Being charged for driving under the influence (DUI) is an extremely unpleasant experience. Not only are there numerous penalties that get in the way of your day-to-day life, but DUIs can be very embarrassing if friends and neighbors find out you have been charged. The penalties for DUIs will vary from case to case. Generally, a person with multiple DUIs in their driving history will be punished more harshly than a first-time offender. However, many first-time offenders are unfamiliar with the legal process for DUIs and may be wondering if they will serve jail time for their offense.
The answer to this question is yes. It is possible that a first-time DUI offender in Los Angeles will serve a jail sentence for their offense. However, compared to a defendant with multiple DUI violations or other more serious driving violations, the jail term of a first-time DUI is relatively minor. Keep in mind that there may be other penalties, such as fines, driver’s license suspensions, and probation terms to contend with.
A driver facing their first-ever DUI should contact a lawyer about their case as soon as possible. Just because this is your first violation does not mean the process will be fast or easy. Our Los Angeles DUI defense attorneys can help guide you through the criminal justice process and hopefully get your license restored so you can get back to your regular life. Call us at (626) 628-9596 to set up a free legal consultation.
Penalties for First-Time DUI Violations in Los Angeles
Charges for DUI are often met with several different penalties. These penalties can include fines, suspensions of your driver’s license, and jail time. However, a defendant charged with their very first DUI is unlikely to be punished very harshly. While fines and jail time are possible, they are relatively lenient compared to more serious, subsequent offenses.
Section 23536 of the California Vehicle Code says that for a conviction for a first violation of § 23152 (pertaining to driving under the influence), a defendant may be jailed for no less than 96 hours, but no longer than 6 months. Additional penalties include a fine of at least $390 but no more than $1,000 and a suspension of your driver’s license for 6 months.
Spending 6 months in jail may seem like a long time to be behind bars. However, a defendant may not be required to serve their jail sentence all at once. In many cases, the court allows the defendant to serve their jail term whenever they are not at work. For many, this means going to work during the week and spending their weekends in jail. However, this method of serving your time is not guaranteed and you may have to demonstrate to the court why that method would work best for your case.
Please call our Fontana criminal defense lawyers for help with your DUI charges, whether you are a first-time offender or you are dealing with a subsequent offense. We can help you fight your charges and restore your driver’s license.
Probation for a First DUI Offense in Los Angeles
The court may grant a first-time DUI offender probation. However, probation is often not in place of jail time, but in addition to it. One condition of your probation will likely be the 96 hours to a 6-month jail sentence. However, the court may impose additional probation terms that you must adhere to or face further consequences.
For first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than .20%, the court may order the defendant to participate in at least 3 months of a licensed program involving education courses and counseling related to alcohol and substance abuse.
For a first-time offender with a somewhat higher BAC, at least .20% or more, the court may require you to participate in a similar probation program, but for at least 9 months. The court may also impose this stricter probation term for first-time offenders who refused to submit to chemical testing.
For first-time DUI offenders, their driver’s licenses will remain suspended until they can successfully complete and fulfill the terms of their probation. This means they must finish the 3-month or 9-month education courses and substance abuse counseling.
For help understanding the terms of your probation as a first-time DUI offender, contact our Los Angeles Probation Violations attorneys. We can review your case and help you fight your charges or move forward to serving your sentence and moving on with your life.
First-Time DUI Offenders Under the Age of 21 in Los Angeles
It is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with any alcohol in their system at all. While the .08 legal limit for intoxication usually binds drivers 21 and older, the limit for drivers under 21 is much lower. A driver under the age of 21 with at least a .01% BAC may be charged with a DUI.
A driver under 21, but at least 18 years of age, might be prosecuted and sentenced to the penalties mentioned above. For first-time DUI offenders, this means a jail term of at least 96 hours but no longer than 6 months. However, these defendants may also have to deal with additional penalties for underage drinking.
Drivers who are younger than 18 may face different penalties as they may be processed through the juvenile justice system. Juveniles who are adjudicated as delinquent will not serve a jail term in an adult facility. However, they may have to stay at juvenile facilities and complete education and treatment programs geared toward younger offenders. Call our Long Beach criminal defense lawyers to discuss your case or your child’s case.
Contact Our Los Angeles DUI Defense Lawyers to Talk About Your Situation
If you have been charged with your first ever DUI or refused a breathalyzer, you may be facing serious penalties such as fines, the loss of your license, and jail. However, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can help you put this unfortunate incident behind you. Call us at (626) 628-9596 to meet with our staff for a free consultation.