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What are the possible penalties for a 1st DUI offense?

Even for someone with a clean criminal record, a drinking and driving conviction in California can have serious consequences. For those who are not aware of the penalties the court can impose for a first-time DUI, here is a rundown of the state law.

Your driver’s license could be affected, with your license will suspended for at least 30 days after a DUI conviction. After the suspension, your right to drive will be restricted to commuting to and from work, or alcohol treatment. The defendant could face at least 48 hours in jail, and up to six months, or 90 days with a restricted driver’s license, tacked onto the end of the prior license restrictions.

Alcohol treatment must last at least three months. The program costs $500. The required treatment goes up to nine months if you are convicted of having a blood-alcohol level of at least .20. Completing this program is a requirement before you can get your driver’s license.

There will likely also be a fine. The minimum amount is about $1,800 in fines and penalty assessments, with a maximum of $3,600. The defendant may also face three to five years of probation. Violation of the terms of probation could result in further punishment.

It can be scary and confusing when you are facing a DUI charge. However, you should remember that you have rights, which a defense attorney can help advocate for. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea agreement, or get a dismissal or not guilty verdict.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.