June 9, 2014
Being arrested and convicted for drunk driving in Ventura can affect every aspect of your life. The Ventura County Superior Court is known for imposing the maximum fines and penalties allowed under the law for drunk driving. Even first-time offenders can face jail time and heavy fines. If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Ventura County, it is important you clearly understand the penalties you are facing before making any important decisions that could have long-term consequences.
First-time DUI offenders in Ventura should not expect leniency. Local prosecutors often pursue jail time and lengthy suspensions to deter future incidents. A first-time offender whose blood alcohol concentration is under .15 percent can face 48 hours of jail time or five days of work release as well as 36 months of formal probation. It is also possible to face up to $3,800 in fines and fees, a six-month license suspension, and three months of participation in an alcohol program.
First-time offenders can also face enhanced penalties. If a driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) above .15 percent, he or she will have to attend nine months of an alcohol education program. There is a minimum of 48 hours of jail time for these types of incidents and the court may require the driver to install an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicles. Some drivers are not even allowed to go to places where alcohol is served such as bars or nightclubs.
Repeat offenders face even harsher treatment. A second offense for driving with a BAC under .15 percent will result in a minimum of 96 hours in jail, 60 months of formal probation, fines and fees of $3,800, 18 months in a drinking driver program, a one-year license suspension, and a mandatory ignition interlock. A third offense within 10 years can result in a minimum sentence of 120 days in jail. Drivers can face even longer jail time if they are currently on probation for a prior conviction. Furthermore, a third conviction can result in a license suspension of up to three years.
Every case is different, but there are ways to reduce the penalties for a DUI. Sentencing alternatives to help you avoid jail time include Caltrans roadside work, community service, residence in a sober-living environment, electronic monitoring, or house arrest. In some cases, it is possible to fight the charges. All defenses and alternatives should be considered before accepting a deal or pleading guilty. Please contact an experienced Ventura County DUI defense lawyer for more information about your options.