors exceeding 2 and a half million. The National Park has long been a tourist destination for hikers, rock climbers, campers and people just looking to cross another park off their list. The park aside from being a beautiful outdoor destination by itself also draws many visitors from nearby Palm Springs and Palm Desert, just minutes away. Palm Springs and Palm Desert bring in its own bounty of worldwide travelers and the ease of visiting Joshua Tree most likely contributes to the growing number of visitors to the park.
Every guest at Joshua Tree are subject to State DUI laws
While the park staff reminds people to obey speed limits there are other potentially consequential regulations to adhere to. Vacation is typically a time to relax and unwind and the businesses around the park offer great food and with that always the chance to get a quick drink or two, but keeping in mind that traffic and penal code laws apply may save some unwanted headache. Regardless of your residence status: a resident, a guest or even a foreign traveler, California State DUI laws apply to everyone in and around Joshua Tree National Park. Because the park is under the jurisdiction of the federal government visitors have a triple threat when it comes to DUI. There are n=National Park Rangers, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies and even California Highway Patrol. Each of these law enforcement agencies has the ability to conduct traffic stops and even arrests for DUI.
Arrested for DUI in Joshua Tree – A Local DUI Attorney Can Help
If you were arrested in or around Joshua Tree National Park for DUI and don’t know where to turn the Law Offices of Manuel J. Barba can help. We exclusively defend victims of DUI, nothing else. We practice right here in the desert and have been successfully defending against DUI charges for both residents and visitors alike. The DUI timeline starts as soon as you were arrested so reaching out to a professional immediately can provide a better chance at a successful defense. For a free consultation or a summary of your rights and responsibilities contact our Joshua Tree DUI lawyer for a no obligation and completely free consultation.
If this is your first offense of personal use of an illegal substance, there are options to help preserve your criminal record and get the help that you need. California Courts offer a program, called PC 1000, which allows certain offenders the option of “Deferred Entry of Judgment”. In order to be eligible for this program, you must meet each of these requirements:
Once eligibility is determined, you will have to enter a plea of guilty to the charged offense. Basically, you will plead guilty, but the court will postpone your sentencing, giving you time to complete the PC 1000 program. After you plead, your case will be sent to the probation department to help determine which course of treatment and education is most appropriate given your personal situation.
Aspects of the PC 1000 program include: group counseling, individual counseling, random drug testing, education on drug use, and self-help drug programs. Each case plan is different, tailored to the individual.
After a course of action is selected, it is up to you to successfully complete the diversion program. Upon successful completion of the program, you will go back to court to provide proof of completion. At that time, the judge will withdraw your previous guilty plea and dismiss your case.
PC 1000 is an excellent program, helping to preserve your criminal record and therefore your future. It is extremely important to contact an Inland Empire criminal defense attorney, if you believe that you could qualify for this program.
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