When a celebratory drink with friends turns into a DUI arrest, jail time may be inevitable. If you are a first-time offender, you may feel anxious and fearful.
Here is what you need to know about the penalties for a first DUI conviction in California.
DUI without injuries
Though judges are usually lenient, you could face up to six months in jail for a first DUI offense. The Department of Motor Vehicles will also suspend your license for six months after your arrest.
The court rarely dismisses a first DUI offense, even when there are no injuries. You will likely face other consequences, including:
- Community service
- Fines and fees
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Challenges finding new employment or job loss
- Court-mandated DUI counseling
DUI with injuries
If you harm people or property while driving under the influence, you may face harsher penalties, including increased fines. You may also go to jail for days or years, depending upon whether the prosecutor labels your infraction a misdemeanor or felony.
Regardless of the type of DUI, you will likely receive some type of informal probation if the court does not sentence you to jail time. During this time, you typically must complete a three-month DUI class. However, this class could be longer if your blood alcohol level was over .20% at the time of your arrest.
Even when your record is otherwise clean, a DUI arrest can be scary. A strong case may be necessary to avoid serious consequences.