Are you facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges for the first time in Orange County, California? If so, you probably have lots of questions. To help you better understand what you’re up against, we created a list of frequently asked questions. Read on and if you need more information about a California DUI, don’t hesitate to contact our firm directly to set up a free case evaluation!
1. Is DUI a felony or misdemeanor? In most cases, a California DUI is a misdemeanor offense, even in the case of property damage. However, a DUI can be prosecuted as a felony if you caused serious bodily injuries or death to someone else, or if it’s your fourth DUI in the past 10 years.
2. Can I be deported for DUI? Generally, DUI is not a deportable offense, but that is not guaranteed. If you are a Green Card holder and you have a history of criminal convictions, or if you’re facing charges for a drug-related DUI, or if you’re facing felony DUI charges, or if you were previously convicted of a marijuana possession charge (but removal proceedings were not triggered), an immigration judge can decide to initiate removal proceedings. It’s handled on a case-by-case basis.
3. How long is a DUI on my record? As of January 1, 2007, all DUI convictions are to be reported on DUI defendants’ driving records for 10 years. This means that if you’re convicted of DUI in California, insurance companies will see the DUI for 10 years and you will not be eligible for the “Good Driver Discount” until the DUI is no longer reported by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
4. Will I have to go to DUI School? If you are convicted of DUI, you will have to successfully complete a Driving Under the Influence Program. These classes are mandatory. In California, there are four such programs: 1) the Wet Reckless Program, 2) the First Offender Program, 3) the 18-Month Program, and 4) the 30-Month Offender Program.
5. What are the penalties for not taking the field sobriety tests? A lot of people don’t know it but the field sobriety tests are not mandatory and there is NO penalty for refusing. If an officer asks you to step outside of your vehicle and perform these tests, our advice is to politely refuse. Why? Because, the evidence obtained from these tests can be recorded on the officer’s body cam or dash cam, and it will be used against you to make an arrest and to convict you in court.