If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Oakland or anywhere else in the East Bay, you’re going to have some pressing questions. At the top of your list – will you go to jail and if so, is there anything you can do to avoid it?
As a general rule, California DUIs are punishable by 0 to 6 months in jail for a first offense without any aggravating factors. If you seriously injured or killed someone else as a result of the drunk driving incident, those are considered “aggravating factors” that would lead to more time behind bars.
For obvious reasons, people want to stay out of jail. Since the majority of DUI defendants are non-criminals who have jobs and families depending on them, their first priority is finding a way to stay out of jail. For most people facing DUI charges, even a month behind bars seems unbearable.
Alternatives to Jail in a DUI Case
If someone is convicted of DUI, is there any way they can stay out of jail? If the odds are stacked against a DUI defendant, their best option is for their defense lawyer to seek DUI probation in lieu of jail time. However, if the defendant is granted probation instead of serving jail time, he or she must realize that it’s not a “get out of jail free card,” there are conditions attached.
In order for a DUI defendant to be granted DUI probation in lieu of jail, he or she must agree to comply with a set of strict conditions. If the probationer fails to comply with their conditions, for example, the defendant drinks and drives, or they fail to appear in court, or they fail to attend AA classes, it can result in a probation violation (PV), their probation can be revoked and they can be sentenced to jail.
Common DUI probation conditions, include:
- Pay up to $1,500 in fines (possibly more).
- Driver’s license suspension, which may be converted to a restricted license unless the judge believes the defendant is a risk to public safety.
- Complete DUI School.
- Attend AA classes.
- Spend 3 to 5 years on informal probation.
- The defendant must not commit any new criminal offenses while on probation.
- The defendant cannot drive under the influence of any amount of alcohol; they can’t even have one drink and get behind the wheel.
- If the defendant is stopped on suspicion of DUI, they must agree to take a chemical test to measure their blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
While these conditions are strict, most people think they’re a whole lot better than having their life interrupted by spending months behind bars, especially if they have a job and dependents relying on them for financial support.
If you are facing DUI charges in Oakland or the surrounding areas, we urge you to contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a free consultation. Let us help you explore all of your defense options!