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DUI Jail Time

How Much Jail Time Will You Face for a California DUI?

DUIs are treated very seriously, and people don't realize that until they're placed in the back of a police car and then taken to the police station.  They won't let that person go until they feel confident the person is not going to get in a car again intoxicated.

How Much Jail Time Will You Face for a California DUI?

Under California law, you are facing the possibility of jail time for any DUI conviction, but a significant factor is whether you have any prior DUI convictions.

So, many times they test either their blood or their breath.  If it's a blood test, they're probably going to keep the person for at least 12 hours because they don't get the result immediately.

If it's a breath, it will probably depend on whether the person has a criminal record and whether or not their blood alcohol level is high, so they have to leave them in custody, and there's no way to get out.  You can't bail out until you're safe.  People don't realize that.

Many people don't realize that a DUI is a misdemeanor crime, and a first offense could get you up to six months in jail, and a second offense could get you up to a year in jail.  There are also mandatory minimums when you get your second and third offenses for DUIs.

Typically, on the first offense in Los Angeles County, you're not going to jail unless you hurt someone or have a very high blood alcohol level.  Other circumstances include:

  • how fast were you going?
  • did you get involved in a car accident?
  • how high was your blood alcohol level?
  • do you have prior DUIs?

How Much Jail Time for a Los Angeles DUI?

Regarding how much jail time you're looking at if you're arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, it will depend on a host of factors, and that's kind of what this article is about.

The first factor will be whether it's your first, second, third, or fourth time DUI.  Depending on what happened during your arrest, you have a good chance of avoiding jail for a first-time DUI.

How Much Jail Time for a Los Angeles DUI?

If it's a second-time DUI, it's a mandatory 96 hours in jail up to a year, as long as it is filed as a misdemeanor and not a felony.  The felony filing would cause you to be facing three years in prison.

Other factors that determine whether or not you're going to get any jail time are, if it's a third time, you're looking at a minimum of 120 days up to a maximum of a year, as long as it is not a felony.

If it's a fourth time, it's going to be filed as a felony, and you're going to be facing three years in state prison. Suppose you have a prior felony conviction and you get a new DUI.

In that case, it will be filed as a felony, and you'll face up to three years in prison unless you cause great bodily injury to somebody during the DUI, and then they'll add an extra three years.

So, in review, here are the basic jail sentences for each California driving under the influence charge:

  • First DUI includes a minimum of 2 days of jail time and a maximum of six months. If you receive the minimum, you could be allowed to avoid jail if you accept 90 days of restricted driving;
  • Second DUI includes ten days of jail time and a maximum of one year. If you receive the minimum, you might be allowed to serve it in stages instead of all at once. Perhaps it can be reduced to just four days if you agree to do two 48-straight-hour sessions;
  • Third DUI includes a minimum of 120 days of jail time and a maximum of one year;
  • Fourth DUI includes a minimum of 180 days of jail time and a maximum of one year or 16 months in state prison.
  • Felony DUI is charged if you cause a serious injury to someone or have prior convictions. The sentence can be one to five years in state prison.

DUI Sentence Enhancements in California

A sentence enhancement can be imposed when aggravating circumstances surround your DUI.

An enhancement carries additional penalties on top of the standard DUI penalties and includes the most common sentencing enhancements;

  • blood alcohol level was very high, such as 0.15% or greater;
  • refusal to take a blood, breath, or urine test;
  • causing an accident or injuring someone;

If you face a potential sentence enhancement, your DUI attorney might be able to help get your charge reduced to a regular DUI or even something less serious.

So, this gives you a feel for how serious DUIs are treated in California, specifically in Los Angeles, a vast metropolis with many people drinking and driving and acting dangerously.

What Are Other Factors for Deciding Jail Time?

You're best bet if you've been arrested for a DUI, even if it's your first offense, get an attorney.  Do it once.  Do it right.  Never do it again. 

You don't want to be in a position where you keep going back to court through drinking, driving, or driving on a suspended license because the judge will stick you with jail time.  The more dangerous you're perceived, the more likely you'll get jail time.

Other factors they will look at besides your criminal record are what you did when you got pulled over.  In other words:

  • were you dangerous? 
  • were you going 100 mph? 
  • they'll look at your blood alcohol level;  
  • were you double the legal limit or even more, which makes you very dangerous; 
  • did you get into an accident?  Again, danger.  People get hurt. 

If you're hurting other people on the road or you have the potential to hurt others on the road, you're going to get jail or prison time from the criminal courts, especially in LA.  They don't mess around. 

You'll see, when you go for your arraignment, if you have a high blood alcohol level, multiple DUIs, or got in an accident, they're going to make you to AA meetings to stay out on your own recognizance if the police release you with a citing ticket. 

How Can You Avoid Jail Time?

Perhaps we can negotiate a lesser charge or agree to a favorable plea bargain to avoid jail time. The judge then takes control of the case.

How Can You Avoid Jail Time for a California DUI?

They can take you into custody. Sometimes, if they feel you are dangerous based on your record or what happened in this case, they can make you where a scram bracelet on your ankle that detects alcohol.

The judge will order you not to drink any alcohol while the case is pending, especially during the holidays. 

They know people drink and drive.  They're geared towards helping protect the public and ensuring people who get DUIs are punished.

So, you need the best.  Let me put my 30 years of experience to work for you, having worked for the district attorney's office, a superior court judge, the State Bar of California, and for you since the early 1990s.  I've handled thousands of DUI cases.

Pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you. The Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles, CA.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about DUI law issues in California and throughout the United States.

I'll privately discuss your case with you at your convenience. All consultations are free, discreet, and confidential. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.