Charged With a First DUI Offense?

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First DUI Offenses in Orange County, CA

Fighting for Your Freedom After a DUI Charge

Have you been arrested for a first-time DUI offense? If this was your first DUI offense, surely, you’ll be curious about the penalties involved. Even though the penalties for a second and third DUI are greater, a first DUI still has serious consequences.

We at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry can help. Orange County DUI attorney Virginia Landry is an experienced trial lawyer who fully understands the criminal court and DMV hearing processes in California. She could apply her extensive experience to your case, defending your constitutional rights and protecting your driving privileges to help you secure a positive case outcome.

First DUI Penalties

For starters, a California DUI is what’s called a “wobbler offense,” which means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. In most cases, a first DUI is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. However, if the impaired driver seriously injured or killed another person as a result of the drunk or drugged driving, it will likely be charged as a felony.

The penalties for a 1st DUI offense in CA include: 

  • Up to 4 month driver's license suspension
  • Probation for 3 to 5 years
  • 3, 6 or 9 months of mandatory alcohol classes
  • Base fines and court fees of up to $1,000, and additional penalty assessments
  • 0 to 6 months in county jail
  • IID requirements for up to 6 months

Additional Consequences

In addition to the above penalties, if you are convicted (found guilty) of DUI in California under Vehicle Code Section 23152, 23153, or 23154, you will face other serious consequences, including but not limited to:

  • Your auto insurance will skyrocket for several years
  • The DUI will stay on your DMV record for 10 years
  • The DUI will stay on your criminal record indefinitely
  • The DUI can have a huge impact on your career
  • If you are in a child custody battle, the recent DUI will be a problem
  • A DUI can bar you from travelling to certain countries
  • If you are studying for a degree or a professional license, the DUI can prevent you from realizing your educational dreams
  • Depending on your current employment, a DUI can lead to a dismissal under California’s “at-will” employment laws
  • If it’s a drug-related DUI and you’re an immigrant, it can trigger deportation proceedings

As you can see, the effects go far beyond the court of law, and can impact your professional and personal life in various ways.

What Can Increase My Penalties?

There are specific “aggravating factors” that can increase the standard penalties for a California DUI. If any of the following applies to your case, you could face enhanced penalties:

  • You had a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
  • You had a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle.
  • You had an open container of alcohol in your vehicle.
  • You caused an accident while driving under the influence.
  • You seriously injured someone else while driving under the influence.
  • You accidentally took someone else’s life during the DUI incident.

Even if there’s a lot of evidence against you, that doesn’t mean you should forgo a defense and accept the state’s punishment. In most cases, having a skilled defense lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of a case, even if it’s through a plea bargain that yields a favorable reduction in penalties.

What if I Am Granted Probation?

In the event that the court grants probation for a DUI offender after their first DUI conviction, the individual must pay a fine along with other requirements, such as attending courses, community service, etc. In some cases, the court may also decide that the DUI offender must serve at least 48 hours in jail (this does not always happen).

In some instances, drivers who have been convicted of their first DUI may be granted a restricted driver's license that allows them to drive during specific hours and to specific places. However, the court could decide to forbid this. Other conditions of probation typically include DUI School and community service.

How Can a DUI Defense Lawyer Help?

An experienced lawyer can help you in a number of ways in the face of a first DUI offense by working to protect your freedom, driving privileges, reputation, and professional life. After your arrest, you may be asked to submit to a breath or blood test, and your results will influence whether you will face drunk driving charges.

Although you may have taken this test and showed a result that was well above the legal limit, there are ways that an Orange County DUI lawyer can challenge the manner in which the test was conducted or the accuracy of the breath test device itself. There are actually numerous ways to challenge not only breath tests and blood tests, but field sobriety tests as well.

Attorney Virginia Landry will use subpoenas and specialized discovery techniques until she has utilized every resource to fully defend your rights and interests. Contact our firm today for a consultation!

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