What To Expect After A First-Time DUI Charge?

  • Post last modified:July 9, 2024

California laws concerning driving under the influence (or “DUI”) are harsh and remain on your driving record for ten years after your arrest and conviction. Also, the record of your DUI cannot be removed from your driving record during that time.

Even a first-time DUI charge and conviction, California, your penalty can be up to three years of informal probation, a $390 fine plus costly “penalty assessments.” Overall, the costs alone can be up to $2000, and if you are a first offender, you must attend an alcohol program that usually consists of a 30-hour class and adds another $500 (or more) to your costs.

Although California’s DUI law doesn’t require incarceration for you, as a first offender, it certainly is a distinct possibility. Depending on the details of your DUI case, if specific exacerbating factors are present, then moderate to severe jail time is a certainty. These “aggravating factors” include the presence of a minor child at the time of your DUI arrest or traveling 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit on a local road or 30 miles per hour on the expressway.

With the required assistance of an experienced Long Beach DUI law team, specific consequences you may face for your first-time DUI may be negotiable. Penalties such as required participation in a victim impact panel, community labor, or service work. You must note, however, that even your first-time DUI conviction can impact your life disastrously.

For example, in some California counties, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car for four months or more. This type of penalty, and others imposed, could cause severe embarrassment and negatively impact your career and life.

You must know that each DUI case is unique in its details and how your lawyer will approach it. “Case-specific” factors will always be involved in determining what you can expect after your first-time DUI charge.

For example, If it is a first-time misdemeanor offense, your lawyer can usually manage your court appearance, so you don’t have to appear or miss work. Always keep in mind, though, that If you have a prior DUI or injuries are involved, then you can expect much more severe penalties.

Remember in California that even your first-time DUI charge can severely impact your life. No matter the specific details of your DUI charge, the result will commonly improve significantly with a skilled, knowledgeable DUI defense attorney to protect you and your rights.

Is There a Misdemeanor DUI In California?

Usually, your first-time DUI charge is a misdemeanor unless serious injuries are involved or someone is killed due to the incident. The California prosecutor will charge you with felony DUI if these mitigating factors exist.

A misdemeanor DUI may be charged if the following circumstances are present:

  • You have no prior felony DUI on your record.
  • You were not involved in a traffic accident that caused injuries.
  • You did not cause a collision that caused the death of another.
  • You have not committed four or more offenses within a specific time.

Also, if you are represented by a thorough, experienced Long Beach DUI lawyer, you always have a greater chance of having your charges (and consequences) mitigated downward.

Can My DUI Lawyer Possibly Get My First-Time DUI Charge Dismissed?

Yes, some circumstances could help an experienced, aggressive Long Beach DUI lawyer to get your DUI charges dismissed.

Some examples of these specific legal circumstances are:

  • Your lawyer could get your DUI charges dropped by the California prosecutor if they can prove that there was no “probable cause” for you to be stopped and arrested for driving while intoxicated.
  • Also, there may be insufficient evidence supporting the charge that you were driving under the influence. The California prosecutor cannot determine if you were driving while intoxicated or if you become “drunk” after driving.
  • Your charges also may be dropped if your experienced DUI lawyer can have incriminating evidence excluded from being considered in your case.

These are only a few reasons your first-time DUI charges may be dropped. However, your thorough and detailed DUI law team will aggressively seek any reasons that show that your charges should be mitigated or completely dropped.

Can My First-Time DUI Charge Be Reduced To a Lesser Charge?

Your DUI lawyer will always be looking out for your rights in any DUI charge. There are certain situations where the facts and circumstances surrounding your case are vague, and the state prosecutor will have difficulty proving DUI if a trial is asked for. Here, your DUI lawyer usually will ask for your first-time DUI charge to be “plea bargained” to a lower offense.

Such lesser charges may include:

  • Wet reckless driving.
  • Dry reckless driving.
  • Speeding
  • Public drunkenness, and more.

With the proper DUI defense lawyer, commonly, California state prosecutors are willing to offer you, as a first-time DUI offender, a reduced charge. However, the detailed and aggressive defense of your Long Beach DUI law team will be invaluable in this legal process.

I Have Been Charged With a First-Time DUI Charge; How Should I Proceed?

Especially in California, the most important job you and your Long Beach DUI lawyer must do is aggressively fight for your rights and freedom. Even your first DUI charge and conviction could impact many aspects of your life and your family.

You may wonder if you need a qualified DUI attorney if it’s your first DUI charge. The simple legal answer is yes; you should immediately consult a DUI attorney to defend yourself! If you don’t, you are open to all the harsh California DUI laws and penalties the state prosecutor can impose.

Being charged with a DUI in California is a dire situation that many find themselves in. The wisest and most productive thing you can do is to hire an experienced Long Beach DUI attorney to assist you with navigating the entire DUI process. Any DUI is a serious offense, so don’t leave your future and your freedom up to chance.