Those accused of a driving under the influence (DUI) offense in California face certain criminal penalties, including jail time and fines. All too often, defendants make poor decisions when responding to those pending criminal charges.
They may enter a guilty plea in the hopes of avoiding jail by prompting a judge to be lenient during sentencing. A guilty plea to a DUI is almost never the best outcome, as it means someone is left at the mercy of the courts and will have a lasting criminal record.
There will be secondary penalties other than jail time that might give you pause if you have thought about pleading guilty after a recent DUI arrest.
You will probably lose your license
It is standard practice for the California Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the license of any driver who failed the chemical breath test or refuses one. For those over the age of 21, a failed breath test will result in a four-month suspension for a first offense. Any later offenses will lead to a full year’s suspension. If you refuse to take the test, the state will suspend your license for one year the first time or two, possibly three years for other offenses after that first refusal.
Insurance will cost more when you regain your license
Just getting your license back won’t mean that your life goes back to normal. Your insurance expenses will likely increase significantly. The more prior offenses you have had, the bigger the potential increase in your annual car insurance premiums.
In some cases, your current insurance provider may force you to move to a different kind of coverage in a different pool. Sometimes, they will drop you entirely, forcing you to shop for a new policy.
A conviction could cost you your job
Many employers have firm policies against criminal convictions and will work those rules into their employment contracts. A conviction may give your employer the legal right to sever your relationship.
Even if they keep you with the company, you may find that you’re upward momentum stalls out after your conviction. If you cannot pass a background check, you may no longer be eligible for the best promotions at the company. You may also have a harder time getting a new job somewhere else.
Recognizing that some of the worst penalties for DUI charges have nothing to do with jail time might lead to a better response after a traffic stop and arrest.