A first-time arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) in California can lead to a number of legal challenges. You likely have questions about what to expect after your arrest. This article can help with understanding your first DUI offense in California.
Review the legal outcomes of a first-time DUI conviction with the Simmrin Law Group. Go over the role of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in DUI charges. You can also focus on building a defense for your first-time DUI charges by calling us at (310) 997-4688.
Review Possible First-Time DUI Charges in California
You should be aware that California does not have one charge used to prosecute all drivers accused of a first-time DUI. Instead, you can face numerous charges based upon:
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time of your arrest
- Your age or status as a commercial driver
- Whether or not you are accused of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Whether or not anyone was hurt in a DUI accident
Most first-time DUI charges in California are prosecuted as misdemeanors. However, some DUI charges will be treated as felonies, especially if someone was severely injured in an accident associated with a DUI offense.
First-Time DUI Offenses and the DMV
You can face criminal charges for a first-time DUI in California. You can also have your license suspended by the DMV. The DMV can suspend your license automatically. This suspension begins 30 days after your arrest.
Note that you can take steps to prevent an automatic license suspension by requesting a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. At this hearing, a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can argue that your driving privileges should not be suspended.
Ignoring your DMV hearing can lead to a four-month license suspension, so it’s highly recommended that you get professional help. Call (310) 997-4688 to review the best ways to handle your DMV hearing.
California’s Penalties for a First-Time DUI Conviction
Even a first-time conviction for a DUI in California can have serious legal repercussions. As we mentioned, there are a number of different charges used to prosecute first-time DUIs. Examples of the penalties you could face for these charges include:
- Jail time of up to six months
- Fines of up to $2,000
- License restrictions for up to six months
- DUI probation for up to five years
You should also be aware that DUI charges in California are priorable. This means that your DUI will remain on your record for 10 years. Each subsequent DUI conviction in this 10-year period can lead to increased penalties.
License Restrictions for First-Time DUI Convictions
California adopted a statewide program for ignition interlock device (IID) usage in DUI cases in 2019. Under this new program, most drivers convicted of a DUI will be required to install an IID in their vehicle for months or years.
Drivers facing a first-time DUI conviction are not always required to install an IID under this new law. However, some drivers opt to install an IID even if they are not ordered to do so by the court. This is because you are allowed to operate your vehicle normally with an IID.
If you do not install an IID after your DUI conviction, you may be able to apply for a restricted license. However, this restricted license generally only allows you to drive to DUI classes and, sometimes, to your work.
Drivers who use an IID for a first-time DUI generally have to keep the device in their vehicle for six months. This period of time may be increased if you are convicted of a DUI causing injury.
Get Help Resolving a First DUI Offense in California
You don’t have to just accept a first-time DUI accusation in California. You can get help quickly by reaching out to a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles. The team at the Simmrin Law Group can assist you right now. We can:
- Dispute evidence against you
- Help with your DMV hearing
- Work to get your charges reduced
- Assess any plea bargains you’re offered
- Defend you in the courtroom
Our legal professionals know what it takes to handle DUI charges in California, so reach out to us today to get the advice you deserve.
Call a Lawyer for Help with a First DUI Charge
The Simmrin Law Group can help you understand your first DUI offense in California. Call us at (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form to start getting the information you need to handle this charge.
Find out more about your legal options to a FREE initial case evaluation from our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles.