Any drunken or drugged driving charge is serious, but there are circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest that can lead to enhanced charges and harsher penalties. Before you can make a fully informed decision about your defense, you need understand the seriousness of your DUI charges. Several factors make a drunk driving charge more severe with stricter penalties. We’ll discuss some of those factors here.

Is This Your First DUI?

A first-time DUI, as long as there was no accident, is considered misdemeanor traffic violation which is punishable by license suspension and thousands in fines and penalties. Also, a conviction will go on your record.

You face a felony DUI if you are charged with a fourth DUI or wet reckless offense within the past ten years, beginning on the date of the prior charge. That ten-year period is referred to as the lookback period, and any DUI or wet reckless conviction will stay on your record for that time.

What Was Your Blood Alcohol Concentration?

Before police charge you with a DUI, they need to know your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). That can be obtained with breathalyzer or chemical test. In California, the legal limit is 0.08 percent is your charge is alcohol-related. If your BAC is the legal limit or higher, your DUI is a minor charge with fines up to $1,750, driver’s license suspension, and a mandatory alcohol assessment course. If your BAC exceeds 0.20 percent, you face the same penalties, but your alcohol assessment course may be longer.

Did You Cause an Accident? Was Anyone Hurt or Killed?

Under California Vehicle Code you can be charged with a misdemeanor DUI if you cause an accident that just involves property damage. Causing an accident involving an injury or fatality can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of each victim’s injuries and other extenuating circumstances such as a driver’s blood alcohol concentration.

If you caused an accident and someone has been severely hurt or killed, you face a felony DUI charge which can include enhancements such as vehicular assault or vehicular manslaughter. A criminal defense attorney in California is necessary if you are facing offense arising out or a catastrophic accident.

Was There a Minor in the Car?

A large portion of child traffic deaths are the result of impaired drivers, and in many cases, it is a deceased child’s mother, father, family member or caretaker at the wheel. In California, DUI with a minor child under the age of fourteen is considered a misdemeanor, but prosecutors often add charges of child neglect or endangerment to you DUI, do you face longer jail times.

Should I Hire a DUI Lawyer?

That’s a question many people have once they’ve been bailed out of one of the jail listed below. It’s a reasonable question and recommends you speak with a DUI lawyer before you decide not to get representation. All the penalties and consequences discussed above just scratch the surface of how a DUI conviction will impact your life. The scope of a DUI is broad, and you’ll find that the consequences will ripple through your personal and professional life. You could lose your job, it can affect your immigration status if you are a foreign-born national, and you can be denied a professional license. It is not worth your freedom or future to try and deal with a DUI without an attorney on your side.

One of the many things a defense lawyer in California can do is get you out of jail. They understand the process of posting bail and can negotiate better bail terms.

San Francisco County Jail

425 7th St.,

San Francisco, CA 94103


San Francisco County Jail #5 – San Bruno Complex

1 Moreland Dr.,

San Bruno, CA 94066

If your attorney has decided a jury trial is the best way for you to avoid DUI conviction, the addresses of San Francisco courthouse may be helpful. A few are listed below:


Superior Court of California

400 McAllister St,

San Francisco, CA 94102


Superior Court of California

375 Woodside Ave,

San Francisco, CA 94127


US District Court Clerk

1301 Clay St # 400S,

Oakland, CA 94612

Feel free to visit anytime you or a loved one needs a DUI  lawyer in San Francisco or another area of California.