DUI Discussions: Do First Time DUI Offenders Go to Jail in California?

A DUI is a serious offense that can have severe consequences. It’s also an offense that’s all too common in the US. Recent data show that in one year, 1 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

If you or a loved one is part of this number, you’re probably wondering what will happen next. Of course, this will depend on a number of different factors. But what about for first-time offenders?

Again, the penalty for first-time offenders will vary from state to state. This article will discuss one state in particular. Read on to find out everything you need to know about DUI penalties for first-time offenders in California.

DUI Meaning

First thing’s first, what constitutes a DUI? Under California law, a DUI refers to any time someone operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you’re pulled over, and the police officer suspects you’re under the influence, you may need to take a breathalyzer test.

You may have heard of a DWI, so what’s the difference in DWI vs DUI? A DWI differs from a DUI in that a DWI refers to a person driving while impaired. You could be driving under the influence of alcohol, or with a high blood alcohol level, but driving while impaired is another level of severity.

Is a DUI a Felony?

Now let’s discuss how the crime of a DUI is classified, felony or misdemeanor? The short answer is that it can be either. In the case of a first-time offender, however, it’s almost always classed as a misdemeanor.

Some things that could potentially bump it up to a felony:

  • killing another person
  • seriously injuring another person
  • having prior convictions

However, if you’re a first-time DUI offender, you’ll likely see a misdemeanor charge. This is less serious, and the punishment will generally be less severe than a felony.

Will You Go to Jail for a DUI?

If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, there are some punishments the state of California often imposes. For example, you may be put on probation for as many as 5 years. You may also have your license suspended for up to 6 months and have to attend DUI school.

Depending on if any property was damaged, you may also have to pay fines. As well as this, many judges opt to have ignition interlock devices installed in the defendant’s vehicle. But will you see any jail time?

Some counties in California do choose to hand down jail time as a punishment for DUIs, even if you’re a first-time offender. The sentence is usually 6 months.

If you’re facing any of the above punishments, you may want to search for a “DUI attorney near me”. If you can win your case in court, you won’t face as severe a punishment.

Laws are different in different states. If you’re in the Phoenix, AZ area, this firm can help https://www.belenlawfirm.com/criminal-defense/dui-offense-attorney-phoenix/.

Keep Calm and Carry On

If you’re charged with a DUI, try to keep calm. Cooperate with law enforcement and follow the advice of a DUI attorney. If you’re looking for more legal advice, check out our articles on this topic now.

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