Differences Between California Counties in DUI Strictness
California is known as one of the worst states to get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). The penalties are harsh, including jail time, probation, and fines. However, the statutes provide for a range of penalties. For example, a 1st DUI offense results carries a 48-hour to 6-month sentence in county jail – quite a wide range. California law allows each county to take a strict or a lenient approach to this sentence range. And the county decides, in turn, through its jury verdicts.
Although juries don’t usually decide simple DUI cases, they will be used in cases with aggravating factors, such as driving drunk with a passenger under 14. The experience of past jury verdicts permeate each new case, making prosecutors more confident of winning if the case should go to trial in some counties, and less confident in others. If prosecutors are more confident of winning, they have a stronger position in negotiations with the defense. Judges, in those DUI cases without a jury, are also influenced by the sentiment in the community. In this way, differing community opinion, values, and socioeconomic factors dictate to a great extent what kind of sentences county courthouses give out.
As each courthouse has a different jury pool, only an experienced Bay Area DUI defense attorney will know how, in various counties, to best negotiate with the prosecution, or else reject the plea bargain and proceed to trial on the merits.
RLG attorneys are experienced in all aspects of DUI law. If you have been arrested for DUI, a criminal defense attorney at RLG will fight to protect your rights. We serve the entire Bay Area.
For outstanding legal representation, please contact RLG for a free consultation: (415) 877-4486
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