Were you charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in California? You likely have many questions if this is your first DUI offense. Many drivers in your situation wonder how likely jail time is for a first DUI. The truth is that the likelihood of jail time varies depending upon the charges you face.
This article will review the minimum and maximum amount of jail time used in some DUI cases. You could also consider potential legal options to help you avoid jail time in California.
You May Face Jail Time for a First-Time DUI in California
Legally, you may face a minimum of a few days in jail for a first-time DUI in California. Many counties set their own regulations on jail time for first-time DUI offenders — this means that the likelihood that you’ll face jail time may vary based upon where you live. Counties like Riverside and Ventura are often particularly harsh on first-time DUI offenders.
Note that a few days is the minimum you could spend behind bars throughout much of California. You may spend a maximum of six months in jail for a “simple” DUI conviction. Simple DUIs do not result in injuries or death.
You might spend more time in jail if your first DUI resulted in someone else’s injury or death. You could face:
- Up to 10 years in prison for a DUI with injury
- Up to life in prison for DUI second degree murder
The court does not care if you are a first-time or repeat offender if someone else gets hurt. In these cases, the court may sentence you to a lengthy period of incarceration. Get help if you are facing any DUI charges by contacting a lawyer.
For a free legal consultation, call (310) 896-2723
Other Penalties for a First-Time DUI in California
The court uses other penalties in addition to jail time to punish drivers convicted of a DUI. You may receive a fine after your conviction. The court may also tell you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. An IID measures your blood alcohol content (BAC) before allowing you to turn on your vehicle.
First-time DUI offenders do not always have to install an IID. However, many choose to take this step. Installing an IID allows you to continue operating your vehicle after a DUI conviction. Without an IID, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may suspend your license.
You may also end up on probation after a DUI conviction in California. While on probation, you must obey all regulations handed down by the court. Failure to follow court orders could result in a charge for a probation violation. Probation violations are criminal offenses in California.
The Penalties for DUIs Get More Serious with Each Conviction
All DUIs in California are priorable offenses — this means that they remain on your record. They stay on your criminal record indefinitely and your driving record for ten years. These charges could work against you if you are accused of another DUI.
You may face more time in jail for subsequent DUIs. For example, a second simple DUI could lead to a maximum of one year in jail. A third DUI could also result in one year of jail time. However, a fourth DUI could lead to up to three years in prison.
Methods to Avoid Jail Time for a First-Time DUI
You should only face jail time after a DUI if you are found guilty or accept a plea bargain. You may avoid a jail sentence if you work with a lawyer who gets your case dismissed. You do not have to face any penalties if the court waives your charges.
Additionally, some plea bargains may allow you to avoid jail time. Plea bargains are deals offered by the prosecution. They require you to plead guilty to a lesser offense for reduced penalties. Your lawyer could also take your case to court to help you secure a not-guilty verdict.
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Speak to a Lawyer About Jail Time for a DUI in California
How likely is jail time for a first DUI? It depends upon the facts surrounding your case and the county where you live. You may get help building a defense to a first DUI by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. You may also fill out our online contact form to get help.
We may provide you with a free consultation right now.