Will I Go to Jail If I Get a California DUI?

January 12, 2018

In most DUI cases, probation is the more likely outcome.

Will I Go to Jail If I Get a California DUI?

In California and in many states, driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common crimes. While many people wouldn’t dream of breaking into someone’s house or assaulting someone, they may not think twice about getting into the car after having a few drinks — which may then lead to a DUI charge.

A DUI charge is a criminal charge, and in most cases, it is a misdemeanor. Being charged with a crime — even if it’s a misdemeanor — is incredibly scary. There are some initial consequences for a DUI, such as having your California driver’s license administratively suspended by the DMV. But the possibility of further penalties, like going to jail, can be incredibly stressful. That is when many people turn to their Riverside DUI defense lawyer to ask the ultimate question: will I go to jail for my DUI?

The answer to that question depends on the circumstances of your case. As a general rule, if it is your first DUI and there were no aggravating circumstances, then may receive probation instead of jail time. Aggravating circumstances include having a particularly high blood alcohol content (BAC), well over the legal limit of .08 percent; having a child in the car with you at the time of your arrest; speeding, or causing an accident or injuries as a result of driving under the influence. However, even for a first-time DUI offense, a judge may still sentence you to up to six months in jail. That is why it is important to hire a highly skilled Riverside DUI defense lawyer to help you navigate the process and put together the best possible defense to the charges against you.

For any DUI offenses after a first conviction, the potential for jail time — and the length of the sentence — increases. Second and third offenses are each punishable by up to one year in jail, while a fourth offense is punishable by up to five years in California state prison. For the purposes of determining what qualifies as a prior offense, California utilizes a ten year “look back” period. In other words, if you have a DUI conviction or other alcohol-related driving offense within the previous 10 years (such as a wet reckless conviction), it will count as a prior offense.

An experienced Riverside DUI defense lawyer can help defend you against DUI charges, and reduce the possibility of jail time for a DUI charge. This may include mounting factual or legal defenses to the charge, and attempting to have the charge reduced or dismissed. Alternatively, your Riverside DUI defense lawyer could try to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. Having a seasoned attorney is critical in this respect, as knowledge of the laws and system and a relationship with the DA’s office can help your lawyer get the best possible deal based on the facts of your case.

If you have been charged with a DUI, the Chambers Law Firm can help. You will achieve peace of mind knowing that our experienced team of Riverside DUI defense lawyers are on your side. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or info@orangecountyduifirm.com to schedule a free initial consultation.

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