Comprehensive Guide to a First-Time DUI in California



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What Happens if You Get a DUI for the First Time in California?


You are typically a safe and responsible driver, but perhaps you over-indulged for whatever reason. If you are caught driving under the influence, the law doesn’t care why you did it. You will likely face the full force of the law.

Drunk driving is a major issue that occurs every day in California and across the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published that in 2020, 11,654 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths. This is equivalent to one person every 51 minutes. 

If you are convicted of a DUI for the first time in California, you will face serious penalties. You may benefit from the legal advice and advocacy of a skilled attorney from a reputable firm, such as Rebecca Feigelson Law.

What Is the Penalty for a First-Time DUI in California?


A first-time offender is considered to be someone with no prior DUI or drug offenses on their record. The penalties for a first-time DUI in California can be severe and can include:

  • Fines and penalties of $390 to $1,000
  • Informal probation for three to five years
  • Possible jail time for up to six months
  • License suspension of six months to one year
  • DUI classes for 18 months
  • Community service for 30 hours
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for three years

If you have received a misdemeanor DUI and need to attend your DMV hearing about your driver’s license suspension, DUI lawyers may be able to provide the information and advocacy you need.

What Are Additional Punishments for a First Time DUI in CA?

Depending on the county in which you receive your first-time DUI conviction, you may find yourself the recipient of additional unexpected penalties. These could consist of any combination of the following:

  • Work release
  • Mandatory DUI programs bay area
  • Mandatory attendance at a victim impact panel
  • Restricted license
  • Increased car insurance premiums
  • Harsher penalties for any subsequent DUI conviction

One of the first things you need to consider doing after a DUI arrest, even if it is a first-offense DUI, is to consult with a local law firm. Your DUI attorneys can provide an overview of DUI penalties and could help you avoid DUI charges.

What Happens to First-Time DUI Offenses in California and Red Light?


In California, a first-time DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor, and it will be dealt with according to the legal statutes.


Is a First-Time DUI a Felony in California?


Since a first-time DUI is considered to be a misdemeanor in California, it is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A DUI only becomes a felony when the driver has either had three prior DUIs or has caused serious bodily injury or death during the DUI.

How Much Jail Time for First DUI in California?


A first DUI in California is a serious offense, and you need to be aware of the consequences. You will likely have to pay a fine or go to jail. The amount of jail time depends on the severity of your DUI.

The first DUI offense in California can be punishable by up to six months in jail. The second DUI offense carries up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. A third DUI offense can lead to up to three years in prison and a $4,000 fine.


What Is the Minimum Probation for a First-Time DUI in California?


California’s minimum probation for a first-time DUI is three years. This stiffens the potential penalties of any subsequent infractions during that time.

How to Beat a First-Time DUI in California?


In California, the punishments for a first-time DUI are severe. In addition to fines and jail time, your license will be suspended for up to one year.

To beat a first-time DUI in California, you should consider hiring a DUI attorney who practices defending these cases. The following are some of the things that an experienced lawyer may do:

  • Try to get your case dismissed
  • Offer a plea bargain where they would agree to reduce or drop your charges if you plead guilty
  • Present mitigating evidence on your behalf, such as an addiction or mental health issue

The attorney will represent you at your trial and help you fight the charges against you. They will also help with any negotiations with the prosecutor and judge if necessary.


How Can an Attorney Help Someone With a First DUI in California?

The services offered by a DUI lawyer include handling all the legalities associated with a DUI. Besides representing you in court, we can direct you to the nearest alcohol rehabilitation center and answer any other questions you may have about DUI law.

We will ensure that you do not incriminate yourself, that any evidence that should not be used against you is thrown out of court, and that your rights are upheld at all times throughout the trial.

Learn more About Rebecca Feigelson Law and begin developing a strong attorney-client relationship.

What Is the Cost of a First-Time DUI in California?


The fines for a first-time DUI in California can vary depending on the circumstances but is typically between $10,000 and $15,000. If you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) for the first time, you will face serious penalties that include fines and jail time, as well as higher insurance rates and possible loss of your driver’s license.


Do You Lose Your License for a First DUI in CA?

The answer is no. A first DUI in California is considered a misdemeanor and not a felony. Therefore, you are not likely to lose your license for this offense.

However, if you are convicted of a DUI in California, and it is your second offense, then you will lose your license for at least 6 months. If it’s the third time or more, then you will lose your license for at least one year.