What are the Potential Consequences of a First Offense Los Angeles DUI

  • September 2, 2017

    No two DUI charges are the same. Every case in Los Angeles is different, and it’s impossible to determine the outcome of any case without the specifics. However, there are many things to consider. There are two general types of DUI arrests in California. The first is a misdemeanor and the second is a felony. A felony DUI charge is more serious than a misdemeanor, and the charges you face if you are arrested and charged with a felony DUI are often life-changing. If you are arrested and charged with a DUI, it’s in your best interest to hope it’s your first offense and it’s a misdemeanor. The penalties are serious, but not nearly as serious as they are when they are upgraded to a felony offense.

    First Offenses

    A first offense arrest simply means you’ve never been arrested for a DUI in the past. Your criminal history is clear and you aren’t someone who spends a lot of time in the system. The first problem you face is your license. All DUI arrests made in Los Angeles are immediately reported to the state DMV. Your license is suspended, but you do have 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV. You do this by writing a letter and sending it to the DMV. As long as it’s postmarked within 10 days of your arrest, the DMV will issue you a hearing. It might be months down the road, but your license is not suspended in the meantime.

    The second issue you face is your legal charges. You’re going to jail. You need to call an attorney and find out what happens next. You will be released following your arrest, but there will be hearings, arraignments, and many other legal issues to handle in the future. Now that you’ve been charged with a DUI, you also face a hearing that might end with a conviction. If you are convicted, you face several charges.

    – Jail time
    – Fines
    – License suspension
    – Community service

    Jail time for a first offense charge is no more than 6 months in the county jail house, and your fine will not exceed $1,000. You could end up on probation for as long as 5 years. You will be required to complete a drunk driving educational program, you will lose the use of your driver’s license for six months, and you will find the court requires your car is outfitted with a mandatory IID. This is an ignition interlock device that only starts your car when you breathe into it and have no alcohol in your system.

    Additional Charges

    Now you face the bigger picture. You are only charged with a misdemeanor if you do not injure anyone when you drink and drive. If you caused an accident while driving, it doesn’t matter that this is your first offense. It’s a felony DUI. The fact that you’ve never been in trouble for a DUI in the past does help, but not much when it comes to a felony case. The conviction is much stronger.

    – Up to 3 years in prison
    – Fines not to exceed $5,000
    – Probation of up to 5 years
    – Drunk driving education program is mandatory
    – License suspension for one year
    – Mandatory IID
    – Community service
    – Victim restitution

    If you are arrested and charged with a first offense DUI, it’s helpful to call an attorney with experience handling Los Angeles drunk driving cases. Your attorney will work for you to ensure you get the best possible representation. They work to get your charges dropped and/or reduced. They can help prove you didn’t do this, the police don’t have enough evidence, or the letter of the law was not followed precisely. They work hard to ensure you can at least avoid spending time in jail for your arrest.

    Call an attorney to help with your case. Even a first offense comes with serious consequences if you are convicted of a DUI. Let an attorney help you fight your case, find out how you can reduce your charges, and help you get the best possible deal. First offense DUIs leave room for negotiation in many instances, which means you might be able to find a more positive outcome.

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