What are the Penalties for a First DUI in California?
Ventura DUI Defense Attorneys
At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we understand the stress and uncertainty of a DUI arrest; especially if your criminal record does not reflect prior DUI convictions. After an arrest, you probably have a lot of questions about DUI, such as "Will I go to jail?", "What are the penalties?", and "Will I lose my driver's license for a first DUI?" These are real questions; let our Ventura DUI attorneys help you find the answers. When you work with us, you can rest assured that a skilled defense lawyer will be by your side to guide you through the entirety of your case.
A standard, first-time DUI offense in California is punishable by:
- Informal probation (between three and five years)
- Incarceration (up to six months in a county jail)
- Fines (ranging from $390 to $1,000)
- Alcohol/Drug Education Program (three months)
- Driver's License Suspension (up to six months)
The penalties for a first DUI in California may vary by county and are not restricted to these consequences; certain variables can trigger heightened penalties, depending on the level of property damage and injury related to your arrest.
You Can Lose Your Driver's License after a First-Time DUI Arrest
When law enforcement arrests you for suspicion of drunk driving, the DMV will automatically suspend your driver's license unless you schedule an administrative license suspension hearing within ten days. In other words, the DMV can suspend your driver's license even if the court hasn't found you guilty of DUI. If you lose the administrative license hearing, you could face a license suspension. Additionally, the court could take away your driving privilege if you are convicted of driving under the influence.
Felony & Misdemeanor DUI with Injury
A first DUI in California can lead to felony or misdemeanor charges. Although standard DUI is a misdemeanor offense, DUI causing injury can result in a felony or misdemeanor allegation as well. According to the California Vehicle Code, you could face enhanced charges if law enforcement believes that you drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol and harmed another person. If convicted, you may be subject to stiffer fines, longer periods of incarceration, and restitution to all injured parties. In other words, you could owe financial compensation to any person that suffered an injury as a result of the DUI.
Other factors can result heightened charges as well. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds .05% - about twice the legal limit – you could face additional penalties. If you refuse to submit to submit to chemical testing, such as blood or breath testing, the court may decide to increase the penalties associated with your charge. Excessive speeding can also affect the penalties connected to a first-time DUI conviction. If you are convicted of driving under the influence with a child passenger in the car, you could face child endangerment charges with the DUI charges.