First Misdemeanor DUI

An arrest for a first-time misdemeanor DUI can be a frightful experience. Most people in this situation don’t know what to expect or how to handle the situation. Because we believe in the power of being informed, on this website we want to arm you with information so that you know what lies ahead and feel a bit more comfortable as your California DUI case proceeds to court or a DMV hearing.

Possible Penalties for a First Misdemeanor DUI in California

A first misdemeanor DUI is punishable by:

  • Three (3) years of informal probation,
  • Up to six months in jail,
  • A three to nine month first offender DUI program
  • Between $390 to $1000 in fines
  • Ignition interlock device (in certain counties)
  • A California driver’s license suspension of between six to ten months.

The fine amount generally does not include penalty assessments which can more than triple the amount of the DUI fine. The driver’s license suspension can also generally be converted into a restricted license after thirty days following an administrative suspension. The length of the DUI program ordered depends directly on the measured level of alcohol in your blood.

In Sacramento for example the standard first DUI offer from the Sacramento District Attorney’s office is:

  • Three years of informal court probation
  • 48 hours of actual jail time
  • First offender DUI program
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Required installation of an ignition interlock device
  • A fine of $480 + penalty assessments (about $2300 after penalty assessments)

How a First Misdemeanor DUI Affects Your License

After you have been arrested for a first misdemeanor DUI, your California Driver’s License status may be suspended by either (1) suffering a DUI conviction in court or (2) by having a DMV officer rule against you at a DMV hearing.

Court Ordered Suspension for First Time DUI Offenders

After you are convicted in court of a first time misdemeanor DUI, an automatic six month suspension is imposed by the DMV per California Vehicle Code section 13352(a)(1).

Administrative Suspension for First Time DUI Offenders

If you have been arrested for a DUI and your BAC measured %.08 or more, the DMV will seek to impose an administrative suspension, separate and independent from the court triggered suspension. You are entitled to an administrative hearing, however that hearing must be requested within ten (10) days of your arrest. You are entitled to be represented by a DUI defense attorney at that hearing. If you win the hearing, the DMV will not impose any administrative suspension. If you lose the hearing the DMV will impose a four (4) month administrative suspension per California Vehicle Code section 13353.3.

You may be able to apply and receive a restricted driver’s license after thirty (30) days following an administrative suspension. In certain counties including Sacramento you will have to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you operate for a period of no less than five (5) months. If your California driver’s license was suspended administratively, you must wait at least thirty (30) days before applying for a restricted license or being allowed to drive with an ignition interlock device.