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What are the consequences of getting a DUI? (First Offense DUI)

Law Office Charlotte C Lin Traffic DUI

Here I will discuss the punishments for a first offense DUI under VC § 23152 (remember this is generally the non-injury, misdemeanor DUI). Also see a description of common DUI charges. These are the the court punishments. Remember that DMV is a separate proceeding, and will impose its own punishments.  Read here for DMV proceedings for DUI. Court punishment for DUI’s generally start under the Vehicle Code at § 23530. Note VC § 23758 , the judge has the discretion in a violation of 23152 or 23153 with .15% BAC or more (or if the person refused to do a chemical test), to enhance the penalties (whether in deciding to grant probation, and to add enhanced terms to the probation if granted. Please turn to subsequent posts for information on second DUI, third DUI, and subsequent DUI offenses.


For a first offense VC §23152 DUI, there are 2 sections for court penalties: VC §23536 and VC §23538.




First Offense DUI : With Probation 

I will start with the latter, VC §23538. This section applies if the court (judge) grants probation for a conviction of  VC § 23152. Formal or informal probation depends on the county. Also, the judge has the discretion to impose jail sentence under VC § 23538 (for a minimum of 48 hours to 6 months). So yes, even if court grants probation, there is a potential for jail time. In sum:

  • probation under VC § 23600 (conditions include: probation of 3-5 years, not drive with any amount of alcohol, not to refuse a BAC test if arrested for a DUI, not commit any criminal offense, and a subsequent >.04% BAC will revoke the probation)
  • fine of >$390 (although final fines will be normally be alot higher than this). The fine can be “paid” with jail time or community service.
  • discretionary: minimum 48hour – maximum 6 months jail time
  • any other terms added by the judge (restitution, community service, AA meeting, alcohol rehab program)
  • surrender driver’s license; license shall be suspended under VC § 13352 or 13352.1; may also deny restricted license. Read here about DMV proceedings.
  • go to DUI school (AB-541 program)
  • for .20% or more BAC, the judge can order a 9 month DUI program under VC 23538(b)(2)


First Offense DUI : Penalty for first conviction

Ok, so the above is when probation is granted. What if one doesn’t get probation? Now go back to VC §23536.  The main difference is that now 96 hours of jail is the minimum mandatory sentence. In sum:

  • jail sentence: minimum 96 hours – maximum 6 months
  • fine of >$390 (although final fines will be normally be alot higher than this)
  • surrender driver’s license; license shall be suspended under VC § 13352 or 13352.1; may also deny restricted license.

Also, remember, this is only the court punishment. Please keep in mind DMV is a separate proceeding with its punishment as well. Also, this post does not discuss DUI with priors, or DUI with injury or enhancements. Also, keep in mind that the above are the statutory minimum.



About Charlotte Lin

Charlotte is a trusted lawyer by day, and legal ninja by night. In her spare time she enjoys slashing tickets with nunchucks.