First Offensive DUI: Everything You Need to Know (2023)

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If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol for the first time, you are probably wondering about the consequences of a first offense DUI.

Unfortunately, even a first-time drunk driving conviction can have a serious impact on your life. It is important to know what to expect so that you understand the possible penalties and legal options available to you.

This guide to a first offense DUI tells you everything you need to know.


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(Video) What to expect with your first DUI.

What is a first offense DUI?

A DUI first offense is usually a misdemeanor. Although the exact definition of this offense may vary from state to state, you will typically face these charges in the following situations:

  • When you are first caught driving while your BAC is over 0.08% (or 0.05% in Utah).
  • If you are caught driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (or a combination of drugs and alcohol), which affects your ability to operate your vehicle safely.

You can be charged with a first offense DUI, even if you are not actually driving at the time, if you "operate" or physically control your vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. You can also be charged with this offense after taking legal or prescription drugs if they affect your ability to drive.

DUI charges are becoming more serious and penalties for repeat offenders are becoming more severe. But that doesn't mean a first offense DUI isn't a big deal.

What are the consequences of a first offense DUI?

The consequences of a first DUI offense depend on many factors, including the state you live in, what your BAC was, and whether there were extenuating circumstances that made the situation worse, such as: B. Driving with a child in the car at the time of the incident .

Here are some of the possible penalties you may face.

prison or probation

A prison sentence is an option for first-time DUI offenders, although not all face this consequence. Many people receive a suspended sentence instead of a prison sentence. You are more likely to serve a sentence for a first offense if your BAC was above a certain level, eg. 0.10.

Suspension of license

Your license will almost certainly be suspended after a first DUI offense. In fact, in many cases, once you've been arrested for impaired driving and even before a full criminal trial, administrative or automatic license revocation can occur.

You may have the right to appeal a license suspension or apply for a restricted license that allows you to drive to certain places, e.g. B. to work or to take your children to school.

ignition lock

In exchange for returning your driver's license, you may be required to have an ignition interlock installed in your vehicle. This is a special device that checks your BAC before you start the car and periodically while you drive.

(Video) First DUI? Here Is What To Expect

drug and alcohol counseling or treatment

You may need to seek drug or alcohol counseling or treatment after a first DUI offense. This may include inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, counseling, individual or group therapy, or a variety of other interventions, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Fines and fees

It is very likely that you will have to pay fines and fees as part of the penalties for a first DUI offense. These fines and fees can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Higher car insurance rates

Your car insurance rates will inevitably go up after a first DUI offense. You may be required to have SR-22 insurance, which means you must have a certificate of liability filed with your state. Not all insurance companies offer SR-22 coverage, and those that do usually charge higher rates.

What are your legal options after a first DUI offense?

You need to understand the different legal options available to you if you have been arrested for a first DUI offense, as there may be different ways to resolve your case.

(Video) First Offense DUI in Washington State What you need to know right away

redirect programs

Most states offer DUI diversion programs. These allow you to drop your charges so you don't face a permanent criminal record. These programs are typically only available to first-time offenders, and you may not be eligible if you are a commercial licensee or if your BAC was too high.

If you participate in a diversion program, you may be required to undergo drug and alcohol testing, counseling and/or treatment. You may also have to take a drug test and pay fines and fees.

A diversion program is one of the better ways to resolve your case if you do not believe that your DUI charges will be dismissed or you do not believe that you will be found not guilty of the crime. If you can avoid getting a criminal record, your DUI won't have as much of an impact on future opportunities.

Plea negotiations

You may be able to negotiate a plea deal for a first offense DUI. This means that you agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense or to the DUI itself in exchange for the prosecutor recommending less severe penalties. In some cases, it is possible to negotiate a plea agreement where you will be charged with reckless driving instead of drunk driving.

go to court

If you don't want to plead guilty or enter a diversion program, you can go to court and try to get the judge to drop the charges, or you can raise reasonable doubt to get acquitted (found not guilty) .

A jury trial can be helpful if you believe your constitutional rights were violated when the evidence was presented against you. You can ask the court to suppress the evidence or refuse to let it appear in court. If the evidence is not admissible, the prosecutor may not be able to prove their case.

If you believe there are other problems with the prosecutor's case, such as B. a faulty BAC test or insufficient evidence gathered by the police, you can also try to defend yourself in court to avoid a conviction and the resulting penalties .


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Get your free consultation from a lawyer in your area.

(Video) What will happen at my first DUI court appearance arraignment

Do you need a lawyer for a first offense DUI?

A DUI first offense is a serious criminal charge. You need an experienced drunk driving attorney to represent you and help you avoid the short and long term consequences of a driving license conviction. Your attorney will guide you through each step of your case to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your specific situation.

Frequently Asked Questions (Frequently Asked Questions)

What happens to first time DUI offenders?

First-time DUI offenders will likely be prosecuted for misdemeanor charges unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as: B. causing an accident or having a child in the car. In most cases, the offenders' driving licenses are revoked and they are given a suspended sentence. Drug and alcohol counseling may be required. First-time DUI offenders may also want to consider a diversion program, which may allow them to avoid a criminal record.

What is the likelihood of a jail sentence for a first DUI offense?

A prison sentence is possible for a first DUI offense, but not necessarily common unless there were extenuating circumstances, such as: B. causing an accident or a very high BAC. Probation is a more common punishment, along with a license suspension. If you want to maximize your chances of avoiding jail time, it's a good idea to speak with a DUI attorney to help explore your options.

(Video) First Offense DWI: Why You Need a Lawyer Right Away, Missouri DWI Lawyer Kim Benjamin Explains

Do you lose your license for a first offense DUI?

Most likely, your license will be suspended for a period of time for a first DUI offense. You may be able to appeal the suspension of your license or apply for a restricted license that allows you to drive for limited purposes, such as driving a car. B. to go to work. If you get a restricted license, you may have to pay to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle and use the device while driving.


What is the best case for a first time DUI? ›

Best Case. If you have been pulled over for allegedly driving under the influence, the best-case scenario you could hope for is that the officer(s) failed to gather enough evidence against you or made procedural, technical, or constitutional mistakes before, during or following your arrest.

What is the most common sentence for a DUI? ›

In most states, a first-offense DUI or DWI is classified as a misdemeanor and punishable by no more than six months or a year in jail. However, in a few states, the maximum jail time for a first DUI is even shorter.

What happens for your first DUI offense in Tennessee? ›

DUI Penalties in Tennessee

1st Offense – Up to 11 months 29 days in jail, $350-$1000 in fines, DUI School and/or Victim Impact Panel, and possible Ignition Interlock Device (IID). Mandatory 7 days in jail if BAC is over . 20%. 1-year license revocation.

What happens when you get your first DUI in Washington state? ›

A first time DUI in WA State is normally charged as a gross misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine. In all cases where a conviction is entered, there are mandatory minimum sentences, which a judge is required to impose and cannot reduce.

What is the toughest state on first-time DUI offenders? ›

In Arizona, it is mandatory for a first offense. While Arizona was the first, several states have followed suit and implemented or encouraged the use of an IID. Another reason Arizona is known as the toughest for first-time offenses is that you will lose your license the moment you are under arrest for a DUI.

How long do most DUI cases take? ›

A typical first-time DUI case will probably take between two and six months to conclude, depending on the complexity of the case and the schedule of the attorney.

How many days equal a month in jail? ›

Rather, every month in a sentence should be worth 30 days, such that every “year” would count as 360 days (12 months x 30 days), not 365.

What is the highest DUI state? ›

The four most dangerous states (Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and Idaho) for drunk driving share the same geographic region. The three least dangerous states also share a geographic region: District of Columbia had the fewest drunk driving issues, followed by New York and Pennsylvania.

What day of the year has the most DUI arrests? ›

Most Dangerous Holidays for DUI

New Year's Day is the deadliest day of the year for drunk driving.

Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI in Tennessee? ›

Since first-time DUI offenses automatically result in a one-year suspension of your license, there is no reason to assign points to your license. Additionally, second offenses result in a two-year suspension, and third offenses result in a six-year suspension.

How do I beat a DUI in Tennessee? ›

There is no 'way to beat a DUI', unless you entirely refrain from drinking, drugs and driving. There are however complex legal issues which need to be examined by a DUI lawyer to ensure that your rights are being protected and that the evidence which is being used against you in the DUI case is admissible.

Do you get probation for a DUI Tennessee? ›

A typical first-time offender with no aggravating circumstances convicted of DUI in Tennessee will be looking at an 11-month, 29-day sentence, with probably 48 hours to be served in jail and the remaining 11 months and 27 days on probation.

How much is DUI bail in Washington State? ›

Bail in a typical DUI case can range from $0 - $10,000. If the juge sets bail in your case then you will have to pay that amount to be released. If you cannot pay the entire amount you may use a bail bondsman to help you post bond.

How long does a DUI stay on my record in Washington State? ›

According to the Washington Department of Licensing, alcohol-related convictions will appear on your driving record for life (99 years). However, not just anyone can access your complete driving record, and state law places limits on how long an arrest or conviction can appear on a background check.

Do you lose your license immediately after a DUI in Washington State? ›

When you are arrested or a DUI in Washington State, the arrest triggers administrative action with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). Your license will automatically be suspended if you do not request an administrative hearing.

What is the strangest DUI cases? ›

A UK man was arrested for DUI for driving a pink Barbie car at over 2x the legal BAC. A Florida man was arrested driving a go-kart at 4:00 am. Reportedly too drunk to stand up, he said he was on his way to McDonald's. While driving a Christmas parade float drunk, a man passed another float and sped off.

What state has the lowest DUI? ›

Washington D.C. the lowest rate of DUI arrests by far. Our nation's capital has a rate of only 3.2 arrests per 100k people. That's 82.7% lower than the state with the second lowest rate of DUI arrests, Illinois.

What state has lowest DUI level? ›

Utah is the only state where the per se BAC limit is not 0.08%; it is 0.05% in Utah. Increased penalties will result from BAC levels of 0.16% or more.

How long does it take to get DUI blood test results in CA? ›

These independent findings are admissible in court and may prove your innocence in a DUI case. The DUI blood test results time is usually about four to six weeks, so make sure to plan accordingly when it comes to your court date.

What happens if the cop doesn t show up to court for DUI in illinois? ›

If your arresting officer misses your initial hearing, your case won't be dismissed out of hand. Instead, the presiding judge will subpoena your arresting officer on an “on-call” basis. In other words, he or she will be required to appear at your hearing when it occurs.

Is jail time mandatory for 1st DUI in California? ›

Jail Time Is (Usually) Mandatory for DUIs. For a first time DUI offender, jail time sentencing is typically handled under California Vehicle Code Section 23536. Under this statute, a person convicted of a DUI is required to serve time in the county jail.

How long do you spend in your cell in jail? ›

Across the country, in many jurisdictions, prisoners are required to spend 23 hours in their cells on weekdays, and in many, 24 hours in their cells on weekends. The permitted hours out-of-cell ranged from 3 to 7 a week in many jurisdictions.

Does 1 day count as 2 in jail? ›

Under California law, any part of a day in custody is counted as one day (California Penal Code section 2900.5).

What percentage of a sentence do you serve? ›

The percent of sentence required to be served under truth in sentencing in general spans from 50% to 100% of a minimum sentence (table 1).

Which states are hardest on Duis? ›

Arizona is the state with the harshest DUI laws and the only one to earn a perfect 5.0-star rating. Arizona's tough laws include mandatory ignition interlock devices for all DUI convictions. Having a child in the vehicle when arrested for a DUI is also considered a felony in Arizona.

What is the lowest DUI limit? ›

It is illegal for you to drive if you have a BAC of:
  • 0.08% or higher if you are over 21 years old.
  • 0.01% or higher if you are under 21 years old.
  • 0.01% or higher at any age if you are on DUI probation.
  • 0.04% or higher if you drive a vehicle that requires a commercial driver's license.

What age group has the most DUI? ›

Young people are the most at-risk for drunk driving. NHTSA data shows that drivers between the ages of 21-24 account for 27% of all fatal alcohol-impaired crashes, followed closely by 25-34 year olds (25%).

Which state has the most relaxed DUI laws? ›

The most lenient state—South Dakota—has no mandatory minimum jail time for first-time DUI offenders whatsoever. Generally, every state's DUI law defines legal intoxication as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of . 08 and above.

Which county has most DUI? ›

Among the 15 large counties with the most drunk-driving deaths, 10 are located in Texas.
Small CountiesShareShare
1. Lubbock County, TX49%43%
2. Hays County, TX48%42%
3. Galveston County, TX47%42%
4. New London County, CT44%41%
11 more rows

How do I get a hardship license after a DUI in TN? ›

How to Get a DUI Hardship License in Tennessee? In order to apply for a DUI Restricted License in Tennessee, you must first request a certified order signed by a judge in the court where you were convicted of your DUI or in the court of the county where you reside.

How much is bail for a DUI in Tennessee? ›

Typically, the presumptive amount is around $1,500 for a misdemeanor and $2,000 + for felony DUI. Other factors, such as aggravating circumstances (child passenger) or additional charges (open container) may affect the presumptive amount. Bail usually includes conditions as well.

How much does a DUI attorney cost in Tennessee? ›

Usually, a DUI attorney is going to range from $5,000 up to probably $15,000 for a DUI first offense. If you are convicted of a DUI, the minimum fine is $350 up to $1,500. Insurance expenses are the court cost.

What is the minimum sentence for a first time DUI in Tennessee? ›

Tennessee has mandatory jail time for first time DUI offenders. At a minimum, offenders will get 48 hours in jail, unless your BAC was . 20 or higher, then the minimum is 7 days. However, a first time DUI can give you up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a $350-$1,500 fine.

Can a DUI be reduced to reckless driving in Tennessee? ›

As we mentioned above, reckless driving is also a lesser included offense for those charged with DUI in Tennessee. For instance, in Tennessee, many individuals charged with DUI will also be charged with reckless driving on the affidavit.

How long does a DUI in Tennessee stay on your record? ›

A DUI will stay on your record for life.

Additionally, if you were initially charged with a DUI but convicted of a lesser offense, often reckless driving or reckless endangerment, your record may be expunged.

Can you drive after DUI before court date Tennessee? ›

The statute allows for a judge to order a DUI offender to only drive to and from their place of work or to drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device while a DUI charge is pending. This restriction is in addition to any other restrictions on the license at the time.

Does a DUI show up on a background check in TN? ›

As a general rule, a DUI conviction will appear on a pre-employment background check. There is a new exception to the rule called “ban the box.” Tennessee's public employers must comply with a new law that helps job applicants who have a criminal record including a DUI.

Is a DUI a felony in TN? ›

A DUI is a misdemeanor in Tennessee, specifically a class A misdemeanor; however, the fourth DUI conviction, is a class E felony. The first three DUI convictions will have a maximum amount of jail time of eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail.

Is a DUI a felony in WA? ›

DUI Jail Penalties in Washington. A DUI in Washington is a gross misdemeanor meaning that it is punishable by up to 365 days in jail. Only in the most extreme cases is one actually sentenced to that amount. There are, however, mandatory minimum jail sentences that must be given if a person is convicted for DUI.

How long do you go to jail for a second DUI in Washington state? ›

Additionally, Washington state has harsh mandatory minimum jail time on a second offense DUI. This means that if you are convicted for a 2nd DUI you will serve a mandatory 30-45 days in jail depending on you level of intoxication at the time of arrest.

What is the minimum sentence for a DUI in Washington state? ›

The mandatory minimum sentence for a DUI under . 15 or with no BAC test is 90 days in jail, followed by 120 days of home arrest. If the BAC was . 15 and above or you refused the test, the minimum sentence will be 120 days in jail, followed by 150 days of home confinement.

How do you get a DUI dismissed in Washington? ›

A DUI can be dismissed either by decision of the prosecutor, order of the court after motion hearings or by an acquittal after a jury or non-jury trial. The specifics of how this would occur or the likelihood of a dismissal can only be discussed after a full consultation and consideration of the fact in your case.

What happens when you get your first DUI in Washington State? ›

A first time DUI in WA State is normally charged as a gross misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine. In all cases where a conviction is entered, there are mandatory minimum sentences, which a judge is required to impose and cannot reduce.

How to get your license back after a DUI in Washington State? ›

If your license is suspended due to a DUI or other criminal offense, there are specific steps you have to take to reinstate it—you may have to complete an alcohol or drug treatment program, successfully pass a driving test, or install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle.

Can I drive after a DUI Washington? ›

If you're convicted of a DUI in Washington, your driver license will be suspended for 90 days to four years, depending on prior offenses and the severity of the incident. The suspension will begin 45 days after your conviction.

What are the treatment requirements for a DUI in Washington State? ›

By law in Washington, the court will require that one convicted of DUI undergo an alcohol or drug evaluation to determine if there is a drug or alcohol problem. The court will also require that person to undergo any recommended treatment as a condition of sentence.

What to do after a DUI in Washington State? ›

Except in rare circumstances, a person accused of DUI in Washington State will be required to undergo an alcohol and drug treatment evaluation. There are three main components to this evaluation: the client, interview, the level of the breath test, and the number of DUI or alcohol related incidents.

Is jail time mandatory for 1st DUI in Florida? ›

There's no mandatory minimum jail time for most first-offense DUIs. The maximum possible sentence depends on the circumstances of the case. Here are the maximum jail terms for first-offense DUIs involving the following circumstances: six months for a standard DUI.

Do first-time DUI offenders go to jail in Florida? ›

Criminal Penalties You May Face for a First-Time DUI Conviction. A conviction for a first-time DUI offense in the state of Florida could cost you as much as $1,000, up to six months in jail, the possibility of losing your driver's licenses for up to six months, and fifty hours of community service.

Is Florida hard on DUI? ›

The Florida DUI law is harsh, even for first-time DUI offenses.

What is the most common penalty for a first-time conviction of DUI quizlet? ›

The most common penalty for a first-time conviction of DWI or DUI is... Driver's license suspension.

How long do you lose your license for a 1st DUI in Florida? ›

Driver License Revocation Periods for DUI

First offense without bodily injury: Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum one year. First offense with bodily injury: Minimum three years revocation. Second offense within five years from prior conviction: Minimum five years revocation.

Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI in Florida? ›

The administrative suspension of your driver's license does not take effect until 10 days after the date of your DUI arrest. During the 10 days, you use your DUI citation as your temporary license. You can potentially save your driver's license if you challenge the suspension within 10 days of your arrest.

How long before a DUI is off your record in Florida? ›

While most states keep a DUI on your record for a minimum of ten years, Florida will keep a DUI conviction on your record for 75 years. The Sunshine State will not allow any DUI convictions to be expunged.

Is probation mandatory for a DUI in Florida? ›

Florida's DUI statute says that each person found guilty of DUI must receive probation as part of their sentence. The terms of probation for a DUI charge are similar to those for any offense.

What to expect after a DUI in Florida? ›

What Happens Next?
  • Fines. DUIs result in fines that can add up quickly. ...
  • Community Service. Community service is often one of the requirements you will need to fulfill after getting a DUI. ...
  • Probation. ...
  • Jail Time. ...
  • License Suspension.
May 5, 2021

What to expect in DUI class Florida? ›

The class involves a substance abuse evaluation, psychosocial evaluation, and discussions and activities centered around the issues regarding the use of alcohol and drugs. While the fee varies for each school, you can expect to pay between $260 and $290.

How can I beat a DUI in Florida? ›

10 Challenges Our Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer Can Use
  1. 1) Challenging the way the police officer handled the stop. ...
  2. 2) Challenging the stop itself. ...
  3. 3) Challenging the use of field sobriety tests as evidence. ...
  4. 4) Challenging conditions at time of arrest. ...
  5. 5) Challenging the use of a Breathalyzer as evidence for arrest.

Can I drink after DUI Florida? ›

As part of your DUI probation, the judge may require that you don't drink alcohol or use drugs. However, there is no requirement that the judge prohibits you from using alcohol. That means that in some cases, those on DUI probation will not be required to abstain from alcohol.

How do I get a hardship license after a DUI in Florida? ›

How to get a hardship license in Florida
  1. Enroll in DUI School: There are many options for DUI schools in Jacksonville.
  2. Bring Proof of Enrollment: You will need to have proof of enrollment in a DUI school for the DHSMV Administrative Review Office. ...
  3. Get an actual license at the regular DMV office.
Apr 27, 2016

What do penalties for your first DUI conviction include in Florida? ›

Consequences of a Florida DUI: First Offense

A first-offense DUI charge can carry the following consequences: Fines: You may be fined at least $500 and up to $1,000. Jail time: You may be imprisoned for up to six months. Driver's license suspension: Your license may be suspended for 180 days.

What could a first time offender convicted of DUI face? ›

A DUI conviction in California means facing a variety of severe penalties. Even on a first conviction, you can be fined for thousands of dollars, have your license suspended for 6 months, and be forced to attend costly DUI classes.

What is the most typical punishment for first time misdemeanor? ›

The standard penalty for a misdemeanor crime is up to one year in county jail and/or a fine up to $1,000. However, unless the code states otherwise, any offense considered a misdemeanor will have county jail time of up to 6 months.


1. What Happens to You on a First-Time DUI?
(Law Office of John Guidry, P.A.)
2. First-Time DUI Offenders: What to Expect
(Brian M. Fishman)
3. First offense OWI / drunk driving in Michigan. what you need to know.
(Doug Dern)
4. What to Expect With Your First DUI | Washington State
(The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear)
5. Is Jail Required for a First Offense DUI in Arizona?
(Robert Gouveia Esq.)
6. First Offense DUI – What You Need To Know After The Arrest Has Happened
(Matthew Russell)


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