Getting arrested for drunk driving is a frightening experience. Knowing what you’re up against and how you can best protect your rights under California law is critical to defending yourself against DUI charges. Here’s what you need to know about penalties for first time DUI charges and what your next step should be.
What Qualifies as a DUI in California?
The burden of proof in a DUI case is always on the prosecution. The prosecutor must prove that you were A) driving a motor vehicle and B) you had a BAC greater than 0.08%. In some cases, a defense attorney may be able to argue that the defendant wasn’t driving, like if the defendant was in a parked car “sleeping it off” before driving.
Penalties for a First Time DUI
The penalties for a first time DUI arrest are harsh and must be taken seriously by anyone who is arrested for driving drunk.
- An automatic license suspension for 6 months
- Mandatory alcohol counseling for 3 months, but in some cases, as long as 9 months
- Informal, or summary probation for 3 years, but in some cases, as long as 5 years
- High fines that vary by county, which can be close to $2,000 in some cases
- In some counties, a defendant may receive a short jail sentence or work release
While most first time DUI defendants don’t get sentenced to jail, a 6-month license suspension can seriously impact the defendant’s career and relationships, as can probation and alcohol counseling. Additionally, a first time DUI will show up on criminal background checks and will cause a defendant’s car insurance company to raise their rates. Taking steps to fight being convicted in the first place is the most important thing you can do following a first time DUI arrest in California.
Contact the Law Offices of Donald J. Matson, P.C. Today
Don’t let the fear and intimidation of a first time DUI arrest prevent you from taking action right away. Don’t hesitate to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer to examine your case and determine what legal strategy would be the most likely to result in the complete dismissal of the charges against you.
At the Law Offices of Donald J. Matson, P.C, we have the skills and resources to zealously defend you against drunk driving charges, and we’ll go to bat for you against aggressive prosecutors who want to see you in jail. Call us today for a consultation at (626) 792-1900 or (626) 773-6965.