Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law

What are the penalties for a first-time DUI in California?

| Feb 16, 2021 | DUI

There are very strong negative public opinions regarding drinking and driving. While the pandemic has limited the amount of opportunities people have to get together with family and friends, there are still situations where someone may get behind the wheel after having a few drinks. If you are stopped by police and arrested, you need to know exactly what penalties could be possible if you are eventually convicted of these charges.

What happens when facing DUI charges

First, it is possible that your driver’s license could be suspended after a DUI arrest in California. The DMV will conduct an administrative review of the circumstances of your arrest, including reviewing the police report, the results of any chemical tests (breathalyzer) you took and the suspension order. You can request a hearing with the DMV up to 10 days after you receive notification of your license suspension if you believe the suspension isn’t warranted. Otherwise, you can apply for a restricted license or to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.

Prosecutors may be extremely aggressive when seeking convictions. They may not be willing to offer you a deal if you do not have an experienced attorney by your side. If you receive a first-time DUI conviction, you can face these penalties:

  • Paying up to $2,000 in fines
  • Spending up to six months in jail
  • Having up to a one-year license suspension

In 2019, California added a provision that those convicted of a first-time DUI may need to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for six months.

You also should be aware a DUI conviction stays on your California driving record for 10 years. Any subsequent DUIs you are convicted of will come with harsher consequences.

Getting help before your court hearing

You should consult with a criminal defense attorney when you face a license suspension and DUI conviction. An attorney can review the circumstances of your DUI arrest and possibly get your DUI charges reduced or dismissed. An attorney also can present a strong defense against the charges you face.

Having a DUI on your record can prevent you from getting certain jobs and professional licenses in the future. A DUI conviction can impact your personal relationships and increase your auto insurance rates for years. That’s why you want to do all you can to avoid those consequences.