Court Punishment: Fines
A California driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) conviction carries criminal court punishment that can include criminal court fines, jail time, driver's license restrictions, and conditions of probation, alcohol education classes, and installation of an ignition interlock devices. The fines levied in a California drunk driving case can be substantial.
There are two issues that affect court fines in a California driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs case - whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony DUI, and "penalty enhancements". Both a felony designation and penalty enhancements substantially increase the amount of the fine.
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California's penalty enhancement is now 171 percent, meaning that on a $100 fine, the total payment is $271. The enhancement isn't exclusive to DUI cases, but because fines levied in a California drunk driving cases are already relatively high, the total amount the DUI defendant is charged can seem excessive.
Whether a California DUI offense is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony DUI greatly impacts the fine amount. Most first DUI, second DUI, and third-time DUI offense' in California are charged as misdemeanors, unless there is an accident or an injury involved, in a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23153 - Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs Causing Injury. A fourth driving under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug offense in California within 10 years, and those that result in accident or injury, almost always result in felony DUI charges.
In a misdemeanor drunk driving case, the motorist will pay a fine ranging from $390 to $1,000, plus penalty enhancements.
In a California felony DUI case, the amount of the fine will depend on whether the driver is placed on probation. If probation is granted, fines range from $390 to $1,000. If probation is not granted, a judge can impose a fine of $390 to $5,000.
For California drivers convicted of reckless driving who accept probation, a judge has the discretion to impose no fine, but can levy a payment of up to $1,000. If probation is not granted, fines range from $145 to $1,000.
Fines in California drunk driving cases can be financially devastating, so it's critical to have skilled legal representation. A California criminal defense lawyer experienced in DUI defense will aggressively defend drunk driving charges with the goal of keeping fines and other negative consequences to a minimum.
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