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First Offense DUI Minimum Penalties in California

— December 2, 2022

Upon conviction, a judge may decide on probation that allows avoiding jail for a certain period.

Driving under the influence is a criminal offense in most states, punishable by law. DUI means that you are driving with alcohol or other substances in your system. It increases the risk of automobile crashes and deaths since motorists are unable to:

  • Decisively avoid a crash
  • Quickly perform routine driving maneuvers
  • Coordinate and react in time

Depending on the severity of the crash, intoxicated drivers may receive various penalties, including fines and jail time.

Court-Imposed License Suspension

DUI arrest results in the automatic revocation of your driving license. A police officer has the authority to take your license immediately after the arrest. However, they don’t take it if you have an out-of-state license. In both circumstances, the confiscating officer issues a temporary permit.

In addition, they issue an order of suspension. The revocation is the state’s administrative action against your driving privileges. It’s different from any other penalties the court system may impose for your offense.

Your case goes through the legal system, after which you get your license back. However, you must pay a reinstatement fee. You don’t pay the money if you aren’t guilty of the offense or the court drops the charges.


As a first-time offender, it is possible to receive 48 hours to six months in prison. However, the exact amount of time you’ll serve varies because of the unique circumstances regarding arrest details and police reports.

There is no mandatory jail sentence if the jury orders a probation period. In most circumstances, judges are more lenient with first DUI convictions hence the reason for probation. Getting legal advice or help from Los Angeles DUI lawyer before your first hearing would be best. They have the necessary experience and negotiation skills to reduce your odds of a jail sentence.

The severity of your incident, however, determines the court’s ruling. If the DUI results in severe property damage or endangers the life of a minor, your likelihood of jail time is high. In addition, the chances are high that you’ll end up in jail if you caused a fatal crash.

DUI Probation

Upon conviction, a judge may decide on probation that allows avoiding jail for a certain period. However, there are biding terms and conditions to which you have to agree. The terms include agreeing not to drive with any measurable blood alcohol concentration. In addition, you agree to submit a DUI breath or blood test in case an officer suspects you of drunk driving.

The probation period can take up to 3 years. In some circumstances, it can be a 5-year term. You face a new charge when found guilty of drunk driving during this period. As a result, you must address a new DUI charge and the underlying probation violation.

Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on Your Vehicle

California has a new law on the installation of IID on DUI offenders. The device prevents your automobile from operating until you provide an alcohol-free breath sample. An IID asks for random samples when you are driving. If you don’t pass the test, the instrument registers a fail and signals the court.

A man driving. Image via Public domain.

The penalty causes extra expenses because you cater for the installation fee. Additionally, you pay for the device, which runs from $60 to $80 a month. California’s law demands you have the device installed for six months.


Drunk driving incidents prompt heavy fines and court costs. For instance, you have to pay up to $390 and an additional assessment fee of over $1,000. The charges for a first-time offender in CA are substantial and may increase over time. To be free, you have to pay several thousand dollars.

After payment of the fine, the court may give a ruling to attend a driving school. This leads to additional charges since most institutions’ charges are relatively high. Most of them charge an average of $600. The school runs for three months.

Contact a California DUI Lawyer

Avoiding future DUI would be best. This is because the costs become steeper for subsequent cases. Calling an attorney would be best if you find yourself in a DUI incident for the first time.

They’ll thoroughly examine your arrest, processing, and public records. These actions often provide enough proof to defend your case in the most significant way possible.

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