What punishment am I facing for a first-time DUI?
The penalties for DUI do not happen automatically just because you got arrested. You must also be convicted in court. Conviction means that you have either entered a "guilty" plea... or been found "guilty" by a jury.
When convicted of driving under the influence in California for the first time, the potential penalties are as follows:
- informal (otherwise known as "summary") probation for three to five years,
- up to six months in a county jail (but often no jail time for a standard first offense),
- between $390-$1,000 in fines,
- a three- or nine-month court-approved alcohol and/or drug education program (AB541 class), and
- a six- to ten-month driver's license suspension.
While the California Vehicle Code allows all of these penalties to be imposed, maximum punishment is infrequent. In particular, our Southern California DUI Lawyers have been successful at eliminating jail time subsequent to arrest and keeping informal probation, alcohol programs, and license suspensions to a minimum.