I got into an accident, paniced and drove until I could park. cops came and I blew a .12. This is my first offense, i dont know what to do.

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I got into an accident, paniced and drove until I could park. cops came and I blew a .12. This is my first offense, i dont know what to do.

I dont know what to do.They wont release my police report in time for my court date. Im very scared. Im not sure if the other driver is involved. They put me in jail overnight. It happened in Los Angeles and i live in ventura county. Please help.

Asked on May 13, 2009 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to contact an attorney right away prior to your court appearance.  If you cannot afford an attorney, go to court and tell the judge you would like a public defender and one will be appointed for you.  Don't enter a plea without discussing your case first with an attorney. 

DUIs are taken very seriously in California.  How a DUI case is prosecuted depends on a number of factors.  The age of the person, their blood alcohol level, any injuries or property damage caused, and any prior convictions. (The last won't apply to you since it is your first offense.)  A DUI is often a misdemeanor, but since you left the scene of the accident, it is possible they will charge it as a felony.  The prosecutor will rely on the blood alcohol test results and the statements from the police to make that determination.

There are two sets of penalties imposed. The first is administrative in nature and is imposed by the DMV.  For a first offense, the penalty is a 4-month license suspension period. The second are criminal penalties.  A harsher sentence will be imposed if the blood alcohol was extremely high or if injuries or property damage occurred.  Jail time of 96 hours to 6 months may be imposed along with fines up to $1,000 and a 6-month license suspension.  Offenders must also attend alcohol education classes.

Contact an attorney and discuss your options for being as successful as possible at trial.  Good luck.


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