You’ve never had a run in with the law and hardly a traffic ticket. But suddenly, you find yourself in jail on a first time DUI. You are released and now have a ton of questions about this experience and where to start. As a Criminal Defense Attorney in Orange County, I have dealt with thousands of first offense DUIs in the county. I have heard every scenario and variations of questions as it relates to a 1st time DUI offense. Below are 8 of the common questions people ask about their first offense DUI in California.
Can you Drive after your First Offense DUI in California?
Yes. You may drive after you are arrested for your First Offense DUI in California for at least 30 days because you are provided with a temporary license by the police officer. But when the police officer took your license, he started a license suspension or revocation. This means your license will suspend by the DMV within 30 days if you do not request a DMV hearing license suspension hearing within 10 days.
Will my license get Suspended after a First Offense DUI in California?
Your license will most likely get suspended for a first offense DUI in California. There are two types of suspension a person must deal with: DMV and court. The DMV License suspension will be handelde by the local driver safety office in your area. They will suspend your license for 120 days, and the court will want a 6-month driver’s license suspension.
Can I get a restricted license for my DMV suspension on my First Offense DUI in California?
Yes, if your license was suspended because of the DMV, you can get around the 4-month driver’s license suspension by getting a restricted license unless you are a commercial driver, under 21 at the time of arrest, or facing a refusal action from DMV by following these directions.
Court-ordered license suspension
If you are already on a restricted license on a DMV suspension, then the court suspension happens, then you will face a 6-month driver’s license suspension. However, you can go to DMV to pay a reissue fee to get your license back.
What types of penalties am I looking at for a First Offense DUI in California?
The penalties for a first offense DUI in California will not ruin your life. There are Criminal penalties which include a fine, and a criminal record which can include possible jail time. Most people would get the minimum penalties if there were no accidents. However, if there was an accident, someone was hurt, or there was an excessively high alcohol level, there would be additional penalties. These tougher penalties can include jail time, cal trans, community service, DNA collection for a database and or longer DUI classes.
How long does a First Offense DUI in California stay on my record?
A first offense DUI conviction in California will stay on your criminal record indefinitely unless you act and expunge it. This is different from your driving record. A DUI conviction will stay on your driving record for ten years for driving purposes. This means that the insurance company can use it for assessing your rates.
What happens at the court date on my DUI?
The date on your ticket for your DUI is called an arraignment at the Superior Court where your DUI took place. An arraignment is a chance for you to get the police report and deny the charges against you. In addition, it is also the date where you can get your police report and get bail set. Once you deny the charges at the arraignment date, you will start the pre-trial process and have a date for pre-trial (negotiations). This pre-trial date is usually within 30-45 days out from the first date.
How long are DUI classes for my First Offense DUI in California?
The length of classes (educational programs) depends on your first DUI in California will on what the state can prove that your blood alcohol levels were at the time of driving. If your blood alcohol levels were over .20, you would look at a 9 month offender alcohol program. If your blood alcohol content was between a .15 and .20, you would look at a 6 month class. If your alcohol level was between .08 and .15 then you are looking at a 3 month class or what is otherwise known as an AB541 DUI school. A 12 hour class is possible if it was below .08.
How often do people go to jail for a First Offense DUI in California?
This depends on the county you were arrested in. Some counties like Riverside and Ventura County will involve jail time for a first DUI. However, there are ways to get around the time in jail, and you may get away with not doing county jail time.
In Orange County, LA, and San Diego County, you are not looking at a jail term for a first offense DUI. It’s more likely you will only do a few hours in jail after getting arrested and getting credit for it. However, with all rules, there are exceptions. The exceptions are if you were speeding, you refused, or you caused bodily injury. If you caused great bodily injury, then you are looking at a Felony DUI. A felony DUI with injury charges will come with the potential of several months of a jail sentence.
How Can I Fight Against a first offense DUI in California?
There are several successful DUI defenses or defense strategies that fight a first offense in California. The first involves disputing the accuracy of the blood alcohol concentration or chemical test to say you were not over the legal limit. Depending on whether your test was blood or breath, there are different approaches to this. Both ways can be done in a court or the administrative hearing by your defense attorney. The latter will be quicker. The second defense widely used is to check the constitutionality of the stop. This can be done by looking over the video of the stop and arrest.
There are many moving parts to a First time DUI in California. A person who just got arrested will have to deal with the DMV side and then will also have to deal with the Court. The DMV side will affect the driving privileges and the court side will have to dowith the criminal sanctions such as fines, jail time , and criminal record. Despite both being seperate, they still affect one another as a court can trigger a suspension. Our law office has handeld thousands of DUI cases, if you have a DUI in Orange County and have questions you can reach out to us at the link on the side or give our office a call for a consultation.