What Are the Penalties for a First DUI Offense in California?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Sep 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

Getting a DUI is an unpleasant experience to say the least. As upsetting as it is, it is important to take prompt action and contact a California DUI lawyer for assistance. Most people thing that if they have been cited for a DUI, they are basically doomed. This is not always the case. There are many factors that can affect a DUI charge. With the help of qualified legal counsel it is possible to sometimes lessen the charges, strike a plea deal, or even have the charges dismissed altogether.

That said, if you are convicted of a DUI in California and it is your first offense, the penalties are:

  • Up to 6 months is jail
  • 3-5 years' probation
  • $390 to $1,000 fine
  • 3 or 9 month alcohol or drug class
  • 6-10 month license suspension (often changed to a restricted license)

If there are aggravating factors, these penalties will be more severe. Aggravating factors include:

  • Refusal to take a chemical test
  • Your involved in an accident
  • Speeding
  • Children (under 14 yrs. old) are in the vehicle
  • You are under 21 yrs. old

If someone was hurt as a result of your DUI incident, the fines become far more serious. This offense is set out in CA Vehicle Code 23153 VC. It is also called a “wobbler” which means that it can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the particular circumstances of the case. The penalties for a misdemeanor include:

  • 3-5 years probation
  • 5 days to up to 1 year in jail
  • $390 to $5,000 in fines
  • Restitution

If it is classified as a felony, the penalties are:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in prison
  • $1015 to $5,000 in fines
  • Additional 3-6 years in prison if there was great bodily injury
  • 18-30 months of DUI school (Read our article, "Does California DUI School work?")
  • 3 years of habitual traffic offender status
  • 5 year license revocation

Also read our article about IID requirements in California DUI cases

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Regain peace of mind...

Our defense attorneys understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most difficult times of your life. Rely on us to zealously and discreetly protect your rights and to fight for the most favorable resolution possible.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370