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First Time DUI: Will You Go To Jail and for How Long?

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If you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you're going to feel terrified. Your first thought might very well be "Am I going to jail?"

Read on to learn what factors determine the answer to this question, the length of a typical DUI first offense jail time, and how you can help yourself after a DUI arrest.

Misdemeanor DUI vs. Felony DUI

Most first and second-time DUI charges will be classified as misdemeanors. There are some exceptions to this rule, however:

  • Causing serious injury or substantial bodily harm to another person while driving under the influence

  • Killing someone while driving under the influence

  • Having a prior felony DUI conviction, regardless of how many prior DUI convictions you have

In short, the legal consequences for a first time DUI offense are directly proportionate to the real-life consequences of your impaired driving. Make no mistake: you will be prosecuted for felony DUI if you caused a serious or fatal car accident while driving under the influence. A felony DUI almost always comes with jail time, ranging from 2 to 20 years.

Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI Charges

On the other hand, maybe you were in a relatively minor accident, or you weren't in a crash at all, but just pulled over on your way home from the bar because you were driving erratically. If it is your first offense, you will face a misdemeanor.

Other than jail time, the penalties for a first-time misdemeanor DUI charge are:

  • Fines ranging from $400 to $1,000, plus court costs

  • Completion of DUI school, an eight-hour class in alcohol awareness and traffic safety

  • Mandatory attendance at a victim impact panel, such as a MADD lecture

  • License revocation of 185 days

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for six months

What About DUI First Offense Jail Time?

After being convicted of a first DUI, you may be sentenced to a period of incarceration in jail of between two days and six months.

The judge in your DUI case does have some discretion, however, and he or she may grant a suspended sentence. Or you may be ordered to perform community service in lieu of spending time behind bars. If you receive community service, you will likely have to complete 48 to 96 hours of volunteer work at an approved charity or other organization.

Another Possibility Is a Plea Deal

With the assistance of an experienced, skilled Nevada DUI attorney, it is possible to plea bargain down to a reckless driving charge, to have your charges dismissed, or to go to court and win your case.

The course of action you take, and the results, will depend on many variables. These include the circumstances of your arrest, your criminal record, whether the arresting officer made any procedural mistakes, and so on.

Have You Been Arrested on Charges of DUI?

You've already made one grave error: getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or illegal or prescription drugs. Don't make any more mistakes; schedule a consultation with an attorney who specializes in DUI cases.

Contact the Hill Firm today at 702-848-5000 for a free consultation!


Dan Hill