At the beginning of 2022, the law regarding DUI diversion changed. DUIs are no longer eligible for diversion in California. Please contact our office with any questions. Email us at OR Call us at: (415) 523-7878

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Penalties For A First DUI Offense In San Francisco County

Getting charged with a DUI offense in the San Francisco area can be tough, even if it is a first DUI offense. The authorities usually do not go easy on drivers if they suspect that they were driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. In fact, law enforcement is bent on arresting anyone they consider to be driving while intoxicated. If you are arrested and charged with a first offense DUI, it is important to understand the process, consequences, and your legal options.

In the San Francisco area, an arrest for a first DUI offense is typically followed by the immediate confiscation of your driver’s license. The arresting police officer will take your driver’s license and, in turn, give you a notice of suspension and a temporary driver’s license. The temporary driver’s license is valid for 30 days. However, it is worth noting that you only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a DMV administrative hearing to contest the suspension of your driver’s license. If you do not contact the DMV and set a hearing, you will lose any chance of driving after the 30 days are up under the temporary license. Moreover, the suspension will stay on your driving record even if you are not convicted for a DUI in Court. It is highly recommended to hire an experienced DUI attorney since it can be challenging to deal with the DMV without expert guidance and counsel. The rules, laws and procedures at DMV for Administrative Hearings are complex. Your greatest chance to save your driver’s license or minimize any suspension/restriction of your license is to hire the best DUI lawyer you can find.

Hiring a DUI attorney can prove extremely valuable. For starters, an attorney can request the DMV hearing and appear on your behalf. Once the DMV hearing is set, your attorney can help procure a regular license with no restrictions that will allow you to drive for months as if the DUI never happened. In some cases, your attorney can help you avoid a license suspension, which will negate the need for a restricted license or the installation of an ignition interlock device.

The length of time a driver’s license will be suspended may depend on whether the driver refused or submitted to a chemical test. For a first DUI offense, if a driver submitted to a chemical test and the blood alcohol content (BAC) was at .08% or higher, the DMV Administrative Suspension is four months. However, if convicted in court for the offense the suspension would be six months. If the alcohol level is over .20% the suspension may be longer since a longer DUI School would be required. And if suspended for a Refusal to submit to a chemical test the suspension is a minimum of one year with no restriction options.

DUIs In San Francisco Are Criminal Cases

In addition to the DMV administrative hearing, which is heard civilly, DUIs are also handled by the criminal justice system. DUIs in San Francisco are prosecuted by the district attorney’s office. The prosecution usually imposes at least two charges against the driver. The first DUI charge is defined under California Vehicle Code Section 23152, subdivision (a): It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage, to drive a vehicle. The second DUI charge is defined under California Vehicle Code Section 23152, subdivision (b): It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. If arrested for DUI Drugs or Drugs and Alcohol combined those charges would be California Vehicle Code Section 23152, subsections (f) or (g).

The penalties for a first DUI offense will depend on the circumstances surrounding the case, the evidence presented, and whether there are enhanced charges or aggravating factors accompanying the standard DUI charges. 

The standard penalties for a first DUI offense in San Francisco include: 

  • Up to six months in the San Francisco County Jail
  • Fines: $390 up to $1,000 plus any penalty assessments
  • Three to five years of probation
  • Driver’s license suspension: up to 12 months with the possibility of getting a restricted license or installing an ignition interlock device
  • DUI school

Depending on the charges and conviction, the court may order the defendant to perform community service hours, attend AA meetings, attend a MADD Victim Impact Panel meeting, install an ignition interlock device, pay restitution, and be subject to search and seizure of person and or property.

DUI charges should not be taken lightly. In addition to the penalties mentioned above, the consequences of a DUI can result in serious repercussions that extend to your personal life as well. For a detailed assessment of your case, it is advised to contact a DUI attorney who represents clients in the San Francisco area. Retaining an attorney can significantly help your chances of getting your DUI charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed. Also there is a new Diversion Law in California and an experienced San Francisco DUI Lawyer may be able to obtain a Diversion instead of a Conviction. This would result in having no conviction on your permanent criminal record.

For more information on 1st DUI Offense In San Francisco County, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

Aaron Bortel

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