First Offense DUI Penalties
If you are arrested for a first offense DUI, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor unless there was an injury to another party. Misdemeanor first offense DUI convictions carry a maximum sentence of $1000 plus penalty assessments and up to 6 months in jail. Please note that penalty assessments are generally 3x the base fine.
While it is rare that you will be sentenced to the maximum, you will likely face a high fine, a severe license suspension, a mandatory alcohol program and informal probation. Additionally, you may be required to give a sample of your DNA, complete Orange County AA meetings, community labor and pay additional restitution costs.
One of the most crucial things to remember is that if you are convicted of a first offense misdemeanor DUI you will likely be placed on informal probation. This means that you cannot pick up any new misdemeanors or felonies during probation. You may not drive with a measurable amount of alcohol.
There may be additional penalties depending on the circumstances of your case. For instance, if you have children under the age of 14 in your car you can be charged with felony child endangerment. Possession of controlled substances, chemical test refusals and excessive speed can also result in additional penalties.
Multiple Offense DUI Penalties
If you are convicted for a 2nd or a subsequent DUI in Orange County, you will be facing jail time. The maximum amount of jail time you can receive is 1 year. You will have to complete an 18-Month Alcohol Program. The program is mandatory by statute and is usually necessary to have your driving privileges reinstated. The Orange County District Attorney may require you to wear a SCRAM device that monitors alcohol consumption while the case is being negotiated or could make you post bail. AA meetings are often required, as well as an ignition interlock device. The fine can be increased and informal probation is 5 years instead of 3 years.
If you are arrested for a 3rd offense DUI, you may want to consider an inpatient alcohol program or Orange County’s DUI Court. DUI Court is an intense court regulated program that requires complete devotion for at least a year.
Felony DUI Penalties
Felony DUI penalties can include a county jail sentence or even state prison. You will likely be put on formal probation or be released on parole after serving time. Sentencing depends on the circumstances of your case.