DUI Penalties in Marin County for First DUI Conviction
The goal of any first DUI arrest in Marin County should be to win your case. If at some point you decided to plead guilty, or are convicted at trial, you face a number of penalties. Those penalties include fines, DUI School, probation, increased insurance, and suspension of your license.
Is this a first DUI in Marin County?If you have never been convicted of a DUI or a Wet Reckless (Reckless Driving Involving Alcohol), then you are facing a first DUI. If you have a prior DUI Conviction where the arrest date was more than 10 years before the arrest date on this new case, then this new case should be a first DUI. A DUI or DWI conviction from another State can be charged as a prior DUI if both arrests are within 10 years of each other.
If you had a prior DUI case and avoided conviction on DUI or Wet Reckless in court, then this should be a first DUI. However, if you did not beat the separate hearing with DMV on your first case, then DMV will consider this a second DUI. What that means is DMV can and will try to suspend your license for at least a year. You have 10 days from your date of arrest to request a Hearing with DMV to contest the Administrative Per Se Suspension. Failure to do so will most likely result in Suspension of your license within 30 days of your arrest.
Probation for first DUI convictionProbation for a first DUI or Drunk Driving conviction in Marin County is usually three years, and can up to five years. Probation is almost always unsupervised, which means you do not need to report to a probation officer. If there is restitution involved for injury to a person or property, the probation will usually be supervised until the damage amount is determined and paid.
Probation has a number of conditions. You must obey all laws while on DUI probation. That means stay out of trouble. You can not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system while on DUI probation. If you are detained by a police officer who believes you have been drinking while driving while on probation, you are not allowed to refuse to take a breath test. The penalty for violating probation for a first DUI is a max of six months in jail. You will be entitled to a hearing in front of a judge, but not a jury, to determine if there was a violation.
Fines and Insurance for first DUI convictionThe current penal fine amount in Marin County is $1,768.00 There is also a restitution fine of $140.00, and administrative screening fee of $25.00 and a court security fee of $40.00. Your attorney can ask the court to reduce the penal fine by $100.00 for each calendar day you spent in custody after your arrest. You can apply to work off the fine through community service, but the rate is $10.00 per hour if the court allows you to do so.
If convicted of a DUI in court or if you lose your DMV administrative per se hearing, you will be required to obtain and maintain additional insurance for three years. This insurance is called SR-22 and can be obtained from your insurance company or a separate insurance company. You can often save money by obtaining this insurance before you get convicted. If you let your SR-22 insurance lapse during the three required years, DMV is notified and will automatically suspend your license.
DUI School for first DUI convictionThe typical length of DUI School after a first DUI conviction is three months, which translates to about 32 hours. If you are convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol level at or over .20%, you will most likely be required to do a 9 month School, which is twice as many hours as the three month school. You will have 21 days to enroll in the school and get the court proof of enrollment. You need to contact the school as soon as possible since it can take weeks to get an intake appointment, which is when you enroll. If you do not get the court proof of enrollment within 21 days, you will be in violation of probation and could face jail time.
There is one DUI School in Marin and it is in San Rafael. The nearest other Schools are in Santa Rosa (Coddington Center) and San Francisco. In San Francisco the nearest School has a location in Ft. Mason. You can sign up for that School by enrolling at their Townsend Street headquarters. School is about $700.00 for the 3 month School.
License Suspension for first DUI convictionIf you are convicted of a first DUI and your Blood Alcohol Level is under .20%, you are looking at a six month drivers license suspension. If you win your DMV administrative per se hearing, you can get a work and DUI School restricted license as soon as DMV has proof of your SR-22 insurance and enrollment in DUI School. If you do not win your DMV hearing, you are facing a suspension (no driving) for four months. However, if DMV gets proof of SR-22 and enrollment in DUI School, after 30 days of no driving you can get a restricted license for the next five months. You should consult with an experienced DUI lawyer, before a DMV hearing is requested, regarding this 30 days of no driving to see if there is a way to reduce this time.
A restricted license means Driving only to and from work, while working, and to and from your DUI School. It does not mean driving to College or driving the kids to school. You should consult with an experienced DUI lawyer to discuss limitations.
Jail for first DUI convictionThe maximum sentence for conviction of a first DUI without injury is six months in the county jail. In Marin County, you will almost always get an offer from the District Attorney of no jail. If you decide not to take the offer and go to Jury Trial, the typical penalty is 5 days in jail. That time can usually be served on the Sheriff's work program.
Plea Bargaining for a first DUIIn Marin County the bottom line is the District Attorney's office does not plea bargain when alcohol is involved. This means they do not offer a reduced charge of Wet or Dry Reckless, and they never have. Your attorney's goal is to find a way to get the charges dismissed, or you can go to Jury Trial.
I've heard that recently the Marin DA's office has begun to budge a bit on Marijuana DUI cases. What this means is they are starting to consider reducing charges if the DUI involves Marijuana only, or less than .08% BAC and marijuana. Marijuana impairment is difficult to prove unless the driving is terrible.