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DUI Penalties in California – Some Thoughts

DUI Penalties in California

There are two tiers of penalties. One is for sentences without probation and the other is for sentences with probation. It is very rare to have a penalty without probation. For a first offense the minimum sentence is 2 days with probation. Without probation the minimum sentence is 4 days. Now, I would take the extra two days in jail, especially since days in jail means days cleaning up the highway. Not that probation is a big deal. It is informal and basically requires that you obey all laws. Still, it is a sword hanging over a client’s head in that the full potential sentence (6 months) can be imposed if there is a violation of probation. When we negotiate deals a no probation deal usually results in a significant jail time request (e.g. 30 days vs. 2) There are times this make sense. If your client has been in custody on multiple charges and has spent 30 days waiting for a plea deal, why not argue that 30 days is enough time and there should be no probation? I cite “multiple charges” because it is very rare for a client to sit in jail awaiting trial on a DUI alone. But other charges might keep him/her in jail and when these get dismissed a DUI may already have 30 days of credits for the time served.

Click this LINK for the chart of DUI penalties for 1st offense and subsequent offenses.

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