DUI Penalties in Ventura County Can Be Steep


Even a first time, "basic" DUI in Ventura County is treated very seriously. Most of our residents do not drive "drunk". However, you do not need to be "drunk" in order to be prosecuted for a DUI in Ventura County . If you are over the legal limit of .08% blood alcohol content, you may not feel "drunk", but will be just as guilty as a person who cannot walk in a straight line. Many of my clients are surprised to find out that even if you are a "good person" with absolutely no record, and even if you are "not drunk", you can still go to jail for a first offense of DUI in Ventura County.

The Ventura County courts may require a minimum of 48 hours of jail time on a first offense of DUI if the blood alcohol is high. The courts may also allow an option for someone to spend time in the Ventura County Jail Work Release program, which allows someone to do work for the county in custody during the day and sleep at home at night. This program is expensive and the number of days sentenced is increased to 5 days instead of the 48 hours for custody in the main jail. Please remember that this happens even to "good people" with no criminal record who are "not drunk".

If a person is under 21 years of age and drives alcohol in their system (at a .01%), they will lose their license for one year. This is mandatory, and happens whether or not it is a first offense. If the minor does not have a license yet, the DMV will wait until the minor applies for a license and then hold the license for one year before issuing it. A minor may petition the DMV for a critical need to drive, but those are only granted under special circumstances. Additionally, for a person under 21, a DUI starts at .05%. From .05% to .08%, it is an infraction punishable by a fine and the loss of the minor's license. In addition to the fine, a minor convicted of this section has to attend a drug and alcohol program as ordered by the court.

For an adult, the DMV consequences are lessened, but still very serious. If the DMV determines that you drove while over .08%, you will lose your license for four months. You can apply for a restricted license, which allows you to go back and forth from home to work, in the course of your employment, and to and from your DMV mandated alcohol program. But before you can apply for a five month restricted license, you will have to wait 30 days. What this means to you is that for a first offense DUI, even if you are a "good person" and even if you were "not drunk", you will not be able to drive for at least 30 days. After that first 30 days, you may be able to get a restricted license for another five months after that, for a total time of six months of DMV consequences.

This information is generalized, of course, and every case is different. A DUI that involves a high blood alcohol content, an accident, injury, or death has a harsher punishment than this. Please call us now so that we can discuss the specifics of your case today.