Getting a DUI in any part of California, especially Ventura County, can be incredibly costly for any driver, and finding the right Ventura criminal defense attorney is thus imperative. It is important for a Defendant to retain the best attorneys who know the law and know the proper defenses. It is also important for a Defendant to retain a good attorney shortly after an arrest because a Defendant only has 10 days from the date of arrest to schedule a DMV hearing to contest the administrative license suspension. A good DUI attorney can prepare for the DMV hearing to keep your license status safe and defend you at trial to avoid more jail time, excessive fees, alcohol classes and the court suspension of your driver’s license.
Charged with a DUI in Ventura
Being charged with a DUI in Ventura County can be extremely taxing on any person. Not only is the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office noted for stringent plea bargaining, but the punishments in the county may be severe as well. Typically, when someone is charged with a first time DUI in other counties, there are possible lesser charges to which a Defendant can plead guilty or no contest. A “Wet Reckless” (California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5) is one such lesser charge. A Wet Reckless is still a misdemeanor, which will still put 2 points on a Defendant’s driving record and still count as a “prior” for future DUI charges, but a Wet Reckless is usually not accompanied by further jail time. A “Helmandollar” is a lesser charge where the District Attorney stipulates that the Defendant’s BAC(blood alcohol level) was less than .08% during the charged offense. A Helmandollar is useful because it helps lift the license suspension that usually accompanies a DUI arrest. The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office does NOT offer these lesser charges.
A First Offense
A first time DUI in Ventura County usually imposes approximately 2-5 days of jail time, depending on the BAC and circumstances of the charge. The prosecutors in Ventura County also require a first time offender to be under formal probation instead of the more informal and less intrusive court probation. Depending on the BAC, a first time DUI offender will also be required to enroll in a 3 month or 9 month alcohol class as a term of his or her probation. There are also minimum fines that have to be paid in addition to any court assessment fees the court wishes to impose.
A Second Offense
A second time DUI conviction in Ventura County may result in 25 days of jail or more and require an 18 month DUI class. A second-time DUI will also punish a Defendant with the costly installation of an ignition interlock device that must be in any car you drive for the next 1-3 years. A third time DUI requires a MINIMUM of 120 days jail and will come with 5 years probation and the 18 month DUI class, as well as the ignition interlock requirement. If a Defendant picks up four DUIs within a 10 year period or commits a DUI that causes injury to someone else, then the Defendant may be charged with felony DUI, which brings far harsher consequences. Here’s a link to coverage of DUIs in Ventura.