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What are the consequences of a first DUI offense in California?

Posted by William Walraven | Nov 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

Whatever circumstances led to your DUI arrest, first offenses can lead to several types of penalties.

California law outlines the penalties and consequences for first and subsequent DUI offenses. State agencies also provide information on how police officers identify potentially impaired drivers. Actions that may lead to a traffic stop include:

  • Weaving in the lane or between lanes
  • Veering onto the shoulder of the road or crossing the median
  • Stopping erratically, too quickly, or too slowly
  • Random acceleration or deceleration
  • Failing to adhere to posted signs
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road

Breath tests, chemical tests and implied consent

When you are driving in California, you must adhere to the implied consent law. Under this law, anyone arrested for driving under the influence has consented to a breath or blood test. You may withdraw your consent by refusing the test. However, this can lead to serious consequences and we do not recommend it. Penalties include an immediate one-year license suspension. Additionally, the police may get a court order to draw your blood and get the evidence they need, regardless of your initial refusal. Note that the implied consent law does not apply to preliminary alcohol screening. You have the right to refuse a preliminary breathalyzer test and sobriety testing.

Penalties for a first-time DUI offense in California

If you are convicted of a first time DUI charge, then you could face a wide range of penalties. Possible consequences include:

  • Base fines between $390 and $1,000
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Probation and DUI school
  • License suspension up to six months
  • Possible ignition interlock requirements

Keep in mind that aggravating factors and whether the driver is under 21 years of age can affect first-time DUI penalties.

About the Author

William Walraven

Education Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco, California Juris Doctor - 2008 University of California at Los Angeles B.A. - 2000 Major: Psychology Past Positions McGrane LLP, Associate Attorney Trepel, Greenfield, Sullivan and Draa LLP, Associate Attor...


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