Will I Go to Jail for a California DUI Conviction?
Even your first California DUI conviction carries a minimum jail sentence, which can be as short as 96 hours (four days) or as long as six months. For subsequent arrests, you could be sentenced to up to one year in county prison, depending on the facts of your offense and how many prior drunk driving convictions you have. In the extreme case of a DUI that results in someone’s death, you could face a life sentence in state prison. For more information about the specific penalties you face for some common situations, see Fines and Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in California.
Credit for Time Served and Alternative Arrangements
If you have spent any time in police custody prior to your sentencing, this will be credited against any prison sentence you receive. This means you will usually receive one day’s credit for when you were being booked. Your San Francisco DUI attorney may be able to convince the court to convert any remaining prison time to some arrangement other than serving it all in one consecutive block.
The state doesn’t benefit from causing you to lose your job, which is a likely consequence of missing several days of work due to a prison sentence. A judge may be willing to work with you to accommodate your work schedule, such as by allowing you to serve your sentence on weekends only or allowing you to go to work as you normally would, returning to custody every night.
Another attractive alternative to incarceration is community service, which allows a person convicted of driving under the influence to give back to the community in various ways. If your San Francisco DUI attorney is able to get the judge to agree to community service in lieu of serving your prison sentence, you will most likely be credited with one hour of prison time for every hour of volunteer work you do.
The cliché community service sentence is picking up litter by the roadside. This can be an option, but if you have special interests or abilities, you may be able to find a more enjoyable way to repay your debt, such as volunteering at an animal shelter or for the Red Cross.
A San Jose Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Can Help
An experienced DUI attorney may be able to let you know of other sentencing alternatives that might be available in your case. If you are not already represented, please fill out the free evaluation form on this website.