First Offense DUI in Orange County

A first time DUI charge can be an intimidating experience for anyone in Orange County.

For many people, it is the first time they have ever been inside a police station. In addition, the legal processes involved in a DUI charge can be confusing, misleading, and often frustrating.

Attempting to handle this situation without a DUI attorney is extremely difficult, but the attorneys at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian are experienced in defending against these allegations and guiding you through the process, step by step

Regardless of how compelling the evidence is, our team at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian is ready to defend you or a loved one against a first time DUI charge.

If a dismissal or acquittal is impossible, our legal team will work in your best interests to minimize the potential consequences for your future.

What happens with a first-time DUI in Orange County?

When you are stopped and arrested by law enforcement on suspicion of a DUI, you should always ask to speak to a DUI lawyer at the earliest opportunity.

The stakes are extremely high and a first-time DUI charge can adversely affect your future. Both the short-term punishments and the longer-term consequences can impact your freedom, employment, education, and other important matters.

When you are detained, whether at a checkpoint or routine traffic stop, you will be subjected to questioning by a police officer. You also may be asked to blow into a breathalyzer machine (also known as a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test) and perform field sobriety tests.

Law enforcement officers must follow a strict set of guidelines regarding their questioning, the tests they use, and how they perform these tests.

If you are arrested, you will usually be taken to the police station where you will be photographed and fingerprinted.

At the police station, you will be required to submit to either a blood or breath test to determine your blood alcohol content. This requirement of testing is mandatory. The police are required to offer you a choice of blood or breath, but if you refuse to do either one you could face severe consequences, including severe impacts on your driving privilege.

If charged, our legal team will work towards your immediate release and start examining the evidence against you. Your lawyer will also explain the legal steps regarding your court hearing and potential trial.

What to do if you are arrested for a DUI? 

  • It is best to avoid the temptation of saying too much as it may harm your case.
  • Never admit guilt no matter how much you think you are over the limit.
  • Try to stay calm.
  • The more nervous you are, the more likely you are to say something that could land you in more trouble.
  • You have a right to remain silent.
  • Ask to speak to your lawyer as soon as possible.
Orange County DUI Attorneys


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We offer a free consultation so you can understand your rights and the charges against you before deciding to hire us to defend you.

First DUI consequences

The criminal justice system in California severely penalizes driving under the influence cases, even if it is your first time.

In the vast majority of cases, a first time DUI will be treated as a misdemeanor charge but even this can mean a lifelong criminal record.

Penalties for a first time DUI in California are harsher than in some other states and may be increased if anyone other than the accused is either hurt or killed as a result of the DUI incident. These cases may also be charged as felony DUI offenses.

However, with our team of attorneys, you may escape the most severe consequences.

1st DUI penalties

1st DUI misdemeanor charge

1st DUI causing injury or death

1st felony DUI

For a standard first time DUI misdemeanor charge, you may face the following penalties:

  • Up to six months in county jail
  • A fine of $390 – $1,000 plus penalty assessments
  • Three, six, or nine-month DUI program
If injury or death is caused as a result of a first DUI and it is charged as a misdemeanor, you could face:

  • Five days to one year in county jail
  • A fine of $390 – $5,000 plus penalty assessments
  • Pay restitution to the injured parties
  • Three, six, nine, or 18-month DUI program
If your first DUI is charged as a felony, you can incur penalties of:

  • 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison
  • $390 – $5,000 in fines plus penalty assessments
  • Pay restitution to the injured parties
  • 18-month DUI program

Note that minimum penalties apply. However, “enhancements” to the minimum requirements may apply if you fail to submit to a chemical test, drive at 30 or more mph over the speed limit, or a child under 14 years of age is present in the vehicle.

1st time DUI jail time

Although you can spend up to six months in jail for a misdemeanor first time DUI, in reality, few people face more than a day or two in jail for the first offense with the assistance of our legal team.

With legal representation from our DUI attorneys, you will usually be released as soon as possible and face a probation period of one to five years (most typically three years).

1st time DUI fine

There is no escaping a fine for a first-time DUI. Our DUI attorneys will work towards the least severe penalty possible. The mandatory minimum penalty is $390 plus penalty assessment. However, there are other costs involved that could raise the total fine in excess of $2,000.

In addition, you will also be required to pay the costs of the three, six, or nine-month first time DUI program.

For misdemeanor offenses involving injury or the death of another party, the fine may be higher.

1st time DUI license suspension

A first time DUI can result in both criminal penalties and separate driving restriction penalties imposed by the DMV.

In order to keep your driving privilege valid, you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. At the conclusion of the DMV hearing, your license will either be suspended or reinstated depending on the outcome of that hearing.

Generally, a first time DUI will result in a driver’s license suspension usually lasting four to 10 months – most typically four months.

If you need to drive, you may be able to obtain a restricted license. Alternatively, you may continue to drive with a normal, unrestricted license with the installation of an IID. This requires you to drive with an Interlock Ignition Device for up to six months.

A first-time felony DUI conviction could mean a driver’s license suspension or revocation for up to three years or, in the alternative, having to drive with an IID for up to two years.

Defending a 1st time DUI offense

Many first-time DUI cases that seem straightforward can turn out to be complex for the prosecution because of technical difficulties. Our experienced team of attorneys may raise such a defense.

The defense in a DUI case generally hinges upon the actions of law enforcement officers and the equipment they use. Such equipment can be subject to error.

Even if you suspect that the evidence against you is compelling, this evidence may be called into question. Our team of experienced attorneys will ensure that the police followed correct protocol, observed your constitutional rights, and administered tests in the appropriate manner as well as used equipment and testing facilities that were up to standard.

If our legal team has determined that the evidence did not meet the above protocol, the evidence against you may be inadmissible. As such, the prosecution’s case can fall apart and may result in a dismissal.

You always have a chance of escaping the harsh penalties with our dedicated and experienced DUI defense attorneys.

Been charged with a 1st time DUI offense in Orange County?

A first-time DUI charge may be an honest mistake. However, it is a dangerous mistake and one that can greatly affect your future.

Llegal representation by our team of experienced DUI attorneys will help you understand your options, navigate the legal processes, and prevent one mistake from damaging your future.

If you’re charged with a first time DUI in Orange County and need legal assistance, The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian will work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

We have offices in Santa Ana, Westminster, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino, and serve the surrounding areas including Newport Beach and Fullerton. Our lawyers at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian are available 24/7 to help! Book a free online consultation to get started today.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have been convicted of DUI in California, we may be able to help you get the conviction removed from your criminal record.

Law enforcement and the DMV will both be able to see the DUI on your driving record for up to 10 years but this is not included in background checks conducted by potential landlords and employers. Read more about this here.

If you are convicted of a DUI charge in California, you need to take the DUI classes arranged by the DMV unless you have a waiver.

This waiver can only be granted once in a motorist’s life and you can apply for it by completing a 1650 waiver packet issued by the DMV should the facts of your case apply.

Classes range in duration from three months up to 18 months, depending on whether it was your first offense or you have prior DUI convictions.

No. DUI classes must be attended in person.

You can see the penalties for DUI charges above. DUI is usually treated as a misdemeanor offense unless one of the following applies:

  1. The DUI is a fourth offense within a 10-year period
  2. The driver has a prior felony charge for DUI
  3. The driver causes an accident in which another person is injured or killed

An ignition interlock device or IID is a type of breathalyzer that is fitted to an individual’s vehicle, requiring the driver to blow into a mouthpiece before starting or continuing to operate the vehicle. It will not allow a driver to operate the vehicle if alcohol is detected on the breath.

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The criminal defense attorney you hire to represent you is one of the most important decisions you will make.

Here are the values that guide our services:

  • Experienced: Our firm has over 16 years of experience, so you can feel confident you will receive quality legal counsel.
  • Client-Centered: We put our clients first. Drawing on that belief, and our knowledge of criminal law, we find solutions that best meet our clients’ individual needs.
  • Superior Results: Regardless the legal matter, we work tirelessly to achieve exceptional outcomes for our clients.
  • Trusted Advice: To guide you through this difficult time in your life, we provide sophisticated legal advice you can trust.


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