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Will I get jail time for my first offense DUI in California? Should I hire a lawyer or just get a public defender?

Los Angeles, CA |

Will I go to jail for my first DUI in California? Should I hire a DUI lawyer or just get a public defender? I am a Connecticut Resident and have a Connecticut Driver's License and I was driving on the I-10 freeway in CA when a car suddenly cut me off. I swerved and I ended up hitting the concrete barrier. I didn't have a cell phone to call 911 so I decided to drive home. On my way home, I was pulled over for dragging my bumper and was given a Field Sobriety Test. I blew a .11 BAC and was arrested for DUI. Then I was given a court date after spending 24 hours in Jail.

This is my first offense. Will I go to jail for my first DUI? Is there any way to do community service instead? Should I hire a DUI lawyer vs. a public defender?

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Attorney answers 2


You should hire a DUI lawyer over a public defender for your first DUI offense. A public defender may be able to adequately represent you in court, but cannot do anything about your driver's license, which considering you are not a California licensed driver is a fairly complicated situation because you will have the interplay of Connecticut law and California law affecting your ability to drive. The same lawyer can discuss with you the defenses that you have available to you, the likely outcomes as well as any sentencing options that are available to you. Because you were involved in an accident the chances of you beating the charges without going to trial are somewhat reduced, however your low blood alcohol concentration can definitely help your case. In many counties you will not go to jail for your first DUI; community service is the typical sentence.


You wanted to know if you will go to jail when you go to your hearing? The first court date is an arraignment where your attorney can usually appear without you. A plea of not guilty is usually entered and a new court date is set. Any possible jail down the road (many months later) can usually be converted to a work program or community service.

You should hire a local DUI lawyer vs. a public defender, especially one who is a member of the National College for DUI Defense. This lawyer will have access to DUI lawyers in Connecticut who can help answer interstate questions. Give the attorney you hire a chance to fight and win the case. He or she will be able to answer most of your questions in detail and most give a free consultation by phone or in person. Both lawyers who answered your questions are members of this organization and top DUI lawyers. Mr. Geller is located in Los Angeles and I highly recommend him.