Bay Area DUI Lawyer

San Francisco Bay Area DUI Defense Attorney

The San Francisco Bay Area is a diverse region in Northern California served by many major freeways, highways, expressways, surface streets. The rapid development of the tech sector over the past few decades has benefitted the region economically. Like other areas with significant traffic, drunk driving is a major problem in the Bay Area. Many people have the misconception that Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a minor traffic offense. However, in California, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious criminal matter, and a DUI conviction carries harsh penalties. An experienced Bay Area criminal defense attorney, Leon J. Mezzetti, Jr. can help you build a strong defense, and fight to reduce the charges or get them dropped on your behalf.

What is a DUI?

A DUI conviction means that you drove under the influence. The legal limit for alcohol in the blood is a .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for ordinary adult drivers. If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and your blood test comes back at the legal limit or over it, you will be charged with "per se" drunk driving. The limits are lower for commercial driver's license holders and drivers under the age of 21. There are increased potential penalties for driving at .15% BAC or higher. Under certain circumstances, prosecutors may charge drivers who do not meet the legal limit with reckless driving.

Penalties for a DUI in the Bay Area

A DUI conviction carries heavy penalties even for first-time offenders. A first-time offender convicted of a misdemeanor DUI can be fined anywhere from $390-$1,000, and may be jailed from 4 days up to 6 months. When the offense is a second or third offense, potential jail time increases to a range of 90 days to 1 year. For a third offense, the offender may be sentenced to 120 days to 1 year in jail, fined $390-$1000, and required to attend a long-term treatment program. A driver's license may be revoked for up to 3 years to 10 years if the driver has three or more convictions in the past 10 years. A license revocation can make it extremely difficult to get to school or work in Bay Area.

A Bay Area DUI conviction can also result in a convicted driver's participation in the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) pilot program. The pilot program mandates that individuals convicted of a DUI in certain Bay Area counties install an IID device on their car, and requires drivers to pass an alcohol breath test every time they attempt to start their car.

If the DUI is charged as a felony, the consequences are more severe. Most DUIs are misdemeanors, but a driver whose drunk driving leads to an accident with another car or injures someone may be charged with a felony DUI. Likewise, a driver who receives a fourth DUI conviction in 10 consecutive years is automatically charged with felony DUI.

A driver convicted of felony DUI may face 16 months to 10 years in state prison, between $1,015 and $5,000 in fines, and mandatory treatment in a alcohol or drug program. They may also carry a habitual traffic offender status for 3 years and have to pay restitution to anybody that was injured.

Contact a Bay Area Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

A DUI may not initially seem like something to worry about, but in fact, penalties for DUIs increase with each conviction and a judge will look at your entire criminal record. Accordingly, it makes sense to mount an aggressive defense from the very first time you are arrested. If you are arrested for a DUI, you should contact an attorney immediately. For a knowledgeable defense from an experienced Bay Area DUI lawyer, contact us now, toll-free at 877-791-1836 or contact us.