Articles Posted in Sentencing

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, you will be facing court and a possible conviction. If convicted, there is a range of consequences that could be a part of your sentence depending on the facts of your case and your criminal history.

If you have prior convictions, especially a prior DUI conviction, it could affect your sentence. Additionally, if there is injury or significant damage to property, you may be facing a significantly higher range of consequences. Possible consequences include:

  • Probation from three to five years

A person may be charged for a DUI under two different code sections: California Vehicle Code §23152, and California Vehicle Code §23153.

If a person is charged under California Vehicle Code §23152, it is likely a misdemeanor. If a person has been charged under California Vehicle Code §23153, it is likely a felony. Each code sections gives its own range of possible consequences. The final sentence a person may face will depend on the code section under which they have been charged, their criminal history and the facts of the case.

If a person has been charged under California Vehicle Code §23152, the person may face the following:

Getting arrested for a DUI is a traumatic and difficult time. Many people are very eager to get the case completed and will take a plea bargain or offer to get the case completed as soon as possible. This leads to quick, uninformed decisions. Many times it is advisable to wait and seek the counsel of a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer before entering any type of plea in your DUI case. Entering a plea right away may quickly conclude the case, but the consequences you suffer may linger for quite some time.


If you have been convicted for a DUI, it will likely be nothing less than a misdemeanor. This means it will be on your record as a felony or misdemeanor. When you apply to educational institutions, or to take certification or board exams, you will have to list your conviction and explain the situation on your application. It is the same process for when you apply to jobs. The employer will ask you if you have been convicted of any criminal offenses and you will have to state your conviction.


Generally with a first time DUI offense, you are looking at three years of summary probation. You will be on probation for three years. Any criminal offense during the time period you are on probation will be an additional offense, that of probation violation.

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A person who has been stopped on the suspicion of driving under the influence will be charged under California Vehicle Code §23152. If a person has been convicted of a DUI within ten years, the previous DUI will be considered when issuing a sentence for the new DUI. Let’s look at an example to explain this process.

David was charged and eventually pled guilty to Driving Under the Influence in 2012. He then was later stopped for a DUI in 2014. In 2014, the Prosecutor offered him a plea bargain if he were to plead guilty, and David agreed. The court would consider this to be a second offense DUI, since the conviction was ten years within the previous one.

In contrast, Donny was found guilty of a DUI in 2000. He was then later charged with a DUI in 2014. Because Donny’s previous DUI was over ten years before, the current conviction in 2014 will not be considered a second offense. Instead, Donny will be charged as it is a first time offense. This, however, does not preclude a Court from considering the prior DUI.

California Vehicle Code §23152 makes it unlawful for a person to be driving a vehicle while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are arrested and charged with the suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you will be given the opportunity to be heard in a criminal court. If it is found that you plead guilty, or are found guilty, you will be convicted. With that conviction there will be a sentence. The terms of that sentence will depend on the certain different factors.

The statue only states a range for sentencing when it comes to different offenses. The reason it does not specify one sentence is because each case is different, and there will be many different things a Judge will take into account when specifying a sentence. Among the those factors is whether there is a prior criminal history, the nature of the crime, as well as the facts surrounding the offence.

The California Vehicle Code specifies that if a person is found guilty of a DUI, then they are facing the following:

If you have been charged with a Los Angeles DUI, the California Vehicle Code §23152 will outline the potential sentence that the Judge may issue. The sentence is not set and standard, it is merely a range that can be issued based on the specific facts of the case, and the criminal background of each individual. The final sentence will be up to the discretion of the Court.

This is why it is important to have a Los Angeles DUI Attorney represent you in your DUI case. Because there is room for discretion, a powerful argument and weaknesses in the case have the potentially of ensuring that the sentence is at the lower end of the spectrum.

If you have been convicted of a DUI under California Vehicle Code §23152, there are several consequences you may face. The potential consequences are listed under California Vehicle Code §23536.

When you have been arrested for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence, you have only been charged. In order to convicted, and therefore sentenced, it first has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you meet all the elements required to be found guilty of a DUI.

If you have been convicted, and not merely charged, one of the components of your DUI sentence will be an alcohol program. Statutorily, the Court may sentence you to up to six months of an alcohol education program. However, the length of the program may be reduced under the proper negotiations.

The length of your program will greatly depends on the facts of your case and your prior criminal history. Let’s consider the example of Danny. Danny has had no previous criminal arrests, nor has he been convicted. His blood alcohol level at the time of arrest was about .09 and he was stopped for a broken headlight. Because Danny does not have any extreme enhancements that would cause the Judge to raise an eyebrow, including no prior criminal history, the Judge may sentence Danny to complete only 3 months of an alcohol education program.

When a person is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, it is very important that they promptly call the DMV and schedule a DMV hearing within 10 days of the arrest.

The DMV hearing is separate from the criminal proceedings in criminal court. The criminal case is heard before a criminal Judge and bears the potential sentence outlined in the California Penal Code. The DMV hearing is heard before a hearing officer and makes the determination of if, when and how long a driver’s license will be suspended.

The DMV hearing is more informal than Court, and does not carry with it the formal rules of evidence. However, you may be represented by a San Diego DUI Lawyer at both proceedings, and it is highly advisable that you are.

Many of our clients make the mistake of thinking that because they meet the elements of a DUI that they will be found guilty and do not need to expend the money on a Los Angeles DUI Specialist. The first mistake people make is thinking that because they were drinking and have a higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) they will surely be found guilty.

The second is that they plead guilty at their first Court appearance, known as the Arraignment. They are then sentenced and proceed to serve their sentence which will usually involve a fine, license suspension and jail time if it is a second or severe offense.

We advise all of our clients and potential clients that this is a bad idea without consulting with an attorney. Regardless of whether you have a high BAC, or even one over .08, you do not know the requisite elements of a DUI case.

Plea bargaining is simply a negotiation between your attorney and the prosecutor to dismiss or reduce the charges that may be pending against you. These type of negotiations can also be very effective at obtaining dismissals, reductions in penalties like eliminating jail time, in exchange for community service. For example, in a recent DUI case although the prosecutor was demanding jail time, we were able to persuade the Judge to allow our client to be placed on electronic monitoring in lieu of serving time in a jail cell.

In addition, when there are aggravating circumstances presence, the terms that the prosecutor, Judge or legislature dictates, can still be modified by the negotiation and skill of an experienced DUI lawyer to trade-off harsh consequences.

Many new clients, and those potential clients seeking advice on how our firm can assist them view DUI penalties as if they were a specific, set in stone formula, with no room for alteration or modification. People not familiar with this area of the law are very surprised to find out that every legal offense from a DUI case to a manslaughter offense are quoted in ranges, rather than specific finite penalties.