Drunk Driving Penalties Explained By Orange County DUI Attorneys

Drunk Driving Penalties Explained By Orange County DUI Attorneys

The law regarding drinking and driving in California is very tough.  The penalties can be stiff, even for a first offense and the punishment for a California DUI offense increases with each successive drunk driving conviction. A skilled Orange County DUI lawyer will work hard to provide you with the thorough drunk driving defense you deserve when your rights are on the line.

Policies vary by county

Each California county has its own sentencing policies and plea dispositions.  Within each county, the plea options you may be offered and the sentence that could be imposed may vary from DA to DA and from judge to judge.  For example, in one county, judges may rarely, if ever, require jail time for a first offense, but the DAs may never offer a plea deal to reduce the charge to reckless driving.  In another county, judges may typically sentence a first offender to two days of jail, but give two days credit for time served on the original arrest.

First offense

For a first DUI offense in California,

  • You could be sentenced from four days to six months in jail, with at least 48 hours of continuous jail time.
  • You may have to pay fines and assessments which vary per county but generally total up to several thousand dollars.
  • Your vehicle may be impounded for up to six months.
  • You may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for up to 3 years.
  • You may be required to attend a state-sponsored DUI school for three months.
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for six months.


DUI penalties are increased if you (1) refused to submit to a chemical test, (2) were speeding 20 miles per hour over the limit on surface streets of 30 miles per hour over the limit on a highway, or (3) had a child under 14 in the car.

Avoiding jail for a first offense

You are likely to avoid jail time for a first offense if your blood-alcohol level was below .15 and none of the enhancements apply to you.

Subsequent offenses

The consequences are severe if you are arrested and charged again with driving under the influence. Having one or more prior convictions within the previous 10 years will increase the penalties.

If you have been arrested two or more times for DUI, you are well advised to take immediate action to address your drinking problem (e.g., daily attendance at AA meetings, outpatient or residential treatment with proof of it for the court).

Other consequences

In addition to these various legal penalties, a DUI conviction may have serious consequences on other areas of your life such as:

  • Marriage and family relationships.
  • Career and job prospects.
  • Child custody.
  • A civil lawsuit arising from an accident related to your DUI incident.
  • Military enlistment.
  • Travel to other countries.


Get Help With Your Orange County DUI Case

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for any drinking and driving offense, please consult with an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer who is well versed in defending drunk driving cases. For a free consultation, please contact dedicated Orange County DUI attorneys the Law Office of Mike Coffey Attorney at Lawand the Law Office of Mike Coffey Attorney at Lawat (800) 706-7888 today.