Will I Go to Jail For My First DUI?

In all 50 states, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a crime punishable by jail, probation, mandatory DUI education, license suspension, and more. Unlike many states, including Arizona, Georgia, and Tennessee, California does not impose a mandatory jail sentence for first time DUI offenders. The typical criminal penalties for a first-time DUI without any aggravating factors, such as bodily injury or death, include:

  • DUI School
  • Jail (sometimes)
  • Fines
  • DUI Probation
  • Driver’s License Suspension

Orange County DUI Penalties

In California, specific DUI penalties range between counties. Compared to most California counties, Orange County enforces mild mandatory DUI sentencing. Most DUIs without a prior record will usually prompt the following consequences:

  • Approximately $2,000 in Fines
  • 3 Years of Summary Probation
  • 3-Month DUI School
  • 1-Day MADD Course

Other counties, such as Ventura, Riverside and Los Angles, usually enforce larger fines and more likely to enforce incarceration. In Riverside County; for example, fines and penalties can easily cost $2,300, while fines and penalties in Ventura County may cost as much as $3,000. Additionally, penalties in other counties include ignition interlock devices and work programs.

A California DUI conviction will influence your insurance rates. If convicted, you might earn the label "high risk driver," which can prompt your insurance provider to drop your policy or increase the amount of money that you must pay to maintain coverage.

Do I Need a DUI Attorney for a First DUI?

The simple answer to this question is yes. A DUI defense lawyer can offer valuable insight and guidance during your case, even if you do not have prior DUI arrests. Although the penalties are less severe than subsequent offenses, your first DUI can have far-reaching consequences.

Such consequences include difficulty obtaining certain jobs (e.g. law enforcement), finding affordable auto insurance, and acquiring many types of professional licenses, including real estate licenses and nursing licenses. Let’s not forget that even though most first-time DUIs are misdemeanors, they are reported on people’s criminal records indefinitely, so they do come up on background checks.

If you are facing DUI charges in Orange County, contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with OC’s DUI Queen!

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