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Will I Go to Jail for a First-Time DUI?

Facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge is never easy, especially when your job, reputation, and freedom are on the line. If you were pulled over and arrested for your first DUI offense, you probably have a lot of questions. Will I go to jail? Do I need an attorney? What happens now?

These are important questions that need to be answered sooner than later, and a DUI defense lawyer from our firm can help you find the answers, more importantly, we can help you determine exactly what steps you need to take to minimize, if not eliminate the potential risks involved in being convicted of DUI in Orange County.

California Law for First-Time DUI Convictions

In California, DUI is called a "priorable" offense. This means that the judge uses previous offenses to give you a harsher sentence. Since your first DUI does not involve any prior convictions, it is not subject to the same penalties as later offenses. According to California law, the penalties for a first DUI offense (misdemeanor), may be punishable by:

  • Fines
  • AA Classes
  • Up to Six Months in Jail
  • Informal Probation
  • Alcohol Education Program
  • Driver’s License Suspension
  • MAAD Victim Impact Panel
  • Vehicle Impoundment

Please note that a California DUI conviction is reported by the California Department of Motor Vehicles for 10 years following the date of the arrest. During this ten-year-period, you will not be eligible for the “good driver” discount through your insurer. Once the DUI is 10-years-old, the DMV will stop reporting it and you can be eligible for the good driver discount once again.

How to Avoid Jail for a First-Time Drunk Driving Conviction

If you are convicted of DUI, you may be subject to incarceration. Jail time, however, is not mandatory. With the help of a skilled DUI defense lawyer, you can avoid these harsh penalties or a conviction altogether. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a plea bargain may be a viable option for your defense strategy.

To learn more about your legal options after a drunk driving arrest, speak with an Orange County DUI defense attorney from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. today.