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I got my first DUI charge, a misdemeanor. Am I going to jail?

Sacramento, CA |

I went and had a couple of drinks on my birthday and was caught driving under the influenceof alcohol. I was charged with a DUI and was released the next day.

I have never been in trouble my entire life, and have no criminal history. I'm a broke grad student and do not have money for an attorney. What should I do? Am I going to jail?

I was charged with 2 counts: 1. Being under the influence of alcohol 2. Having a BAC over .08

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Attorney answers 4


Hello, Jail time on a first offense DUI is unlikely but it is a possibility. DUI is usually charged in two ways. 1. Driving under the influence and 2. Driving with a .08 or above. The punishment on both can carry fines, a DUI program requirement and up to 6 months in county jail.

Most people convicted of a fist offense will be allowed to serve any jail time on an alternative program such as sheriff's work or electronic home detention.

DUIs are serious as they can be used as prior convictions for 10 years, a conviction can have immigration and/or travel consequences and could be detrimental to future employment.

You should immediately call an experienced aggressive DUI attorney to assist you. Also, you have only 10 days to request a DMV hearing or you license will automatically be suspended, assuming you were above a .08 bac or you refused a chemical test.

John Stanko


I wiuld agree with the previous posting, while i do not practice law in your state it is generally uncommon to get sentenced to jail time in a first time DUI, with no priors, and no specific injuries or accidents...


Both of the preceding answers are correct, our office routinely handles cases in sacramento and it is unusual for a first offense to result in jail time. That being said, sometimes facts are serious and the District Attorney may ask for jail time, and experienced lawyer can help you determine what if any defenses may be available to you, based on your facts, AND whether or not jail is a possible aspect of your case.

Good Luck


You can ask to have a public defender appointed. The attorney should review the police report and make sure the police did what they were supposed to do - and that the DA can prove the DUI. In Sacramento County with low blood alcohol (l08+ ) you have one day of credit in jail (maybe two depending on when you were taken in and released.) - you can do work project on the 2d day (2 days required on first as long as blood alcohol is not too high) you will have to do the first offender program - you will pay fines and fees of approx 2,000 + - the DUI will be on your record for 10 yrs. You will be on probation - usually won't see a probation officer - they are too busy - and it is generally name only. On your first appearance in court the court can give you an idea of what the DA's offer is (it should be similar to above) - and you can decide to take it without seeing a public defender - generally not recommended - but many people do it because they don't want to come back to court more than once. Good luck.