Will I Go To Jail For A DUI?

By April 19, 2017 DUI Law

When faced with a DUI charge, there is a very real fear of the outcome. Skillful representation will help you avoid as many penalties as possible after a DUI arrest.

However, if a plea deal or a guilty verdict are the only options, there are two possibilities available for sentencing: jail time and probation.

Understanding the Law

First Time Offense: For the first DUI conviction, the penalties are up to 6 months in county jail and community supervision (probation) for three to five years.

First Time Offense with Enhancements: Certain enhancements, such as having a child under 14 years of age in the vehicle with you, driving 20 mph over the speed limit (or 30 mph over the speed limit on the highway), having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of over 0.15% (twice the legal limit of .08%), or refusing to submit to a specimen test, raise the minimum penalties.

If your charge includes the speed enhancement, you must spend a minimum of 60 days in jail. If your charge includes the refusal for specimen testing, your license will be suspended for one year with no possibility of an occupational license.

Prior Offenses: If you have one or two prior DUI convictions, your mandatory jail sentence will be increased, and your license will be suspended longer. If you are found guilty of a fourth DUI, the charge is a felony and you might face incarceration at a state prison.

License Suspension: In addition to jail or probation, DUI offenses carry a license suspension. If this is your first offense and you have no enhancements, your license will be suspended for four months.

If you provide proof of enrollment in DUI school and proof of insurance, the license suspension can be reduced to one month, followed by five months of restricted driving with a work permit. If you refused a specimen test during the arrest, the license suspension is increased to one year, and no work permit option is available.

If you are found guilty of a second DUI offense within 10 years of your first, the license suspension increases to one year (or two years if a specimen test was refused).

If your license has been suspended, call an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest so we may contest your license suspension (this must be done within 10 calendar days of an arrest).

Will I Be Able to Avoid Jail?

Your attorney will fight for you to avoid repercussions like jail time; however, there are other penalties that may be associated with a DUI conviction.

In some cases, you may be able to choose probation. This option is generally available for first time offenders, and can be made available for subsequent arrests depending on the circumstances.


For those who cannot or don’t wish to service time in jail, and are not required to do so by statute, probation may be an option.

In California, there are two types of probation – formal and informal. Informal probation does not require meeting with a probation officer and generally requires occasional reporting to the court (such as to provide proof of completion of classes, report a change of address, etc.).

Depending on the facts of your case, the judge may order formal probation. Formal probation allows those convicted of DUI to remain out of jail while under the supervision of an officer with the California Department of Corrections.

The terms of formal probation vary, but standard provisions are as follows:

  • Meet with a probation officer once a month
  • Abstain from drugs and alcohol during the probation sentence
  • Submit to random specimen tests to screen for use of drugs and alcohol
  • Attend DUI education classes
  • Pay fines to the court and to your probation officer
  • Install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
  • Maintain continuous employment
  • Perform community service
  • Attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
  • Attend a DUI Victim Impact Panel

The judge in your case may assign any number of these provisions as well as others he or she sees fit.

Call Beahm Law Today

If you have been arrested for DUI, contact Beahm Law today to make sure you have trusted representation for your case. Jason Beahm will fight for your cause to keep you from serving jail time or license suspension.

Call today at 415-493-8677 or contact us online.