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DUI: Can I Avoid Jail?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common offenses committed by regular people, and the majority of individuals arrested for DUI aren’t exactly hardened criminals. DUI defendants come from all walks of life. They’re teachers, teenagers, truck drivers, doctors, servers, counselors, college students, entrepreneurs, and stay-at-home moms and dads – they could be anyone.

When you’re a DUI defendant and you have a job or a family depending on you, the last thing you can afford is to go to jail. How would you work? How would you drive your kids to school? Assuming you were recently arrested for DUI in Orange County and you can relate to this predicament, you’re probably wondering if a DUI conviction means that you’ll be automatically sent to jail, and that is a very good question.

Will I Be Incarcerated?

Nobody wants to go to jail, especially an ordinary citizen without a criminal record. If you’re sentenced to jail, will your job be there when you get back? Since California is an “at-will” employment state, your employer can fire you for any reason as long as it has nothing to do with discrimination. So, could they fire you for an extended absence due to a DUI? You bet they can.

Will you go to jail if you’re convicted of DUI? It depends on the circumstances of your case. If this was your first DUI and there were no aggravating circumstances, such as you didn’t have a high BAC, there was no accident or injuries, and there was no child in your vehicle at the time of the arrest, you may be granted probation in lieu of jail. A first DUI is typically punishable by 0 to 6 months in jail. Otherwise, the sentencing for second and subsequent DUIs within 10 years are as follows:

  • A second DUI is punishable by up to one year in jail.
  • A third DUI is punishable by up to one year in jail.
  • A fourth DUI is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Aggravating Factors Lead to Enhanced Penalties

Aggravating factors, such as a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .16% or greater, having a minor in the vehicle age 14 or under, or causing an auto accident that results in injury or death can lead to enhanced penalties. If you truly want to avoid jail, the best thing for you to do is fight your DUI charges or negotiate a favorable plea bargain, and our Orange County DUI defense firm can help you with that. Don’t wait – contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. without delay!