How to Get Out of a DUI First Offense

Many options exist for first-time offenders, depending on your case. An experienced attorney familiar with local courts in the bay area can determine if you qualify for pre-trial diversion programs.

Under California Penal Code § 1001.95, you may be eligible for any of the following programs that could help you avoid jail or prison time:

  • Veterans court
  • Mental health court
  • Drug court
  • Formal or informal probation

What Are the Penalties for a First DUI Conviction?

A first-time DUI conviction could result in up to a six-month jail sentence and fines up to $2,000. Additional penalties for a DUI in Oakland, CA include:

  • Informal probation for up to five years
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • Completion of DUI school for as long as nine months
  • License suspension of up to six months
  • Accumulated points on your driving record

Collateral fallout could follow you well after you complete your sentencing requirements. You may lose federal student aid and have a criminal record, among other potential consequences.

However, DUI charges are not always cut-and-dry. Seth Morris can highlight weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, starting with the initial traffic stop and whether the officer had probable cause to pull you over in the first place.

What Are the Costs of a First-Time DUI Offense?

The costs associated with a first-time DUI in Oakland are high. You should expect the following expenses:

  • $800+ in court costs
  • $500 in mandatory contributions to the California Victim Compensation Program
  • $200+ in towing and impound fees
  • $100+ for the cost of installing an IID
  • The daily cost of IID-use (approximately $2.50/day)
  • Costs of rideshare services or taxis while you are unable to drive
  • $125 in California Department of Motor Vehicles license reinstatement fees
  • $600+ in costs of attending a DUI treatment program
  • Costs of hiring a first offense DUI lawyer
  • Costs of increased auto insurance premiums ($1,000-$3,000+)

Should I Get a Lawyer for My First DUI?

Absolutely. You only have one opportunity to plead your case as a first-time offender. Your Oakland DUI lawyer will be responsible for:

  • Gathering evidence to support your case – This evidence includes police video footage of the traffic stop, photos of the crime scene, video footage of the stop or accident from nearby homes or businesses, chemical blood alcohol concentration (BAC) results, and other evidence.
  • Negotiating with the state’s prosecutor – This involves negotiating to reduce or dismiss charges through a plea deal or pre-trial diversion program.
  • Questioning the legality of the police stop – Under California Penal Code § 1538.5, police are required to have probable cause to make a traffic stop. Your lawyer can file the motions necessary to suppress evidence that may have been illegally obtained.

Will I Go to Jail for My First DUI?

The California criminal justice system offers opportunities for first-time offenders to avoid jail time in specific circumstances.

Some alternative sentencing options that may be available for first-time DUI offenders include:

  • Participation in a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Program
  • Attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings
  • Roadside work with Cal-Trans
  • Completion of community service
  • Residing in a sober-living facility
  • House arrest or electronic monitoring
  • Pay restitution to any victims

Will I Lose My License for a First-Time DUI in Oakland?

Immediately following your arrest, you can expect to have your license temporarily confiscated until the California DMV has issued a pink temporary license. This temporary license may be valid for 30 days, at which point your license may be suspended for an “administrative per se” violation (APS).

You may be able to challenge this license suspension, at which point the DMV will be required to place a temporary stay on the license suspension. If you are found guilty of a first-time DUI, your license could be suspended for six months or longer.

Contact an Oakland DUI Lawyer

Whether it’s your first or third DUI offense, you need a trusted attorney. First-time DUI offenders have options, and Seth Morris can help you avoid unnecessary penalties.

Get help from a reputable Oakland DUI lawyer. Schedule your confidential case review with Seth Morris from Morris Law when you call 510-225-9955 or complete our quick contact form.