What To Expect After Being Charged With a DUI In California

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:

Are you confused about California DUI laws?

The majority of DUI arrests within the state are misdemeanors. It means these drivers committed their first offense DUI in California. If it’s your first time, you might feel anxious about the proceedings. The potential penalties can make it hard to keep a level head.

Avoid misconceptions by knowing what to expect after committing DUI in California. Read the rest of our guide and learn your options today.

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What Happens After Getting a DUI in California?

A drunk driving arrest will trigger up to two legal proceedings against the offender. First is a criminal trial to determine your innocence. After that, an optional DMV admin hearing to decide your license eligibility.

Only the DMV hearing officer can suspend your license. However, they can’t impose other penalties. The DMV decision can’t affect potential criminal penalties.

The DMV Hearing Is Unnecessary

As mentioned before, the DMV hearing is optional. If you want to contest your license suspension after a misdemeanor DUI, request a hearing. You must do it within ten days or risk suspending your license for six months.

Court Appearance Is Mandatory

A criminal court case isn’t optional. The prosecutor can decide to charge you with other crimes. After getting the charges, you must attend every proceeding alongside your attorney.

You can find more info on how a criminal defense lawyer protects your rights.

DUI Penalties in California

Misdemeanor DUI penalties depend on your county. However, they often include the following:

  • Informal probation
  • DUI school
  • Fines
  • License suspension
  • Jail time
  • IID in the driver’s car
  • Work release

Only some counties include six months of jail time. The fines range from $1,5000 to $2,000. However, some mitigating circumstances can reduce your charges.

The good news is over 80,000 lawyers practice in California. You’ll have better chances of converting your DUI case into reckless driving or another lesser charge. When it happens, the court can’t order a license suspension.

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Probation Instead of Jail Time

Depending on your county, you might get probation instead of jail time—especially if it’s your first time getting a DUI charge.

You must agree to specific conditions to avoid spending time in jails. Never drive with any measurable alcohol in your blood. You also can’t refuse a DUI chemical test for future arrests.

Some courts will also require you to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings. You must also pay restitution if you caused an accident while under the influence.

If you violate your terms, the court will revoke your probation. The judge will reinstate the sentence, resulting in jail time.

Avoid DUI in California Now

Expect these and more when committing DUI in California. If you’re charged with a DUI, work with a lawyer to get the most out of your case.

Knowing what to do after a DUI charge is only half the battle. Learn what to look for in a defense attorney to increase your chances of success.

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