What Are The Penalties For A DUI Conviction In San Francisco?
The typical penalty for a first-offense DUI with no priors within the 10 preceding years is three years of unsupervised probation, during which time you cannot be charged with any other offenses. There is also a fine of about $1,700 to $1,800. Payment plans are usually available, so you wouldn’t necessarily have to pay the fine all at once. A three-month DUI school program is also generally required. If you plead to a refusal or had a blood alcohol level over 0.20, then you would likely have to participate in a nine-month DUI school program. Other ramifications might include a work program in lieu of time in the county jail. However, the higher the alcohol level, the more likely it is that the DA will want you to spend some amount of time in jail. Recently, San Francisco has started requiring attendance at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel, which is a two-hour class (due to COVID-19, these classes are being held online).
In San Francisco, Alameda County, and Oakland, a higher alcohol level can result in a wet reckless instead of a DUI. This typically carries an 18-month unsupervised probation instead of the three-year or thirty-six-month probation. In addition, the fine is much smaller for a wet reckless than it is for a DUI. If your attorney is able to win your DMV hearing, then you might be able to just do the 12-hour wet reckless DUI school. However, in most cases, it’s very difficult to win the DMV hearing. If we are unable to win it, then you would need to enroll in a 30-hour DUI school program in order to get an interlock device and avoid a four-month driver’s license suspension. Typically, there’s no jail work program for a wet reckless.
In San Francisco, you may be allowed to do community service through a legitimate non-profit organization instead of jail time or the sheriff’s work program. Proof of the number of hours completed on a letterhead containing the tax ID for the organization would be required. The hours could be fulfilled over the course of a few months, when it works with your schedule. This is a nice way to avoid jail and the sheriff’s work program in San Francisco, while at the same time giving back to your community. San Francisco is very good at accommodating this, and it’s made a lot of people’s lives easier.
A second DUI within 10 years of the first will result in a second-offense DUI, even if the prior DUI occurred just one day shy of 10 years prior. I had one case in which the prior DUI was five hours shy of the 10-year mark, and the DUI was still charged as a second offense. The penalties for a second offense are much more serious; the fines increase, the length of DUI school is greater, probation is often supervised, the amount of time in jail or the sheriff’s work program is greater, SR-22 insurance will be required, reissue fees will be charged, and you will have to get an ignition interlock device in order to avoid a restricted license. So many things can go wrong in your life and future when dealing with a second DUI (not to mention a third or fourth DUI).
With regard to the length of restrictions and suspensions on a first-offense DUI, the laws have changed. In the past, a first DUI would result in one month of no driving, followed by five months of restricted driving. Now, it is one month of no driving, followed by 12 months of restricted driving. If you get convicted of a first-time DUI, you still have to enroll in DUI school, get SR-22 insurance, and pay reissue fees.
Some counties only allow the ignition interlock device option, which requires you to blow into the device to start your car (and periodically while you are driving) for six months. During that time, you’d be allowed to drive anywhere. This is a shorter penalty than a restricted license, and also allows you to live your life rather than be restricted in terms of where you can and cannot drive. If you were to get pulled over on a restricted license when you shouldn’t be driving, you could lose your license for a long time, face a new charge, and pay heavy fines. In certain situations, a restricted license definitely makes sense, but it’s important to be aware of all the options.
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