What Is the Most Common Sentence for a DUI in California?

What Is the Most Common Sentence for a DUI in California?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in California is a serious criminal offense. Even a first-time offender can face life-altering penalties. The consequences are even worse if you have several past DUI convictions or your case is accompanied by additional aggravating factors. You may find yourself wondering, “What is the most common sentence for a DUI in California?” This is where an experienced and trusted Azusa DUI attorney comes in.

To improve your chances of having any DUI charges dropped or convictions expunged from your criminal record, it may become vital to retain the counsel of a DUI defense attorney. Having them by your side during these overwhelming and anxiety-inducing times can offer you the peace of knowing that your rights are being fought for.

What Is a DUI Charge in California?

In California, it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI occurs when a person is driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or higher, according to California Vehicle Code 23152.

Additionally, it is illegal for any person to operate a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of 0.04 percent or higher. This also applies to instances when a passenger in the vehicle is a “passenger for hire.” For underage drivers, the blood alcohol content level must not be 0.01 percent or higher. All of these situations can result in DUI charges and subsequent penalties if the individual is convicted.

You can also be charged with a DUI in California if you are found to be driving under the influence of over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, or illegal narcotics.

Common California DUI Penalties

In general terms, most DUI convictions come with the following common penalties:

  • License suspension
  • DUI probation
  • Mandatory DUI class attendance
  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Eventual restricted license with an ignition interlock device.

Keep in mind that the severity of each penalty is highly dependent on the unique circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest. It will also depend on how many times you have committed such an offense.

  • A first offense can lead to no more than six months of prison, a fine of no less than $390 and no more than $1,000, and DUI classes. Furthermore, they must surrender their driver’s license to the courts for an agreed-upon amount of time.
  • A second offense that occurs within ten years of the first can result in county jail time of no less than 120 days and no more than one year, a fine of no less than $390 and no more than $1,000, DUI classes, and a surrendering of their license.

Felony DUI Charges and Penalties

Most DUI cases in California are classified as misdemeanors. However, depending on several factors, a felony charge can be brought against an individual. The penalties associated are often much more severe. Felony charges can be brought against you for the following reasons:

  • You are arrested for multiple DUIs within a period of 10 years.
  • You have a prior felony DUI conviction.
  • Your behavior under the influence caused an accident in which people were injured or killed.

Penalties for felony DUI convictions can include imprisonment in state prison for two, three, or four years and a fine of no less than $1,015 and no more than $5,000. All privileges to operate a motor vehicle will be revoked by the DMV, and the individual’s driver’s license will be surrendered.

How to Reduce DUI Charges and Penalties in California

The right legal counsel can determine how to reduce DUI charges and penalties before entering their client’s plea with a judge in California. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be allowed the option to file motions to suppress certain evidence, like breath tests that may be inaccurate or were administered in an improper fashion. If your traffic stop involved an illegal search, you could also seek a reduction of the penalties or a dismissal of the charges.


Q: What Is the Average DUI Sentence in California?

A: In California, there are many factors involved in determining the exact sentence after a DUI conviction. Elements such as past DUI convictions, behavior that caused physical harm to anyone, or behavior that led to someone’s death can all impact the sentencing and penalties that one may receive following a DUI conviction.

Q: How Long Can You Go to Jail for Your First DUI in California?

A: For a first-time misdemeanor DUI conviction, California Vehicle Code 23152 can force an individual to serve county jail time that lasts no longer than 6 months. However, this can change and become more severe if the offense is considered a felony. This timeframe is dependent on several factors, including any aggravating or mitigating circumstances surrounding your offense.

Q: What Is the Most Common Sentence for a First DUI?

A: In California, first-time DUI offenders are likely to face misdemeanor charges unless there are circumstances that involve a child in the car or the physical harm to or death of another individual. In misdemeanor cases, offenders will likely serve probation or county jail time and have their license suspended for a period of time.

Q: What Should You Do After Getting Your First DUI in California?

A: If you ever find yourself arrested and facing DUI charges in California, the first steps you take are of vital importance. First, stay calm and contact the DMV to request a hearing right away. Contact an attorney and prepare for your hearing, making sure to not commit any other offenses while you wait for it.

Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer Today

At the Law Office of Daniel P. Flores, we understand that facing the possibility of a DUI conviction and subsequent sentences can be scary and daunting. If you find yourself charged with a DUI, it’s time to talk. Our team is knowledgeable and experienced in these legal matters, and we want to put both to use to help you secure the most positive outcome possible for your case.

Contact us today. It’s time to safeguard your future and ensure that your legal rights are protected and fought for.

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