Do You Lose Your License for First DUI in California?

Do You Lose Your License for First DUI in California?
Christopher J. McCann

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a significant risk to yourself and other drivers. Putting yourself and others in harm’s way is preventable by making alternate plans before you become impaired. Due to the risk involved with DUI, convictions can have severe penalties. If you are facing a DUI charge, you may be thinking, “Do you lose your license for the first DUI in California?”

The penalty you receive from a DUI conviction depends on the circumstance. Proper representation from a Santa Ana DUI defense lawyer may help your case turn out differently than expected.

What Does a First Offense Look Like?

When a driver receives a DUI but has no prior DUIs in the past ten years, this will be their first offense. A DUI first offense is still not a light charge. Penalties for a DUI differ from state to state. In California, your penalties will increase if you become a repeat offender. You may receive up to a year of jail time for some first offenses. Other penalties include fines or license suspension.

Soon after your arrest, you will have a criminal trial and an administrative license suspension hearing with the California DMV. At these events, the authorities will hand down any penalties you may receive, such as license suspension, fines, probation, and jail time.

A first DUI offense is a misdemeanor. Here is what you can expect with your first offense:

  • Three to five years of probation,
  • A $1,500 to $2,000 fine,
  • DUI school,
  • A six-month to one-year license suspension, and
  • An ignition interlock device (IID) installation.

With an initial DUI conviction, you can expect to avoid jail time unless you live in certain counties that stipulate jail time for DUIs. If you live in one of those counties, you can expect up to a year in jail.

The Marijuana DUI Law

With the new DUI Law about marijuana usage, some people are unsure how the law may affect them. Marijuana impairment, like most substance impairments, is illegal while driving in California.

Suppose a police officer determines a driver is under the influence of marijuana. In that case, the driver can receive a DUI. This charge can come even though marijuana is legal in the state and even with a valid prescription. Being impaired while operating a motor vehicle is still illegal.

Since no established amount determines impairment from marijuana, police use evidence of a person’s conduct while driving and after the initial stop to determine if they are unable to operate a motor vehicle as a sober person would. The person may receive a DUI if the answer is no. Evidence that can contribute include:

  • The odor of marijuana,
  • The existence of marijuana,
  • The person’s sobriety test results,
  • Statements made to the officer, and
  • Demeanor and behavior with the officer.

Losing a License From a DUI Charge

To deter people from driving under the influence, California states that drivers can have their license suspended after their first DUI offense. When someone gets charged, the police confiscate their license immediately. The person is given an “Order of Suspension/ Revocation” and a temporary license valid for thirty days.

The Order of Suspension/ Revocation begins after the temporary license expires. Therefore, the driver will be unable to drive legally. Regardless of the outcome of their criminal court date, their license suspension lasts for one year. If the driver requests a DMV hearing and is successful, they may have their suspension overturned. The driver has ten days to request a hearing.

If necessary or desired, a person can apply for a restricted license to go to work or attend a DUI program. These are only sometimes granted.

Depending on their eligibility, someone can apply for a full license reinstatement and pay a $600 to $1,200 fine. They will have to complete a DUI educational program that lasts between three and nine months.


Q: How Long Will My License Be Suspended for My First DUI in California?

A: The length of your license suspension for a first-time DUI in California depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. Sometimes, your license may get suspended, but you may successfully contest the suspension. Others may have their license suspended for one year and be required to do DUI education training or drive with an ignition interlock device IID.

The time your license suspension lasts can depend on the defense for your case. It is wise to have a lawyer assist you with an estimation and help you understand how to proceed.

Q: What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in California?

A: Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol subjects you to the California legal system’s process. When you receive a DUI for the first time in California, expect to have your license taken from you. You will be given an Order of Suspension/ Revocation and a temporary license. After thirty days, your temporary license will expire, and you will not be allowed to drive for a year or until your suspension is up. The proceedings you will have to attend include:

  1. A jury or bench trial, and
  2. A California DMV license suspension hearing.

While many believe the criminal trial will determine your license suspension, the DMV hearing determines it.

Q: Do You Lose Your License if You Get a DUI in California?

A: Whether or not you lose your license if you get a DUI in California depends on various factors. Being charged or arrested does not mean you have a DUI conviction. You might keep your license after your DMV hearing if the court does not convict you. If the court does convict you, there is a chance that you will have your license suspended or lost for up to one year.

Q: What Is the Most Common Sentence for a First DUI?

A: The most common sentence for a first DUI varies from state to state. In California, a first offense sentence can take many forms. For instance, many first-time DUI offenders get probation, fines, and license suspension. Some people convicted of a DUI might spend a year in jail, be required to attend DUI school and have an ignition interlock device installed in their car.

Sentencing in California can vary depending on the factors of a defendant’s case. A skilled DUI attorney can give a reasonable estimation of the potential sentence.

Contact Our DUI Attorneys

The legal system can be tricky for first-time and repeat offenders alike. If you face a DUI charge in California, we can help you understand your rights and the process. Our skilled team is ready to build an effective defense strategy that results in the most positive outcome for your situation. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, for DUI assistance today.

Schedule Your
Free Consultation

Fields Marked With An “*” Are Required
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

© Copyright 2024 Law Offices Of Christopher J. McCann, APC. All rights reserved.

Digital Marketing By rizeup media