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San Francisco DUI Charges and Penalties

Bay Area DUI Charges and Penalties Attorney

Legal Consequences for Drunk Driving in the Bay Area

If you were arrested and charged with DUI in San Francisco, you likely spent some time at the county jail before you posted bond or were released on your own recognizance (i.e., your promise to appear in court). Unfortunately, a conviction could mean more time in jail, fines and penalty assessments, loss of your driving privileges, and other consequences.

If you are facing a DUI charge, you need experienced legal counsel to look for possible defenses and help minimize the negative consequences.

San Francisco DUI penalties

When you are placed under arrest for drunk driving in San Francisco, you are usually charged with two criminal offenses:

  • Driving under the influence (of alcohol and/or drugs); and
  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.

The penalties for a conviction on one or both charges depend on the totality of the circumstances. For example, multiple DUI offenses within 10 years will carry stiffer penalties than a first offense. In addition, if there are aggravated circumstances, such as refusal to take the mandatory chemical test, driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher, child endangerment, or an accident involving injury or death, the penalties are enhanced.

Here are the general guidelines for California DUI convictions, including those in San Francisco Superior Court, without enhanced penalties:

First DUI Offense

  • Up to 6 months in San Francisco County jail;
  • Up to a $1,000 fine plus penalty assessments;
  • Suspension of your driver's license for up to 10 months;
  • DUI school attendance for three to nine months; and
  • 3 to 5 years of probation (no drinking and driving and obey all laws).

Depending on the circumstances, you may also be ordered to perform community service work, attend AA or NA meetings, install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on all vehicles you own or operate, pay restitution and emergency response costs, and be subject to search and seizure of your person, home, office, and vehicle.

Second DUI Offense

  • 96 hours to one year in San Francisco County jail
  • Up to a $1,000 fine plus penalty assessments;
  • Suspension of your driver's license for up to two years;
  • DUI school attendance for 18 months; and
  • 3 to 5 years of probation (normally five years and supervised).

Depending on the circumstances, you may also be ordered to perform community service work, attend AA or NA meetings, install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on all vehicles you own or operate, pay restitution and emergency response costs, and be subject to search and seizure of your person, home, office, and vehicle.

Third Offense

  • Four months to one year in San Francisco County jail;
  • Up to a $1,000 fine plus penalty assessments;
  • Revocation of your driver's license for three years;
  • DUI school attendance for 18 months;
  • Designation as habitual traffic offender; and
  • 3 to 5 years of probation (normally five years and supervised).

Depending on the circumstances, you may also be ordered to perform community service work, attend AA or NA meetings, install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on all vehicles you own or operate, pay restitution and emergency response costs, and be subject to search and seizure of your person, home, office, and vehicle.

Fourth Offense

  • May be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor;
  • Minimum 180 days in the county jail and up to three years in state prison;
  • Up to $10,000 in fines and penalty assessments;
  • Revocation of your driver's license for up to four years;
  • DUI school attendance for 18 months; and
  • 3 to 5 years of probation (normally five years and supervised if probation granted).

Depending on the circumstances, you may also be ordered to perform community service work, attend AA or NA meetings, install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on all vehicles you own or operate, pay restitution and emergency response costs, and be subject to search and seizure of your person, home, office, and vehicle.

The Administrative DMV Proceeding

Aside from the criminal proceeding, a DUI arrest is typically accompanied by the service of a license suspension order by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). At the time of the arrest, the police normally confiscate your driver's license and give you a written notification that you will lose your California driving privileges after 30 days. You have only 10 days to request a DMV administrative hearing to challenge your license suspension. If you fail to act within the 10-day window, there are no other opportunities to prevent the automatic suspension from taking effect. If you hold an out-of-state driver's license, officers are not supposed to take it, but they will still serve you with a suspension order.

Speak with a Strong Bay Area DUI Charges and Penalties Lawyer

If you were arrested for DUI in San Francisco, you should retain a qualified DUI defense attorney who knows the inner workings of the local courts and the most effective strategies to mitigate the situation as much as possible. Since 1985, Attorney Paul Burglin has successfully defended over 5,000 clients facing DUI charges in the San Francisco Bay Area. Attorney Burglin is one of only five lawyers in the state who is Board-Certified by the National College of DUI Defense (as approved by the American Bar Association). His extensive experience and proven track record are major reasons he is frequently sought out by judges, prosecutors, and DMV hearing officers when someone close to them is in legal trouble for DUI.

If have been charged with drunk driving in San Francisco, contact our office today at 415-735-3995 for a discreet and confidential consultation with attorney Paul Burglin. We serve clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding northern California communities.

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