What happens in a DUI case?

The Penalties for a 1st Offense DUI in California:

Jail time

Jail time is a real possibility in DUI cases. Although its rare for first time DUI offenders to be given jail, it can happen in bad cases. For 2nd or 3rd DUI’s, jail time is mandatory if the driver is convicted of violating CVC 23152 or CVC 23153. The amount of DUI jail time given depends on the nature of the DUI case: The more serious the case, the more likely jail-time will be imposed.    For more serious cases, such as those involving injuries, state prison terms ranging from 2 years to life in prison (for “Watson” type cases that involve a fatal accident).  To avoid jail time, a DUI attorney can help you get home confinement/electronic monitoring or other alternatives to jail time.

DUI House Arrest Options in California


In stead of jail, it is common for 1st offense DUI in California cases to involve probation. Probation is an alternative to jail time that a court imposes, where the defendant is warned that if they violate any other laws during the probation period, they risk jail time for their conviction. In Los Angeles county DUI’s, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Probation Unit can supervise probationers.


A DUI case involves large fines that vary depending upon the county where the DUI took place. A DUI lawyer will know how reduce the fines depending on the facts of the case. A DUI lawyer should also know how to have the driver get community service instead of fines.

Drivers license suspension for 1st offense DUI cases in California.

Both the DMV and the court have their own license suspension mandates…

DMV license issues

For the DMV, a 1st offense DUI penalty is a 4 month driver’s license suspension. In order to get a restricted license during this 4 month suspension (allowing the driver to drive to and from work) the driver must enroll in alcohol education classes, and install an ignition interlock device on their car. A DUI lawyer will know how to apply for the restricted license.

Court Penalties license issues

For the court penalties, a 1st offense DUI driver is looking at a 6 month license suspension, fines, probation and possible jail time.

What is the difference between the DMV license suspension and the Court license suspension?

The DMV will suspend your license automatically if you do not contact the DMV for a DMV hearing. If you lose at the hearing, the DMV will suspend your license for 4 months. The court will not suspend your license unless you are convicted at trial, or plead guilty to a DUI. The court suspension can only take effect after conviction. A DUI lawyer knows how to have both the court suspension and the DMV suspension run “concurrently,” allowing you to get your license back as quickly as possible to let you drive to and from work.

What can a lawyer really do for me in a DUI case?

A DUI lawyer will help a client get the best possible outcome in their case. Some cases can be won in a trial, other cases can be won in pre-trial motion hearings (such as motions to suppress evidence), other cases have facts that are more difficult to defend, and may not be ideal for trial, but the client can still benefit from a dedicated DUI lawyer negotiating with the court and the prosecution for the best possible outcome.

DUI lawyers can go to court and the DMV for you, so you don’t have to miss work or other obligations.

DUI lawyers know how to reduce the fines, penalties, and other consequences in DUI cases.

How much is this going to cost?

A DUI is an expensive situation to deal with. The fines, fees, and penalties the court imposes add up to a couple thousand dollars. An ignition interlock device, alcohol classes, insurance rate increases and fees the DMV imposes add to this amount. A DUI lawyer will know how to minimize these costs as much as possible.

Posted in DUI Penalties.

Leave a Reply