Every case has the potential to be different based on their own individual facts, DAs, judges, etc. Generally speaking, 1st DUIs tend to be probation only no jail, but aggravating factors like high BAC or accidents or horrible attitudes towards the cops can change it to some jail or in home detention depending on the jurisdiction.
Refusal cases are also often defensible. He should contact an attorney to look into his case and determine assess his case for him so that he can make a good decision with respect to plea or trial.
Immigration consequences are very fact specific and small seemingly inconsequential charges can have profound repercussions (like any charge that deals with drugs). He needs to speak with an attorney to determine what his specific situation looks like. Without having the file in front of me, I would not feel comfortable giving a solid answer.
Good luck. Many of us DUI attorneys on Avvo give free consultations so call a few and find one you like. DUIs are very technical cases and you really want a person who focuses on them and spends the time learning the ins and outs of trying these types of cases.
Lubchenco, Kendrick, & Baldridge, L.L.P. 720-644-6413. The information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in a free consultation, please contact us at 720-644-6413.
No ethical attorney will speculate about a potential outcome of case, especially one with so few facts known. If you want to minimize the potential penalties your boyfriend faces, you should tell him to hire a DUI Defense attorney. Without an attorney, you are at the mercy of the DA and Court.
Take advantage of Free Consultations and then make a decision on what you guys want to do and who you want to hire, if anyone.
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I agree with the other responses; I would just add that you might want to also post this question in the immigration law section as well. As Nicholas said, analyzing the potential immigration consequences of a criminal charge depends very much on the facts of an individual case and the defendant's specific immigration status and history.
In addition to consulting with a criminal attorney, your boyfriend should consult with an immigration lawyer to discuss what, if any, are the long term and immigration ramifications of accepting a plea or obtaining a conviction in this case. Any criminal case can have serious ramifications for a non-citizen. It can cause deportation or at the minimum, can prevent a person from becoming a citizen permanently, or for a certain period of time. Your boyfriend should not do this case without an attorney who is well-versed in both criminal and immigration law. Good luck to you both.