If you’re a police officer or other public official who’s been charged with a DUI in California, it’s critical that you consider your next steps carefully. The decisions you make in the minutes & hours after your arrest may determine the trajectory of your career and future. As a former police officer and Sergeant with the city of Banning, attorney Michael Scafiddi deeply understands the pressures and stress the job can have on you and your family, and he also understands the consequences you face, even if you don’t yet. As an officer, Michael was personally involved with over 2,000 DUI investigations and in 1987 was recognized by San Bernardino County Superior Court as a Certified “Drug Recognition Expert”. For the last 20 years, Mr. Scafiddi has been able to apply his specialized knowledge of the internal workings of police departments, local courts and the legal system to defend the rights of police officers, politicians, doctors and even other attorneys accused of DUI (Michael’s full resume). A DUI does not have to be the end of your career.
What are the criminal penalties for a Police Officer DUI?
The penalty for a police officer accused of DUI often isn’t that different than an ordinary citizen. The difference in your case may come from your defense attorney. California’s criminal penalties for a first time DUI conviction can include:
- Up to six months in county jail
- Minimum fine of $390 up to a maximum fine of $1,000 (total fines & assessments approximately $1,900-2,400)
- Minimum administration driver’s license suspension of four (4) months
- Mandatory ignition interlock device installation prior to driver’s license reinstatement
- SR-22 insurance coverage to drive (even with a restricted license)
- 6-month driver’s license suspension (possibility of restricted license after 30 days)
- Completion of a three month long court approved alcohol and/or drug education program (AB541 class)
- 3 to 5 years of informal probation
What are the career penalties for a Police Officer DUI?
It’s impossible to make a blanket statement about the potential consequences a police officer faces after a DUI arrest due to varying department & agency policies and the circumstances of your case. However, some or all of the following penalties are likely if you agree to a plea or are found guilty:
- Administrative leave
- Restricted duty
- Forced resignation or firing
- Loss or alteration of pension or retirement benefits (this is complex and should be discussed with Mr. Scafiddi directly)
There is another option to pleading guilty. The Law Offices of Michael Scafiddi have had numerous DUI cases kicked out of the DA’s office due to problems with, or lack of evidence. We’re also no stranger to trial and have tried numerous cases in front of juries and argued in front of DMV and law enforcement administrative panels. Once we understand your case, we can make an informed recommendation for your defense strategy and make you aware of all your options and potential outcomes.
Other factors that may determine your criminal and career punishment:
- Is this a first offense, or a continual problem?
- Do you have other alcohol or substance related problems in your personnel file?
- Was a motor vehicle accident involved and were there injuries?
- Was the alleged DUI committed on-duty, on-call or off-duty?
Obviously, there are numerous questions we would need to have answered before we can have a clear picture regarding your unique situation. At this time, it’s critical to call a police officer DUI defense attorney who has the distinction and reputation of Michael Scafiddi to help you through this time. Putting this off or ignoring it will only make the problem worse.
Is it possible for a police officer to keep their job after a DUI?
This depends largely on some of the answers to the questions above. However, there are cases like one involving a Vermont police officer, where the officer was issued 2 weeks of unpaid administrative leave, and then reinstated in a restricted capacity. This is obviously only one example of many, and the facts of your case and the DUI defense lawyer you choose will largely determine your outcome.
The Law Offices of Michael Scafiddi: San Bernardino, Temecula & San Diego
Mr. Scafiddi has three offices in Southern California, and serves all courts from Santa Barbara to San Diego. When your freedom and career are on the line, call a California police officer DUI defense attorney who has the expertise, knowledge and compassion to help you keep your freedom and defend your rights.