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DUI Probation in California

Those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Orange County, California face the possibility of incarceration, but they may have a more favorable option – probation. Probation is a sentencing alternative. It can be granted in addition to jail time and other penalties, or a DUI offender could only be sentenced to probation with no jail time. Clearly, the latter is the better alternative.

Is jail automatic in a DUI case? Is probation always on the table in first DUI offenses? This differs from case to case, and it all depends on the circumstances. However, the terms of probation for DUIs are detailed in VC sections 23538, 23542, 23548, and 23552.


When the court decides to grant probation for a first-time DUI offense, the conditions of probation shall be as follows: a fine ranging from $390 to $1,000, and between 48 hours and 6 months in jail. In addition to fines and jail time, the California Vehicle Code Section 23538 states that the Department of Motor Vehicle will be allowed to suspend the person's driving privileges.

While on DUI probation, can an offender obtain a restricted or hardship license? In some cases, the court will allow an individual to petition for a restricted driver's license, but under Sec. 23538(3), the court does not have to grant this privilege if they feel the driver poses a safety risk. Another condition of first-time DUI probation is that the defendant enroll in a drug or alcohol education program.

The required days or hours are as follows:

  • BAC less than .20%: minimum 3 months/ 30 hours
  • BAC .20% or higher: minimum 9 months / 60 hours

Can DUI probation be revoked? Yes, the court can revoke a DUI offender's probation at any time if they fail to meet any of the conditions of probation, such as paying the fine, or enrolling in or successfully completing an alcohol education course.


The conditions of probation for a second DUI are very similar to the conditions for a first DUI. The major difference is that the lengths of time and required hours are heftier. See below:

  • Jail for 10 days’ minimum to 1 year maximum AND a fine of $390 to $1,000, OR
  • Jail for 96 hours minimum up to 1 year maximum AND a fine of $390 to $1,000.

A second-time DUI offender will face license suspension for a greater length of time than with a first DUI, and participate in an 18 to 30-month alcohol education program.

Arrested for DUI in Orange County? Call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. today for a free case evaluation from a Board-Certified DUI defense specialist!