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California DUI 1st/First Offense Penalties

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.

Southern California DUI Defense


DUI cases are rarely hopeless. DUI convictions are almost never inevitable. Clients retain our California DUI defense attorneys for one reason: they want to fight the case. And win.

Contact Us For Help

The police arrested you for DUI. You gave a blood or a breath sample. The DUI officer confiscated you drivers license. The police released you with a notice to appear in court in a few weeks. Where do you go from here? Our lawyers are here to guide you step by step.