1st Offense DUI in California


Even a 1st Offense DUI in California can result in stiff penalties, but an attorney at the Law Office of Chris Chaney may have options for you. Contact us today!

California DUI Laws


In California, a DUI conviction carries severe penalties such as jail time, charges, license suspension, and other repercussions. Statistics show that of the hundred thousand drivers arrested yearly for a 1st offense DUI in California, 72.7% are convicted.

As a result of these stiff penalties and statistics, many first-time DUI offenders feel anxious after an arrest. However, knowing the DUI laws in California allows you to protect yourself and conduct yourself legally.


What Happens When You Get Your First DUI in California?


In California, you may face multiple charges for your first DUI (also called a DWI or driving while intoxicated), depending on the circumstances of your arrest. However, the charges surrounding each arrest vary based on certain factors.

Most DUI offenses result in a misdemeanor charge, but in extreme cases, a first DUI offense may result in a felony DUI charge, such as a DUI with accident.

How Does California Law Define DUI Offenses?


For drivers under the age of 21, California has “zero-tolerance” regulations that make it illegal for them to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of.01% or higher. However, for adult drivers, California law for DUI offenses is defined in the following subsections of Vehicle Code section 23152.

  • Vehicle Code section 23152(a) VC states that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a violation.

  • Vehicle Code section 23152(b) VC states that driving with .08% alcohol in your blood is a violation.

A breath or blood test is used to determine blood alcohol content. You will likely be charged with violating both California Vehicle Code sections if you are caught driving with a BAC over .08%.

What Happens for 1st DUI Offense in California?


When you are arrested for drunk driving, a few things usually occur, including the following:

  • Your driver’s license will be confiscated, and you may be issued a restricted license
  • Next, you’ll get a notification of possible California DMV suspension, which you should file alongside your provisional license
  • The police send a copy of this notification to the DMV, where a DMV hearing officer will evaluate the circumstances and may suspend your driving privileges

During a DUI arrest, the most important thing to remember is to remain composed and not say or do anything that may be detrimental to your case. Make sure you call a skilled DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.


How Many Points Go on Your License After a DUI 1st Offense?


A point system in California tracks drivers’ infractions. This system aims to identify reckless motorists and deter them from driving. Infractions of various traffic laws are assigned point values that the DMV uses to revoke driving licenses if point limits are violated.

In the event of a first-time DUI conviction, two points are added to the driver’s license holder’s record. Your license will be revoked if you get 4 points in a year, even with a spotless record.

What Is the Penalty for 1st Offense DUI in California?


A first-time conviction for driving under the influence is considered a misdemeanor offense in California. The penalties depend on age, type of offense, and other factors, such as whether or not a chemical test was rejected. However, the most common first-offense California DUI penalties include the following:

  • A 4-month license suspension

  • Possible imprisonment for up to 6 months

  • You might pay up to $10,000 in fines and penalties

  • A mandatory three-month DUI program

  • Possibility of doing community service


Do You Lose Your License for First DUI in CA?

A DUI arrest does not necessarily result in an instant suspension of driving privileges. This is instead the case if you either don’t ask for a license suspension hearing or if you end up losing the hearing. If this is your first DUI offense, you have only ten days from the time of your arrest to request a DMV hearing with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and prevent the immediate suspension of your license.

Your license will be suspended for an extended period if you are convicted of a DUI offense, regardless of the length of any existing suspension imposed by the DMV. However, the specific time frame over which your license will be suspended depends heavily on the complexities of your case.

How Many Hours of Community Service Will You Need to Do if Convicted of a Dui (First Offense)?


Judges in California have the discretion to suspend county jail time in exchange for community service. It’s considered a method to “make amends” to society after committing an offense.

Van Nuys DUI attorneys frequently try to reduce their clients’ sentences to community service instead of jail time. There is no set requirement for community service hours, but most first-time DUI offenders serve 24 to 50 monitored hours.


How Likely Is Jail Time for First DUI?

A person who has committed their first offense faces a possible sentence of between 48 hours and six months in jail. There is no requirement for incarceration if the court grants DUI probation, which is the norm. First-time offenders typically receive lighter sentences that do not include jail time from the court.


Costs of a First-Time California DUI

The base fine for the first California DUI ranges from $400 to $1,000, with additional “penalty assessments” that can significantly raise this total.

How to Get Out of a DUI First Offense in California?


You are presumed innocent of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Legal defects or questions about any crucial evidence necessary to convict under VC 23152, inaccurate breathalyzer BAC tests, police officer errors, and medical issues are some of the defensive strategies used by an effective DUI defense attorney to get their client’s DUI charges reduced.


Is a Reduction to a Different Charge Possible if Your BAC is Under.10%?


Presumptive intoxication occurs at 0.08% BAC, although between 0.08% and 0.10% BAC, prosecutors are more likely to offer a plea bargain for a lesser charge, such as wet reckless. The consequences for wet reckless driving are intermediate between those for driving under the influence and those for regular reckless driving.


Why Do You Need a Lawyer for a DUI Charge?

Legal representation is crucial for first-time DUI offenders. A DUI defense attorney knows how DUI charges affect your daily life and will work hard to make the process as smooth as possible.

Reach out to the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney to schedule a free consultation today.

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