What is the likelihood that I will have jail time for a DUI?

I was under the influence of alcohol when I struck a street sign and I was taken to jail over night; they released me the next morning. This is my second DUI offense. My first DUI offense was over 10 years ago. I did not hit any vehicles or pedestrians in this incident. My auto insurance company will pay the restitution for the damaged sign that I hit. My court date is at the end of this month. Can’t remember but I think I refused the alcohol breath test, although the police said I was “truthful” during the arrest.

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you should be aware that here is something in the law regarding DUI's known as the "look back period". This is the period of time after which a subsequent offense will be considered to be a first offense for sentencing purposes. So, since your first DUI was over 10 years ago, you will be sentenced as if this most recent offense was your first (although the first conviction will remain on your driving record).

Accordingly, for a first-time DUI you will/can face: up to 6 months in jail with a required 48 hours of jail time (but it is possible to have this time converted to work service); a 3 year probation; $390- $1000 fine (plus court fees); DUI school; installation of an interlock control device and a license suspension for up to 6 months or more, depending on your age (restored after 30 days upon showing of hardship).

You should be aware that any time criminal charges are involved it is always advisable to have legal counsel.  A skilled DUI attorney could potentially get the charge dismissed on a technicality or possibly get it reduced to a "wet reckless". When retaining a DUI lawyer, choose one that practices in or near the court in question. They will have local contacts within the system that could prove invaluable when negotiating with the prosecutor on your behalf or in pleading your case before a judge.


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