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Are You Facing A First-Time DUI Offense?

At the Law Offices of William Walraven, I understand that facing a first time DUI offense in California can be overwhelming. What penalties could you face? How much money will it cost? Could this have an impact on your future?

If is understandable to have questions about California DUI laws and how they could affect you after a DUI charge. As an experienced DUI attorney, I can help you understand your rights and responsibilities under California DUI law.

A first DUI offense is typically punished less severely than repeat offenses, provided there are no aggravating factors such as an accident or injury. This is especially true if your criminal record is clean and you have an experienced DUI attorney on your side.

What To Expect With A First DUI In California

It is important to understand that in California, there are two types of penalties for a DUI: administrative penalties and criminal penalties. You will only face criminal penalties if convicted in court.

At the time of your arrest, the officer may take your California driver’s license and give you a temporary license that is good for 30 days from the date of your arrest, called a DS-367. This DS-367 is also suspension or revocation order that sets forth a deadline by which you must request a DMV hearing to prevent your license from being suspended automatically.

California’s administrative penalties come through the repeat offenses (DMV). They are swift and automatic if you do not exercise your rights in a timely fashion. The DMV will suspend your driving privileges automatically if you do not request a DMV hearing within 10 days after receiving the DS-367.

The arresting officer will also give you a citation or notice to appear in court. Your first court date, called an arraignment, usually will be about 30 days after your arrest, although the length of time varies by county. An experienced DUI attorney will be familiar with the local practices of the district attorney’s offices and courts in each county.

How Long Will The California DMV Suspend My License?

You only have 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV to challenge your license suspension. If you do not request a hearing, the DMV will automatically suspend your license and driving privileges in California. This suspension is independent of your court case, so it is important to contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately.

The length of suspension depends on the circumstances surrounding your case and it is important to remember your license can be suspended by the DMV (administrative suspension) or the court (mandatory suspension). Generally, for a first-time DUI in California the suspension period for a DMV administrative suspension is four months and for a court suspension resulting from a court conviction, a minimum of six months.

Typically, you will be eligible for a restricted license during this suspension period, however in certain circumstances your license suspension can be for one year with no eligibility for a restricted license:

  • If you refused to submit to a chemical test after your DUI arrest, the DMV will automatically suspend your license for 12 months. It does not matter if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was below 0.08 percent at the time of arrest. You will not be eligible for a restricted license during the 12-month suspension period.
  • If you were under the age of 21 at the time of your DUI arrest, the DMV will automatically suspend your license for 12 months. You will not be eligible for a restricted license during the 12-month suspension period.

To recap, the DMV administrative suspension is four months, and the court mandatory suspension is six months. However, the length of suspension can vary depending on other factors, discussed above. Contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss ways to protect your license.

What Are The Criminal Penalties For A First Time DUI In California?

The penalties of a DUI depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Factors such as age (under 21), chemical test refusal, high BAC and injury can significantly increase DUI penalties. Generally, though, a first time DUI offense in California is charged as a misdemeanor absent aggravating factors.

A first DUI in California may result in the following penalties:

  • License suspension
  • Jail time
  • Fines and restitution
  • Completion of a DUI program
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • Probation

How Much Does A First Offense DUI Cost In California?

In California, court-ordered fines for a first time DUI are anywhere between $390 to $1,000. However, with penalty assessments, these fines can increase by hundreds of dollars, so the total amount will vary depending on the county. For example, if you are ordered to complete a DUI program, you are responsible for paying for it. Indirect costs may also include bail, increased car insurance costs, towing fees if your car was towed after your DUI arrest, and even the cost of the DUI investigation by police.

Contact An Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer

The outcome of your DUI case will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case. Having a skilled DUI lawyer on your side will give you a better chance of reduced charges and penalties.

If you or a loved one has been charged with your first DUI, contact me at the Law Offices of William Walraven. Call 650-744-0023 or fill out my online contact form to schedule a free consultation. I serve clients in San Francisco, San Mateo County and throughout the Bay Area.