1. I’ve been arrested, what do I need to do ASAP?
ANSWER: You or your attorney must contact the DMV within 10 days of your DUI arrest to preserve your driver license rights. The consequences of a DUI arrest in criminal court and with DMV are different. It is possible that your driver’s license was seized when you were arrested and you were provided with a pink DMV form that serves as your 30 day temporary license. If you contact the DMV within the 10 days, your license will be preserved until the police reports are reviewed and your DMV hearing is conducted. Don’t lose out on this right to drive by failing to act!
2. Am I still able to drive after I’ve been arrested for a DUI?
ANSWER: Yes, as long as you have a valid driver’s license. If you do not contact the DMV within 10 days of your DUI arrest, you are only able to legally drive for 30 days from the date of your arrest. If you contact the DMV to schedule a DMV hearing, you are legally able to drive until your DMV hearing has been conducted, which could be several months after your arrest.
3. How much does a DUI conviction typically cost me?
ANSWER: A typical first time DUI offense will cost around $10,000 if you are convicted. That is why it is so important for you to make sure your interests are protected by an experienced DUI defense attorney who will vigorously fight to ensure that the negative repercussions are minimal.
Costs and penalties are often more severe if you are a repeat offender or your blood-alcohol content is above 0.15%. Some typical costs are:
i. Bail. You will have to pay bail to get released after your arrest. Estimated Cost: $100-$500.
ii. Towing. When you are arrested your car will be towed. If you can’t afford to retrieve your car after 30 days, the county will auction it off and then file a civil judgment against you for the impound bill less the sale of the car. Estimate Cost: $100-$500.
iii. Insurance. One of the most expensive costs of a DUI conviction is the increase in insurance premiums. If you are convicted of a DUI it could affect your insurance rates for the next three to five years. It is likely that your insurance premiums will double, triple, or even quadruple as you will be labeled with a higher-risk policiy. Some insurance companies could terminate your policy upon arrest, regardless of conviction. If your policy isn’t renewed, you will be forced to find insurance elsewhere.
Most insurance companies look at records for at least three years and up to five. An experienced DUI Attorney could help you avoid these costs. To begin rebuilding your reputation in the eyes of insurance companies you must avoid all speeding tickets and other traffic citations. Typically it takes up to five years, incident-free, to get back to the premiums that you once enjoyed. The negative affects of a DUI conviction could potentially last for eight years. Estimated Cost: $4,500 or more.
iv. Legal fees. With so much at stake, many people accused of DUI fight the charge by hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney. Depending on the experience of the attorney and what stage of the proceedings you are seeking to obtain your best result (for instance, negotiated plea, motion to suppress evidence and dismissal of charges, or jury trial), attorney’s fees can significantly vary. Be wary of attorneys who quote you a significantly lower cost of representation that includes all stages of representation, they may just be a “mill” that is looking to “dump truck” you. Estimated Cost: $1,500-$6,000.
v. Court fines and fees. Court fines and fees will be imposed for a DUI conviction. Estimated Cost: $2,100.
vi. DUI Alcohol Awareness Program. In order to get your driver’s license back from DMV and as a condition of probation, you may need to take a 4 month long first offenders program. If your blood alcohol concentration was over a 0.15% or 0.20%, you may be required to take a 6 or 9 month class. If you have already been convicted of a DUI, you may be required to take an 18 month long class to obtain your license. Depending on the length of your class and where you take it, costs will vary. Estimated Cost $350-$800.
vii.Ignition Interlock Device. In certain counties, such as Sacramento, you are required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a minimum of five months depending on if you have prior DUI convictions. You will need to pay for installation, service fees, and monthly calibration. Depending on the length of time you are required to have this device, your costs will vary significantly. Estimated Cost $400-$1,500.
4. Do I have to pay anything for a consultation?
ANSWER: No, any consultation with our office is free. You can reach one of our experienced DUI attorneys 24/7 at (916) 498-1320. The benefits of a free consultation are:
i. Guidance on the correct course of action
ii. Education of the law and your rights
iii. We are available 24/7 and can meet with you the same day you call
5. Are there alternatives to going to jail?
ANSWER: Yes. The benefit of hiring an experience DUI attorney is that often times we can keep you out of jail. Our first course of action to protect you will be to ask the court to give you work project, community service, house arrest, or fines.
6. Should I notify my employer of my DUI arrest?
ANSWER: Many people mistakenly tell an employer about their drunk-driving arrest, needlessly exposing themselves to embarrassment and possible termination. Employers may cover your responsibility to notify them of a DUI conviction in an employee handbook or contract, but no official agency will tell your employer you’ve simply been arrested for DUI.
If you are unclear on your company’s policy regarding your driving or criminal record, it is imperative you seek legal advice prior to notifying your employer of any pending actions against you. Simply put, you may not be obligated to inform your employer at all unless you are convicted.
Employers may periodically check your driving record as a condition of your continued employment. If you have a Class A license in the State of California and are employed as a driver, you will face much harsher penalties as a result of your DUI. Please refer to your licensing requirements in the DMV’s Commercial Driver License Handbook or call one of our experienced DUI attorneys.
In many cases, since there may be a contractual time frame in which to notify your employer, it is in your best interest to review your employer’s guidelines and consult a lawyer before you reveal your DUI arrest to anyone- especially your employer. If you are terminated as a result of your arrest or conviction, you should seek the advice of a labor law or employment attorney to guarantee that this termination was legal and that your rights were protected.