Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in California. Drivers convicted of a DUI face numerous penalties, including fines and restrictions on their driver’s license. Do first time DUI offenders go to jail in California?
Drivers convicted of a first-time DUI may spend some time in jail. The amount of time spent in jail could increase with subsequent DUI convictions. Find out more about the repercussions for a DUI conviction right here.
Jail Time for a First DUI in California
The court may sentence you to a minimum of two days in jail for a first-time DUI conviction in some California counties. Different counties have different laws for DUIs — this means you could spend more or less time in jail depending upon where you live.
Additionally, we are focusing on “simple” DUIs when discussing a two-day minimum for a DUI conviction. Prosecutors only charge you with a simple DUI if no one was hurt or killed in the accident. A first-time conviction for a DUI with injury could lead to at least 16 months of prison time.
You might end up spending years in prison if someone died due to a DUI-related accident, even if it was your first California DUI offense.
Jail Time for Subsequent DUIs in California
All DUIs in California are “priorable,” which means that they stay on your driving record and your criminal record. These charges count against you for ten years from the time of your arrest. Each time you receive another DUI conviction, you face harsher penalties. For example, you may spend a:
- Minimum of 96 hours in jail for a second simple DUI.
- Minimum of 120 days in jail for a third simple DUI.
You may face felony charges if you accrue four DUIs in a ten-year period, even if all charges were for simple DUIs. Felony charges typically lead to prison time in California. You may end up spending months behind bars, regardless of whether you hurt or killed anyone in the accident.
More Penalties for a First-Time DUI in California
Jail time is not the only penalty used in DUI cases in California. You could also face additional repercussions after a conviction, including:
You may be fined hundreds of dollars after a DUI conviction in California. You may also face court fees and other monetary penalties. Another driver may sue you if you hurt them in an accident. You could pay them restitution, increasing the cost of a DUI.
Restrictions on Your License
California recently adopted an ignition interlock device (IID) program for DUI convictions. First-time DUI offenders are not always required to install an IID after a conviction. However, many choose to use the device. An IID allows you to avoid a license suspension after a DUI conviction.
Time in DUI School
Drivers convicted of a DUI in California must generally attend DUI school. You must choose a court-approved DUI education program. You may attend this program for several months. Failure to complete the program could lead to additional repercussions. Learn more about the penalties for a first-time DUI by contacting a DUI lawyer.
Call a legal representative at (310) 929-6503.
Options to Avoid a DUI Conviction in California
You may avoid jail time after a first-time DUI conviction in some cases. The prosecution may offer you a plea bargain. A plea bargain allows you to get lessened penalties in exchange for pleading guilty to a different charge. In many cases, a plea bargain may allow you to stay out of jail.
However, you should make sure a lawyer assesses any plea bargain before you accept it. Not all of these deals are in your best interest. A lawyer may also be able to get your charges dismissed. You may not face jail time if the court dismisses your charges. Finally, a lawyer could defend you in court. Securing a not-guilty verdict may keep you out of jail.
Talk to a Lawyer About Jail for a First-Time DUI Offense
Some first-time DUI offenders go to jail in California. However, this is not always the case. Work with the Simmrin Law Group if you are interested in reviewing your options to avoid jail time. Contact us right now to get a free consultation. We may review your case and your legal options today.
Reaching us is easy. Just fill out our online contact form. You may also call (310) 929-6503.