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DUI Attorney in Torrance

If you are charged with DUI in Torrance, California, you should talk to a Torrance DUI Attorney as soon as possible. A DUI is a more serious offense than you think and lead to some serious penalties, including time in jail even for the first offense, monetary fines, and driving license suspension.

To help you understand better the danger you are in, here is some basic information on DUI charges from the insight of a Torrance DUI Attorney.

What are Torrance DUI Charges?

You commit a DUI offense in Torrance and all around California if you drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or combination of both. Additionally, your case will be tried in the Torrance Courthouse.

When you drive under the influence of alcohol, you need to meet the legally prescribed BAC (blood alcohol concentration) thresholds, as follows:

  • 0.01% for drivers under 21 years of age

  • 0.04.% for commercial drivers

  • 0.08% for all other drivers.

The alcohol concentration in your blood will be measured by a breathalyzer test, blood test, or a urine test. Keep in mind that California has a “per se” DUI laws, which means that you’ll be charged with DUI as long as you meet these requirements, even if you don’t feel drunk.

You have to be aware that aside from meeting the BAC thresholds, you may be charged with DUI in the following situations:

  • If you refuse to submit to a chemical test. You are obliged to do the test upon request by a police officer. If you refuse to do so, you’ll get charges anyway.

  • If you have an open container with alcohol while driving. Even if you drive and do not drink, if your friends drink in the car, you’ll be charged with DUI.

  • If you were drinking while having physical control over your car. You may get charged for drinking while seating in your parked car.

In addition, cycling while drunk is also punishable, but not under the California DUI laws. The State of California has separate laws prohibiting cycling under influence, or CUI. The penalties are milder compared to DUI, but it is still illegal. So, don’t ride a bike while drunk.

Is a DUI a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

A DUI offense in California can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. The type of charge depends on the number of DUI offenses you have committed previously and the consequences of your last offense.

The first three DUI offenses within a 10-year lookback period in California are misdemeanors. The fourth and every other subsequent DUI offense within the lookback period, as well as a DUI resulting in injury, are felonies.

The lookback period in California is 10 years. It means that only the DUIs committed in the last 10 years count. For example, if you did a DUI in 2007 and another one in 2015, the one in 2015 counts as a second subsequent DUI because it has been committed within 10 years from the first one. If you committed your first DUI in 2007 and another one in 2019, then the one committed in 2019 counts as your first DUI offense because the first one is not within the 10-year timeframe.

Does a DUI Mean I’m Going to Jail?

Committing a DUI in Torrance may get you behind bars, but it may be avoided by taking the right steps during the procedures against you. To increase your chances of keeping your freedom, it is wise to let an experienced Torrance DUI Attorney represent you right from the beginning of the proceedings against you. This may get your charges dismissed, or at least reduced significantly.

Just to give you an idea what you can expect to get if you are convicted of DUI in Torrance, here are the penalties for each subsequent offense:

First DUI Offense

The first DUI offense in Torrance, CA is a misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to 6 months in jail

  • Fines between $390 and $1000, but the additional penalty assessments can raise it up to $4,000

  • Driving license suspension of up to 6 months with a possibility to qualify for a limited driving license after the initial 30 days of suspension

  • Ignition interlock device for 6 months

  • 3-5 years of probation

  • DUI classes

Second DUI Offense

The second DUI offense in Torrance, CA is also a misdemeanor and is punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail

  • Fines between $390 and $1000, but the additional penalty assessments can raise it up to $4,000

  • Driving license suspension of up to 2 years with a possibility to qualify for a limited driving license after the initial 90 days of suspension

  • Ignition interlock device for 1 year

  • 3-5 years of probation

  • DUI classes

Third DUI Offense

The third DUI offense in Torrance, CA within a 10-year period is a misdemeanor. It brings the following penalties:

  • Up to 1 year in jail or 16 months in state prison

  • Fines between $390 and $1000, but the additional penalty assessments can raise it up to $18,000

  • Driving license suspension of up to 3 years with a possibility to qualify for a limited driving license after the initial 6 months of suspension

  • Ignition interlock device for 2 years

  • 3-5 years of probation

  • DUI classes

Fourth DUI Offense

The fourth DUI offense in Torrance, CA is a felony. It is punishable by:

  • State prison time between 16 months and 3 years

  • Fines between $390 and $5,000, but the additional penalty assessments can raise it up to $18,000

  • Driving license suspension of up to 4 years with a possibility of permanent suspension

  • Ignition interlock device for 3 years if you get your license back

  • 3-5 years of probation

  • A record of a convicted felon

DUI Offense Resulting in Bodily Injury

If you cause bodily injury to someone else with your driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of both, then you’ll face penalties more severe than the standard ones. You can expect to be punished as follows:

  • State prison time between 16 months and 3 years

  • Fines between $390 and $5,000, but the additional penalty assessments can raise it up to $18,000

  • Driving license suspension of up to 4 years with a possibility of permanent suspension

  • Ignition interlock device for 3 years if you get your license back

  • 3-5 years of probation

  • A record of a convicted felon

How Much are DUI Charges Going to Cost Me?

You may say that you had just a few drinks and didn’t hurt anyone, but if you get caught, a conviction will hurt your budget. DUI convictions are expensive. The costs depend on your particular case and vary greatly, but here is a brief overview to give you an idea:

  • Penalties start from $390 for the least serious offenses and go up to $1000 depending on the circumstances of your case and the number of previous DUIs.

  • On top of the penalties, add the penalty assessment fees. They raise the costs up to a total of $4,000 for the first three offenses and up to $18,000 if someone got hurt due to your drunk driving.

  • You’ll have to install an ignition interlock device and pay for it. Expect to pay $75-$100 for installation, and then around $2.50 per day. This means that driving 6 months with an IID will cost you around $600.

  • Pay a $250 fee if you get a restricted driving license

  • Your auto insurance costs will go up due to the SR22 requirements

  • You may also lose money that you could have earned if you were not convicted. For example, you may be declined a well-paying job after the usual background checks, not be admitted to the University of your choice, be declined scholarships, and so on.

  • Non-US citizens may face issues when applying for a US visa or a green card and be exposed to additional costs in the process.

This is enough to show you that receiving a DUI penalty in Los Angeles can cost a lot of money. Therefore, make sure you get help by a California DUI lawyer to help you get your charges dismisses or at least reduced. That will save you tons of money.

Can I Drive on a Suspended License?

It is possible to drive while your license is under suspension. Every driving license suspension period starts with a hard suspension period in which you must not drive under any circumstances. But, after that period, you can apply for a restricted driving license.

The restricted driving license allows you to drive only to meet your most basic life needs. This includes driving to work, school, hospital, or religious activities. You must not drive for any purpose other than these. If you do, you’ll be punished according to the law.

You can get a restricted driving license after the following periods:

  • 30 days after your first DUI offense

  • 90 days after the second DUI offense

  • 6 months after your third DUI offense

Apply for such a license at your local DMV. Keep in mind that they can refuse your application if they find that the circumstances of your case require so.

Torrance DUI Attorney

Committing a DUI offense in Torrance may lead you to jail and hefty monetary penalties and fees. On top of that, you may lose your driving license for a long period of time. That’s why it is wise to talk to an experienced Torrance DUI Attorney before taking any action. Call today at (310) 283-2498 for a free consultation and learn what the best possible options are for your case.