9 Things You Didn’t Know About A “1st DUI” Offense

California Vehicle Code 23152

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1st DUI Overview

A person who has been arrested for a first offense DUI in California is typically facing two different government agencies, the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the local criminal court in the area where they were arrested.

After an arrest for a DUI, the arresting officer is required to immediately forward a copy of the notice of suspension or revocation form and any driver license confiscated to the DMV.  If the suspension or revocation is upheld during the DMV’s administrative review, you have the right to request a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation.

You must request the hearing from the DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order, which you will likely receive upon your arrest.  This will halt the automatic process of suspension or revocation and until the DMV has conducted an administrative review.  If the review at the DMV shows that there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, the action will be set aside and your driving privileges will be reinstated.  The DMV will notify you in writing only if the suspension of revocation is set aside following the administrative review.

In California, a person arrested for a first offense DUI potentially faces both administrative and criminal penalties.  The severity on the penalties is determined by whether or not you took a chemical test, other aggravating factors, and case-specific details.

In criminal court, the prosecution has to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer had (1) probable cause to pull you over, (2) your blood alcohol content (BAC) was above the legal limit, and (3) that your arrest was lawful.  Having an attorney knowledgeable in DUI traffic law from the beginning of your case is important in making a solid defense in your DUI case.

Administrative Penalties For First DUI Offense:

1. First offense DUI carries a penalty of administrative license suspension by the DMV for at least four months

2. The courts will require a mandatory completion of an alcohol assessment or treatment evaluation, which is also required for your license to be reinstated.

3. Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device.

4. License reinstatement, including a restricted license, requires SR-22 insurance coverage.

Criminal Penalties For First DUI Offense:

1. There is a mandatory minimum incarceration of 48 hours for refusing a post arrest chemical test,

2. There is a maximum of no more than six months in a county jail.

3. Fines will be no less than $390 and no more than $1,000.

4. Probation of no less than three years and no more than 5 years, during which you can violate no law that results in an arrest or drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood.

5. Conviction of a DUI will remain on your record for 10 years and will influence any subsequent DUI arrests.

6. You will have to complete a DUI program for three, six, or nine months.

DUI 1st Offense FAQs

1. What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

In order to start your car with an ignition interlock device installed, you must blow into a handheld mouthpiece that will measure your blood alcohol level.  If your breath alcohol level is below the allowed limit, your car will start.  If your breath alcohol level is above the limit, the car will not start.  In most counties in California, the judge has the discretion to order the offender to install an ignition interlock device on their car, although there are some counties, including Los Angeles County, in which the installation is mandatory.1

2. What happens if I violate my probation?

If you violate your probation in any way, the court will revoke your probation sentence and re-determine the proper consequences for the DUI and violation of your probation.

3. What is SR-22 insurance?

The SR-22 insurance is a type of insurance that allows you, after conviction of a DUI, to get your license reinstated after the period of suspension ends or a restricted license if permitted.  An SR-22 is a document that shows proof of financial responsibility and the insurer files in with your state’s DMV.  You must carry this insurance with you until your probation period ends and at that time the SR-22 insurance will expire.

4. If I was sentenced to jail time and have employment, do I have to serve my county jail time during working hours?

The judge will often allow you to serve out your sentence over the weekends with at least 48 consecutive hours of jail time.  It is also accepted for people to use time off from work to serve out their sentence.

5. Will I have to serve a mandatory jail sentence?

Although California law requires a mandatory jail sentence, many judges will grant probation in lieu of jail as long as there are no aggravating factors in your case.

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Important Information

Aizman Law Firm Difference – What We Do To Fight Your Case

Resolute Defense In Your DMV Hearing: Including

  • Review of the police report for any shortcomings in the investigation.
  • Subpoenaing the records of maintenance and accuracy logs on the specific PAS and/or ECIR machine used to conduct your exam.
  • Strategizing any viable defenses to preserve your license, etc.

Zealous Defense In Your Criminal Proceedings: Including

  • Extensive review of the police report for possible defenses.
  • Subpoeaning the video footage (“dash cameras”) of the traffic stop, if any taken.
  • Have any blood drawn retested by an independent facility.
  • File any important Pretrial motions (i.e., Motion to Suppress the evidence against you, Pitchess Motion for officer misconduct at arrest, etc.)
  • Plea Negotiations with prosecutors to garner a charge reduction.
  • Dismissal of the case, if applicable for insufficient evidence.

Dynamic Defense In Your Trial Proceeding: Including

  • File pre-trial motions to seek to exlude any non-relevant evidence that prosecutors may try to use in trial.
  • Utilize reasearch on demographic set for jury selection
  • Cross examine all witnesses including law enforement & governement expert
  • Present expert testimony in your favor


Discuss Your 1st Time DUI With An Attorney

Hiring a DUI Attorney

The state of California has implemented some of our nation’s harshest DUI laws, even for a first time offender.  It is important to find a knowledgeable dui attorney who can assist you in reducing the charges from a DUI to a wet reckless or lesser offense.  The penalties and consequences of a DUI on your record are severe and long lasting.  An attorney can help reduce these penalties and create defenses on your behalf to lower the charges.

At the Aizman Law Firm, our attorneys can help you with questions you might have about the entire DUI process and penalties for a first offender. Please call our office at: (818) 351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

Our Attorneys

Diana Aizman
Founding Attorney
(818) 351-9555
Blithe Leece
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  1. Cal. Veh. Code §§23573, 23575 []