DUI Questions & Answers

Have you been arrested for drunk driving in Orange County? The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs may be able to assist you with legal representation. Whether this is your first DUI charge or you've faced the process before, the questions and answers listed below could provide you with helpful information. To get answers to specific questions you have regarding your case, please contact a DUI defense lawyer at the firm directly. We offer free initial consultations.

When will I need to attend a hearing for my DUI?

In California, there are two separate types of hearings: the criminal hearing and the administrative hearing. The administrative hearing is not the criminal hearing, but will be held at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The administrative hearing must be explicitly requested by the arrestee within ten days of the arrest. Typically, a first criminal appearance before a judge will take place within 24 hours of the arrest. This is the arraignment hearing where your charges will be formally read to you.

This is my first DUI. What penalties will I face?

According to § 23152 of the California Codes as well as § 23536 of the Vehicle Code, a first DUI conviction for drug or alcohol impairment is punishable by the following:

  • Imprisonment from 96 hours to 6 months
  • Minimum fine of $390 and maximum $1,000.

These are the penalties for a regular (non-aggravated) driving under the influence charge. If this is your first DUI, but there were aggravating factors such as injuries or a BAC of more than .15%, then the penalties may be more severe.

What is the "look-back period" for California DUIs?

In the state of California, if you are arrested and charged with your second DUI within ten years of your first DUI, then you will face enhanced penalties. If more than ten years have passed since your first DUI conviction, and you are arrested for another one, then it will be treated as a normal DUI.

What happens if I'm granted probation as part of my sentencing?

If you are granted probation, then you will likely still have to pay fines, according to § 23538 of the California Vehicle Code. The person may also not operate a motor vehicle, but the court may grant the privilege of a restricted driver's license under some circumstances. As part of probation, the court may require the person to attend a licensed alcohol or drug program "that consists of at least 30 hours of program activities." Driving privileges will not be restored until the person successfully completes their probation.

What happens if I refuse a breath or blood test?

After you have lawfully been arrested by law enforcement, per implied consent laws, it is illegal to refuse a breath or blood test. These chemical tests are typically administered after the arrestee has been taken to a nearby station. It is important to note that breath tests are not the same as preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) devices, which are field sobriety tests administered at the scene of the arrest. Should you refuse a chemical test after a lawful arrest, your license will be automatically suspended.

Part of my sentencing was the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). If I can't pay for it, what do I do?

If the court orders the installation of an IID, then the convicted individual will be responsible for the installation, monitoring and calibration fees. If they cannot afford this, then the court may be able to come up with an alternative financing plan. An alternative financing plan is more likely than the court deciding against the IID requirement.

Can my DUI be considered a felony offense?

Many DUIs are misdemeanors, but there are some that can be charged as felonies. For example, some habitual offenders will be charged for felony DUIs. Other charges like vehicular manslaughter, DUI with injury, and DUI with child passenger can also be considered felony DUI charges.

I requested a DMV hearing. Do I need an attorney for this?

While it is not necessary to bring an attorney to the administrative hearing, it can be extremely helpful. At this hearing, you are contesting your driver's license suspension. To do this, you will have to disprove the evidence that is against you, such as breath test and field sobriety test evidence. Our DUI attorney at The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs has the experience necessary to guide you through DMV hearings.

Call us today for experienced representation in Orange County!