What is the First Offender DUI Program in California?

gavel in court

In California, a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction will typically lead to DUI probation, sometimes jail, fines, driver license suspension, and mandatory completion of a DUI program. In California, there are four different DUI programs: the Wet Reckless Program, the First Offender Program, the 18-Month Program, and the 30-Month Program.

Suppose you are facing DUI charges and you are convicted. Aside from the standard penalties, such as DUI probation, up to a four-month license suspension, AA classes, and fines, you would be required to attend and successfully complete the First Offender Program. But what does this program entail?

The First Offender DUI Program:

  • Lasts three months
  • Is mandatory if you’re convicted of DUI
  • Involves 30 hours of drug and alcohol education and counseling

If you are convicted of DUI and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the offense registered at 0.20% or higher, you will be required to complete a nine-month DUI program, which will consist of 60 hoursof drug and alcohol education and counseling.

“These programs are designed to enable participants to consider attitudes and behavior, support positive lifestyle changes, and reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol and/or drugs,” according to the California Department of Health Care Services.


Not only do your DUI classes cost money, but they’re very demanding on your time. If you have a hectic schedule, it can be hard to find the time to complete 30 or 60 hours of drug and alcohol education. So, this brings us to the question, “What will happen if I don’t complete my DUI classes?”

The DUI itself may fall off your DMV record (not your criminal record) after 10 years, but that doesn’t mean you can skip your DUI classes, wait until the 10 years is up and expect your driver license to be clean. There is NO way to get out of successfully completing your First Offender DUI Program – the DMV won’t let it slip.

In other words, the DMV will not issue you a driver license if you do not complete the First Offender DUI Program. So, even if 20 or 30 years pass and you ride a bicycle and take the bus everywhere, you can’t expect to walk into the DMV and get a new license without completing your First Offender Program beforehand.

To learn more, we recommend reading, “What Happens if I Don’t Take My DUI Classes?” and to fight your DUI charges in Orange County, contact our firm right away.

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