If you drive while under the influence of alcohol, you could face a DUI charge. If this is not your first offense or you harm others with your actions, you could end up facing a felony DUI charge.

You may not be aware of this, but California has some of the strictest DUI laws in the United States. A first offense alone will cost you up to $2,000 in fines and leave you in jail for at least 48 hours. Third or greater offenses within 10 years lead to up to 16 months in prison, over $18,000 in fines and an order to head to a local alcohol treatment program.

The penalties can be harsh regardless of the circumstances, but if you harm someone as a result of your drinking, you could face a felony. On top of the fines and criminal case, the family of those injured can also seek personal injury or wrongful death claims against you, which could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

How long do you lose your license with a DUI in California?

A first-offense conviction results in the loss of your license for six months. You can lose it for two years for a second offense and up to 10 years for a third offense. It’s possible to have your vehicle confiscated as well, which means that you’ll be unable to drive or have someone else drive you using it unless you’re able to pay to get it back.

All third offenses result in the mandatory use of an ignition interlock device, which will not allow you to turn on your vehicle if you have alcohol in your blood stream.

If you face a DUI charge, don’t delay your defense

You need to begin defending yourself right away if you’re facing a DUI charge. If you don’t, you may find that more charges are added against you despite committing a single offense.

Your Fullerton attorney will take steps to make sure you’re only facing the charges that are deserved and that you have a fair trial should it come to that. You attorney may be able to help you find alternative routes of resolving your case or be able to help you avoid going to prison if you are willing to go through drug or alcohol-treatment programs, in some cases. That’s why it’s essential to inform your attorney about the charges as soon as you can.