First Time DUI In California: What to Do and What to Expect

To prove you guilty of first time DUI in California, the prosecutor must show that you were:

  1. Driving a motor vehicle, and
  2. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or had a BAC of .08% or higher at the time of driving

A conviction for first offense DUI in California normally triggers these penalties:

  1. 3 to 5 years of informal probation (typically three years);
  2. DUI school ranging from 3 to 9 months (typically 3 months)
  3. A fine of around $1900 (actual amount varies by county)
  4. A 6-month license suspension, with the possibility of a restricted license after 30 days
  5. In some counties, a short jail sentence or work release

Because a first offense DUI in California is a misdemeanor crime, a person charged with it is entitled to a jury trial before being convicted in court, as well as a hearing at the DMV before a license suspension is imposed. At trial, a prosecutor typically presents evidence that:

  1. The person was driving in an intoxicated manner
  2. The person performed poorly on field sobriety tests
  3. The person had "objective symptoms of intoxication" such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and an unsteady walk
  4. A breath or blood test indicated the person had a BAC at or above .08

Nevertheless, a good DUI defense attorney can often get 1st-time DUI charges reduced to a lesser offense (such as a "wet" reckless1,  dry reckless2, or exhibition of speed or "speed ex."3 ) and sometimes dismissed altogether.

In the article below, our California DUI defense lawyers will address:

1. What are the Penalties for A First Time DUI
in California?
2. Will I Lose My License for A First Time DUI
in California?
3. Will I Have A Permanent Criminal Record If I am convicted of A First Time DUI
in California?
4. What Aggravating Factors May Increase the Typical Penalties And Punishments handed down by the Court and/or DMV for A First Time DUI Offense?
5. What are the Penalties and Punishments Normally Associated With a First Time DUI with Injury in California
6. Can an Attorney Really Help Me Fight A First Time DUI in California?
7. What are the Specific DUI Penalties By Each County in California?
1. What are the Penalties for A First Time DUI
in California?
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One of the main questions that arises for those arrested and charged with driving under the influence is what are the typical penalties, punishment and sentencing handed down to a first time DUI offender in California?

There is no easy way of answering this question. This is true because the answer in large part depends on the unique facts of each individual case.  However, the sections that follow offer a basic framework of what you may typically expect if you have recently been booked on first offense DUI charges.

When convicted of driving under the influence for the first time, the penalties typically imposed by the court for a first offense DUI are as follows4 :

  • Informal (otherwise known as "summary") probation for three to five years,
  • Up to six months in a county jail,
  • Between $390-$1,000 in fines, plus penalty assessments, for a total of $1500 to $2000,
  • A three month court-approved alcohol and/or drug education program (AB541 class),
  • A 6-month drivers license suspension

However, the typical punishment handed down by the Court for a first time DUI in California generally varies by the county in which the conviction occurs (Please see Section VII below).Significantly, when California courts impose a first time DUI sentence that includes probation, the following conditions are always included5 :

  • You shall not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood.
  • You shall not refuse to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or, in rare cases urine, if arrested for a subsequent DUI.
  • You shall not commit any additional crimes.

Furthermore, depending on the circumstances, the following conditions of probation may be imposed:

  • Attendance in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings
  • Participation in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Program
  • Restitution (in the event that you caused an accident while driving under the influence)
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on any car you own or operate for a maximum four-year period. If you are convicted of your DUI in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare or Sacramento County, IID installation is mandatory. However, in all other counties, installation is at the judge's discretion.6

For a more complete discussion on these conditions of probation, please visit our page on California DUI probation violations.7

Finally, even a single first-time DUI conviction can prevent you from traveling to Canada . . . unless you take special steps with the Canadian immigration authorities.

2. Will I Lose My License for A First Time DUI
in California?
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There are two ways that your first-time DUI arrest can lead to the suspension of your driver's license.

  1. By getting convicted of a DUI in court

    OR

  2. By losing your DMV hearing (or failing to request one within 10 days of the arrest)

Court-Triggered License Suspensions for First-Offense
California DUI

A court conviction for a first-time DUI in California automatically triggers a six-month license suspension. A Judge, however, does not impose this suspension. Instead, upon your conviction, the court notifies the DMV and the DMV imposes the suspension. Significantly, if you get the charge reduced to reckless driving or to an offense other than driving under the influence, then there is no court-triggered license suspension.

Administrative License Suspensions for First-Time California DUI

When facing a first offense DUI in California, you must be aware that the California DMV will attempt to have your license suspended due to an administrative per se violation (APS).

When arrested on a first time DUI offense, you will be given just ten days in which to request a DMV hearing from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and therefore, put a temporary hold/stay on the suspension of your license. However, if no hearing is requested, the DMV may then able to automatically proceed with the suspension of the driver's license.

If you obtain an APS hearing, the chances of being successful are typically slim, but certainly improve if you have an attorney who knows what they are doing.

In the event that you have a first offense DUI charge, any license suspension issued by the DMV will be dependent on whether the person in question had agreed to take a chemical test and did or did not have a BAC of .08% or greater.

If you have been arrested for a first offense DUI in California and agreed to take a chemical test, you can potentially face only a six month long suspension, with the possibility of applying for a restricted license after 30 days.8 A restricted license enables you to drive during the course of your employment, and to and from work, school, and/or California DUI school.

The DMV will require you to file an SR22 form with them in order to obtain a restricted license or to fully reinstate your license following your suspension period. You may be required to maintain your SR22 with the California DMV for a period of 3-years from the date of having your license reinstated.

Unfortunately, if you face a first time DUI offense in California and refused to complete a chemical or blood test, you will face a tougher punishment. Specifically, you will face a one year license revocation with no chance of attaining a restricted license at any point during the 12 months.

Once the suspension period has terminated, you will be required to file an SR22 form with the DMV in order to have a reinstatement of your license.

3. Will I Have A Permanent Criminal Record If I am convicted Of A First Time DUI in California?

Fortunately, you may avoid having a permanent criminal record if you are convicted of a first time DUI in California by getting an expungement.

Anyone can expunge a California DUI, DWI or drunk driving conviction, so long as:

  1. you were placed on probation9 and
  2. you successfully completed probation.

A DUI expungement functions the same as any other California criminal record expungement. A petition is filed with the court and then reviewed by the judge. If the judge grants the DUI expungement, you may withdraw your plea of guilty or no contest, re-enter a plea of "Not Guilty" and the case is dismissed.

Significantly, the benefit of expunging a record of a DUI conviction may also be for employment purposes. Once your DUI has been expunged, a prospective employer may no longer hold the DUI against you in hiring or promotion considerations. Also, you no longer have to disclose the fact of the DUI conviction on job applications.

4. What Aggravating Factors May Increase the Typical Penalties and Punishments handed down by the Court and/or DMV for A First Time DUI Offense?
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There are facts and circumstances that, if present at the time you are arrested for driving under the influence for the first time, will increase your county jail or state prison sentence. Importantly, these aggravating facts will increase the penalties you are facing even though this is only your first DUI.

The most common of these include:

What type of enhanced penalty you receive for any of these aggravating factors will largely depend on (1) the exact circumstances of your California DUI arrest, and (2) your criminal history (with emphasis on your prior DUI history).

5.  What are the Penalties and Punishments Normally Associated with a First Time DUI with Injury in California
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Contrary to popular conception, there are different types of DUIs that an individual can be charged with. Unsurprisingly, there are different penalties and punishments that are associated with these non-standard first time DUIs in California. In the subsection that follows, we address the less typical DUI charge of "DUI with injury."

A California DUI with injury under Vehicle Code 23153 vc is a "wobbler", which means that it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on (1) the circumstances of your arrest, and (2) your criminal history.

If you are convicted of a first time DUI in California where a person other than yourself suffered an injury, you are subject to the following16 :

Misdemeanor DUI with injury

  • Three to five years of summary probation17
  • Five days to one year in a county jail18,
  • $390-$5,000 in fines19,
  • A three, 18, or 30-month alcohol program20,
  • A one to three-year driver's license restriction21, and
  • Restitution to all injured parties22

Felony DUI with injury

  • Sixteen months to ten years in the California State Prison and an additional and consecutive one to six year prison sentence, depending on (1) how many people you injured23, and (2) the extent of their injuries24,
  • A possible "strike" on your record pursuant to California's Three Strike's Law,
  • Between $1,015-$5,000 in fines25,
  • An 18 to 30-month alcohol/drug program26,
  • Restitution to all injured parties27,

Significantly, "alternative" sentencing options are often available substitutes for a county jail or California State Prison sentence. When imposed in connection with a California first time DUI, these sentencing alternatives may include:

  • Cal-Trans roadside work
  • Community service
  • Electronic monitoring or house arrest
  • Residence in a sober-living environment
  • Incarceration in a private or city jail, such as the Hawthorne Jail28

For a more detailed explanation about California felony DUIs and their corresponding penalties, please review our article on California felony DUI.

Lawyers who don't specialize in California DUI defense may not even know that these sentencing alternatives exist...and if they do, they may not know the most effective ways to convince the prosecutor and/or judge to agree to them. This is just one reason why it is so important to hire specifically a DUI defense lawyer to defend your California drunk driving case. The bigger picture of how a lawyer can help you fight your first time DUI is highlighted in section 6 below.

6. Can an Attorney Really Help Me Fight A First Time DUI in California?
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While certainly disappointing, a first time DUI in California arrest is far from the end of the world.  In fact, with the right DUI attorney, there is sometimes hope to get through the process without any criminal conviction.

However, in order to accomplish this, it helps to have the mindset immediately after your arrest to act and act NOW. Rather than waiting around until your first court date before having a DUI defense lawyer look over your case, perhaps the best move you can make is to hire an attorney immediately after your arrest.

So much goes into formulating and presenting a proper DUI defense and some of this may need to be done within hours after your first time DUI arrest in California. The specific need to hire an attorney to help you fight your DUI case is as follows:

1. Gathering of Evidence:

An experienced criminal defense attorney will know how to gather and preserve any evidence that would help your defense. This includes locating and investigating potential witnesses that may support your case. It may also include obtaining the police video of your stop or taking photographs of the alleged scene of the crime. If, for example, an officer states that he stopped your vehicle because it had a broken taillight, and it is proved otherwise by showing that the Officer never had a glimpse of the back of your vehicle prior to the stop, then this may prove critical in unraveling the prosecution's case against you.

2. Legal Research and the Filing of Motions:

Alongside the need to have an attorney gather and analyze the evidence surrounding your case, a good DUI attorney will also then be able to use this evidence as the basis for legal research and motion writing in support of your case. For example, if the police do not have "reasonable suspicion" to pull your car over (i.e. you don't have that broken taillight in the back of your car or you did stop at that stop sign), then your attorney can file a "Motion to Suppress Evidence" pursuant to California Penal Code 1538.5. This motion, which is filed and heard before any trial takes place, may result in a dismissal of your case!

3. Negotiations:

A good DUI defense attorney is also important to hire because he or she may fight to get you the "deal" that you deserve. Most DUIs do not go trial, and hence, it's just as important to have a good DUI trial attorney as it is to have a DUI attorney who knows how to negotiate with District Attorney's. These strategic negotiations may help to get your first time DUI in California reduced to a "wet" or "dry" reckless charge.

7. What are the Specific DUI Penalties By Each County in California?
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Although certain minimum and mandatory penalties exist for a first time DUI in California, many counties in California have different and specific penalties. Here is a list of the major counties:

Call Us For Help...
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If you or loved one is charged with a first time DUI and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

Our Nevada DUI defense lawyers are located in Las Vegas and Reno.

Legal References

1 Pursuant to California Vehicle Code 23103.5, a wet reckless is a reckless driving that functions as a prior DUI on your record. If you sustain a wet reckless conviction, and get charged with a subsequent DUI during the following 10 years, courts treat the new DUI charge as a second offense when imposing California DUI penalties.

2 California Vehicle Code 23103 defines reckless driving. If, after being charged with a DUI, you plead guilty or no contest to this charge, it is referred to as a dry reckless, as opposed to a "wet" reckless.

3 California Vehicle Code 23109(c) exhibition of speed or "speed ex" is a charge that is commonly bargained for during DUI plea bargaining. Although it has nothing to do with DUI per se, it acts as a signal to other prosecutors and law enforcements officers that you were initially arrested for a DUI.

4 California Vehicle Code 23536 - First time DUI in California penalties. Conviction of first violation of § 23152; punishment. ("(a) If a person is convicted of a first violation of Vehicle Code 23152, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 96 hours, at least 48 hours of which shall be continuous, nor more than six months, and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390), nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000)...(c) The person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended by the department under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver's license to the court in accordance with Section 13550.")

See also California Vehicle Code 23538 - First time DUI in California sentencing. Conditions of probation for first time offense. ("(a)(1) If the court grants probation to person punished under Section 23536, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court...may [italics added] also impose, as a condition of probation, that the person be confined in a county jail for at least 48 hours, but not more than six months. (b) In any county where the board of supervisors has approved, and the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs has licensed, a program or programs described in Section 11837.3 of the Health and Safety Code, the court shall also impose as a condition of probation that the driver shall enroll and participate in, and successfully complete a driving-under-the-influence program, licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, in the driver's county of residence or employment, as designated by the court.")

See also California Vehicle Code 23600 -- DUI penalties. Conviction and pronouncement of sentence for violations of Vehicle Code 23152 or 23153; probation; minimum confinement or fine; violation of probation. ("(b) If any person is convicted of a violation of VC 23152 or VC 23153 and is granted probation, the terms and conditions of probation shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) Notwithstanding Section 1203a of the Penal Code, a period of probation not less than three nor more than five years.")

5 California Vehicle Code 23600. Conviction and pronouncement of sentence for violations of § 23152 or § 23153; probation; minimum confinement or fine; violation of probation. ("(b) If any person is convicted of a violation of Vehicle Code 23152 or 23153 and is granted probation, the terms and conditions of probation shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) Notwithstanding Section 1203a of the Penal Code, a period of probation not less than three nor more than five years; provided, however, that if the maximum sentence provided for the offense may exceed five years in the state prison, the period during which the sentence may be suspended and terms of probation enforced may be for a longer period than three years but may not exceed the maximum time for which sentence of imprisonment may be pronounced. (2) A requirement that the person shall not drive a vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol in his or her blood. (3) A requirement that the person, if arrested for a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, shall not refuse to submit to a chemical test of his or her blood, breath, or urine, pursuant to Section 23612, for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood. (4) A requirement that the person shall not commit any criminal offense.")

6 California Vehicle Code 23575 - First time DUI offense in California penalties. Court-mandated use of ignition interlock device. ("(a)(1) In addition to any other provisions of law, the court may require that a person convicted of a first offense violation of [California Vehicle Code] Section 23152 or 23153 install a certified ignition interlock device on any vehicle that the person owns or operates and prohibit that person from operating a motor vehicle unless that vehicle is equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock device. The court shall give heightened consideration to applying this sanction to a first offense violator with 0.15 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at arrest, or with two or more prior moving traffic violations, or to persons who refused the chemical tests at arrest. If the court orders the ignition interlock device restriction, the term shall be determined by the court for a period not to exceed three years from the date of conviction.")

See also California Vehicle Code 23700 VC -- Pilot program to reduce driving under the influence offenses; establishment in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare Counties. ("(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall establish a pilot program in the Counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare to reduce the number of first-time violations and repeat offenses of Sections 23152 and 23153, as follows: (1) The Department of Motor Vehicles, upon receipt of the court's abstract conviction for a violation listed in paragraph (7), shall inform the convicted person of the requirements of this section, including the term for which the person is required to have a certified ignition interlock device installed. The records of the department shall reflect the mandatory use of the device for the term required and the time when the device is required to be installed by this code. (2) The department shall advise the person that installation of an ignition interlock device on a vehicle does not allow the person to drive without a valid driver's license. (3) Before a driver's license may be issued, reissued, or returned to a person after a suspension or revocation of that person's driving privilege that requires the installation of an ignition interlock device, a person who is notified by the department pursuant to paragraph (1) shall complete all of the following: (A) Arrange for each vehicle owned or operated by the person to be fitted with an ignition interlock device by a certified ignition interlock device provider under Section 13386. (B) Notify the department and provide to the department proof of installation by submitting the "Verification of Installation" form described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) of Section 13386. (C) Pay the fee, determined by the department, that is sufficient to cover the costs of administration of this section. (4) The department shall place a restriction on the driver's license record of the convicted person that states the driver is restricted to driving only vehicles equipped with a certified ignition interlock device. (5)(A) A person who is notified by the department pursuant to paragraph (1) shall arrange for each vehicle with an ignition interlock device to be serviced by the installer at least once every 60 days in order for the installer to recalibrate and monitor the operation of the device. (B) The installer shall notify the department if the device is removed or indicates that the person has attempted to remove, bypass, or tamper with the device, or if the person fails three or more times to comply with any requirement for the maintenance or calibration of the ignition interlock device. (6) The department shall monitor the installation and maintenance of the ignition interlock device installed pursuant to paragraph (1). (7) A person is required to install an ignition interlock device for the applicable term as a condition of being issued a restricted driver's license, being reissued a driver's license, or having the privilege to operate a motor vehicle reinstated subsequent to a conviction for a violation or a suspension of a person's driver's license, as follows: (A) A person convicted of a violation of Section 23152 shall be required to install an ignition interlock device, as follows: (i) Upon a first offense, the person shall install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles owned or operated by that person for a mandatory term of five months. (ii) Upon a second offense, the person shall install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles owned or operated by that person for a mandatory term of 12 months. (iii) Upon a third offense, the person shall install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles owned or operated by that person for a mandatory term of 24 months. (iv) Upon a fourth offense or any subsequent violation, the person shall install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles owned or operated by that person for a mandatory term of 36 months. (B) A person convicted of a violation of Section 23153 shall install an ignition interlock device, as follows: (i) Upon a first offense, the person shall install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles owned or operated by that person for a mandatory term of 12 months. (ii) Upon a second offense, the person shall install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles owned or operated by that person for a mandatory term of 24 months. (iii) Upon a third offense, the person shall install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles owned or operated by that person for a mandatory term of 36 months. (iv) Upon a fourth offense or any subsequent violation, the person shall install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles owned or operated by that person for a mandatory term of 48 months. (C) The terms prescribed in this paragraph shall begin once a person has provided to the department proof of installation pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (h) of Section 13386 and upon restoration of the driving privilege pursuant to Section 13352. (8) A person who is notified by the department, pursuant to this subdivision, is exempt from the requirements of this subdivision if within 30 days of the notification, the person certifies to the department all of the following: (A) The person does not own a vehicle. (B) The person does not have access to a vehicle at his or her residence. (C) The person no longer has access to the vehicle being driven by the person at the time he or she was arrested for a violation that subsequently resulted in a conviction for a violation listed in this subdivision. (D) The person acknowledges that he or she is only allowed to drive a vehicle that is fitted with a functioning ignition interlock device. (E) The person acknowledges that he or she is required to have a valid driver's license before he or she can drive. (F) The person is subject to the requirements of this section when he or she purchases or has access to a vehicle. (9) Subdivisions (j), (k), (m), (n), and (o) of Section 23575 apply to this section. (10) If a person fails to comply with any of the requirements regarding ignition interlock devices, the mandatory term for which the ignition interlock device is required to be installed shall be reset by the department. (b)(1) Every manufacturer and manufacturer's agent certified by the department to provide ignition interlock devices, under Section 13386, shall adopt the following fee schedule that provides for the payment of the costs of the ignition interlock device by offenders subject to this chapter in amounts commensurate with that person's income relative to the federal poverty level, as defined in Section 127400 of the Health and Safety Code: (A) A person with an income at 100 percent of the federal poverty level and below is responsible for 10 percent of the cost of the ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device provider is responsible for absorbing the cost of the ignition interlock device that is not paid by the person. (B) A person with an income at 101 to 200 percent of the federal poverty level is responsible for 25 percent of the cost of the ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device provider is responsible for absorbing the cost of the ignition interlock device that is not paid by the person. (C) A person with an income at 201 to 300 percent of the federal poverty level is responsible for 50 percent of the cost of the ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device provider is responsible for absorbing the cost of the ignition interlock device that is not paid by the person. (D) All other offenders are responsible for 100 percent of the cost of the ignition interlock device. (2) The cost of the ignition interlock device may only be raised annually equal to the Consumer Price Index. (3) The offender's income may be verified by presentation of that person's current federal income tax return or three months of monthly income statements. (c) This section does not permit a person to drive without a valid driver's license. (d) The requirements of this section are in addition to any other requirements of law. (e) For the purposes of this section, "vehicle" does not include a motorcycle until the state certifies an ignition interlock device that can be installed on a motorcycle. A person subject to an ignition interlock device restriction shall not operate a motorcycle for the duration of the ignition interlock device restriction period. (f) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2010.")

7 Probation is typically imposed in connection with a California first time DUI sentence. Probation allows you to avoid incarceration (or to have a lighter jail sentence) if you agree to fulfill your court-ordered obligations. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a California DUI probation violation, subjecting you to jail time.

8 See Vehicle Code 23536, endnote 6 above, subdivision "d". ("(d) Whenever, when considering the circumstances taken as a whole, the court determines that the person punished under this section would present a traffic safety or public safety risk if authorized to operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension imposed under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1, the court may disallow the issuance of a restricted driver's license required under Section 13352.4.")

9 Following a plea or a jury conviction to a DUI charge, a defendant is usually placed on 3 to 5 years of probation. In a misdemeanor case, this is referred to as "summary probation" or "informal probation"-meaning the person does not need to report to a probation officer. The defendant may petition the court to terminate the DUI probation early, for example after 18 months. In reality, however, most judges are very reluctant to grant an early termination of probation in a DUI case. One of the terms of DUI probation is that the person may not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in his system. Judges generally want to see the defendant bound by this term for as long as possible. Therefore, most judges will require the defendant to serve the complete term of probation before granting the DUI expungement and dismissing the case.

10 California Vehicle Code 23578 - First time DUI in California punishments. Conviction of violation of Vehicle Code 23152 or 23153; alcohol concentration or refusal to take chemical test as special factor; penalty enhancement or probation. ("In addition to any other provision of this code, if a person is convicted of a violation of vc 23152 or vc 23153, the court shall consider a concentration of alcohol in the person's blood of 0.15 percent or more, by weight, or the refusal of the person to take a chemical test, as a special factor that may justify enhancing the penalties in sentencing, in determining whether to grant probation, and, if probation is granted, in determining additional or enhanced terms and conditions of probation.")

11 Id., See also California Vehicle Code 23577 - First Time DUI in California penalties. Willful refusal to submit to or failure to complete chemical test by person convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; penalties...(a) If any person is convicted of a violation of Vehicle Code 23152 or 23153, and at the time of the arrest leading to that conviction that person willfully refused a peace officer's request to submit to, or willfully failed to complete, the chemical test or tests pursuant to Section 23612, the court shall impose the following penalties: (1) If the person is convicted of a first violation of Section 23152 vc, notwithstanding any other provision of subdivision (a) of Section 23538, the terms and conditions of probation shall include the conditions in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 23538. (2) If the person is convicted of a first violation of Section 23153 vc, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 48 continuous hours in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted and no part of which may be stayed, unless the person is sentenced to, and incarcerated in, the state prison and the execution of that sentence is not stayed. (3) If the person is convicted of a second violation of Section 23152 vc, punishable under Section 23540, or a second violation of Section 23153 vc, punishable under Section 23560, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 96 hours in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted and no part of which may be stayed, unless the person is sentenced to, and incarcerated in, the state prison and execution of that sentence is not stayed. (4) If the person is convicted of a third violation of Section 23152 vc, punishable under Section 23546, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 10 days in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted and no part of which may be stayed. (5) If the person is convicted of a fourth or subsequent violation of Section 23152 vc, punishable under Section 23550 or 23550.5, the punishment shall be enhanced by imprisonment of 18 days in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted and no part of which may be stayed.")

In addition, Vehicle Code 13353 permits the DMV to suspend your driver's license for a period of one to three years, depending on whether it is your first, second, or subsequent DUI conviction.

12

Many counties will impose an additional county jail sentence if you caused an accident, even though the accident did not result in injury.

13 California Vehicle Code 23582 -- Driving under the influence; addition penalty for excessive speed and reckless driving during commission of offense; additional punishment. ("(a) Any person who drives a vehicle 30 or more miles per hour over the maximum, prima facie, or posted speed limit on a freeway, or 20 or more miles per hour over the maximum, prima facie, or posted speed limit on any other street or highway, and in a manner prohibited by Section 23103 during the commission of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 shall, in addition to the punishment prescribed for that person upon conviction of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, be punished by an additional and consecutive term of 60 days in the county jail.")

14 California Vehicle Code 23572 - First Time DUI in California sentencing. Conviction of violation of Vehicle Code 23152; minor in vehicle; enhanced punishment. ("(a) If any person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 and a minor under 14 years of age was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the court shall impose the following penalties in addition to any other penalty prescribed: (1) If the person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 vc punishable under Section 23536, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 48 continuous hours in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted, no part of which shall be stayed. (2) If a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 vc punishable under Section 23540, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 10 days in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted, no part of which may be stayed. (3) If a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 punishable under Section 23546, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 30 days in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted, no part of which may be stayed. (4) If a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 vc which is punished as a misdemeanor under Section 23550, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 90 days in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted, no part of which may be stayed.

See also California Penal Code 273a -- Child endangerment. ("(a) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years.")

15 If you are under 21 at the time of your first time DUI in California conviction, you will additionally be convicted of Vehicle Code 23136 (a civil offense under California's zero tolerance policy) and of an infraction under Vehicle Code 23140 (driving with a BAC of 0.05% to 0.07%).

16 Much like a typical first time DUI in California, a California first time DUI in California with injury under Vehicle Code 23153 vc is sentenced based on whether it is your first, second, or subsequent offense. First and second offenses are generally prosecuted as misdemeanors and will be detailed as such for purposes of this penalty section (which is why the range of penalties listed is so extreme). Second and subsequent offenses will be detailed as felony offenses under this section.

17 California Vehicle Code 23600 - First time DUI offense in California sentencing. Conviction and pronouncement of sentence for violations of Vehicle Code 23152 or 23153; probation; minimum confinement or fine; violation of probation. ("(b) If any person is convicted of a violation of VC 23152 or VC 23153 and is granted probation, the terms and conditions of probation shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) Notwithstanding Section 1203a of the Penal Code, a period of probation not less than three nor more than five years.")

18 California Vehicle Code 23556 - First time DUI offense in California sentencing. Conditions of probation for first offense. ("(a)(1) If the court grants probation to any person punished under Section 23554, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court shall impose as a condition of probation that the person be confined in the county jail for at least five days but not more than one year...")

19 ("[T]he court shall impose as a condition of probation that the person...pay a fine of at least three hundred ninety dollars ($390) but not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).")

20 See California Vehicle Code 23556, subdivision "b". ("(b)(1) In a county where the county alcohol program administrator has certified, and the board of supervisors has approved, a program or programs, the court shall also impose as a condition of probation that the driver shall participate in, and successfully complete, an alcohol and other drug education and counseling program, established pursuant to Section 11837.3 of the Health and Safety Code, as designated by the court.")

See also California Vehicle Code 23562 - First offense DUI in California penalties. Conditions of probation for second offense. ("If the court grants probation to a person punished under Section 23560, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court shall impose as conditions of probation that the person be subject to...(4) Either of the following: (A) Enroll and participate, for at least 18 months subsequent to the date of the underlying violation and in a manner satisfactory to the court, in a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, if available in the county of the person's residence or employment, as designated by the court...(B) Enroll and participate, for at least 30 months subsequent to the date of the underlying violation and in a manner satisfactory to the court, in a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, if available in the county of the person's residence or employment.")

21 See California Vehicle Code 23556 - First time DUI in California sentencing. Conditions of probation for first offense. ("(2) The person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended by the department under paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver's license to the court in accordance with Section 13550.")

22 California Penal Code 1203.1 - First Time DUI in California Probation; suspension of sentence; imprisonment; fines; conditions; modifications. ("(3) The court shall provide for restitution in proper cases. The restitution order shall be fully enforceable as a civil judgment forthwith and in accordance with Section 1202.4 of the Penal Code.")

23 California Vehicle Code 23558 -- Causing bodily injury or death to more than one victim while driving in violation of specified sections; felony convictions; enhancement of punishment. ("A person who proximately causes bodily injury or death to more than one victim in any one instance of driving in violation of Vehicle Code 23153 of this code...receives an enhancement of one year in the state prison for each additional injured victim. The enhanced sentence provided for in this section shall not be imposed unless the fact of the bodily injury to each additional victim is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted or found to be true by the trier of fact. The maximum number of one year enhancements that may be imposed pursuant to this section is three.")

24 California Penal Code 12022.7 -- Terms of imprisonment for persons inflicting great bodily injury while committing or attempting felony. ("(a) Any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for three years.")

25 California Vehicle Code 23566 -- DUI penalties. Three or more offenses; punishment. ("If a person is convicted of a violation of Vehicle Code 23153 and the offense occurred within 10 years of two or more separate violations of Section 23103 vc, as specified in Section 23103.5 vc, or Section 23152 vc or 23153 vc, or any combination of these violations, that resulted in convictions, that person shall be punished by...a fine of not less than one thousand fifteen dollars ($1,015) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).")

26 California Vehicle Code 23568 -- DUI Probation. Additional conditions of probation for persons punished under § 23566. ("(b) In addition to Section 23600 and subdivision (a), if the court grants probation to a person punished under Section 23566, the court shall impose as a condition of probation that the person enroll in and complete, subsequent to the date of the underlying violation and in a manner satisfactory to the court, an 18-month driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code or, if available in the county of the person's residence or employment, a 30-month driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, as designated by the court.")

27 California Vehicle Code 23568 -- Additional conditions of probation for persons punished under § 23566. ("(a) If the court grants probation to a person punished under Section 23566, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court shall impose as conditions of probation that the person...make restitution or reparation pursuant to Section 1203.1 of the Penal Code.")

28 The Hawthorne Jail offers a work release program in which inmates can work at the jail during the day and go home at night. If you qualify for this program, you avoid having to spend the night in jail as a result of your first time DUI conviction in California.

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