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5. What is a typical sentence for a Sonoma County DUI?

In Sonoma County, for a "standard" adult first offense DUI where the alcohol test results show under 0.15% blood alcohol, and where there are no other aggravating facts or charges alleged (e.g., no collision, refusals, child endangerment, evading, bad driving, old prior convictions), and where there are no viable legal defenses or other compelling facts in mitigation, a knowledgeable local Santa Rosa DUI attorney will tell you that most defendants in a Sonoma County DUI case can anticipate two days of jail, a minimum 30 days driver license suspension, approximately $2400 in court fines (good Sonoma DUI lawyers routinely obtain affordable monthly payments as little as $50 per month for their clients), three years informal probation, and three months of once-weekly DUI program classes in Santa Rosa. Starting January 1, 2019, California courts joins at least 28 Other States in requiring installation of an ignition interlock breathalyzer device for up to six months for a first offense DUI conviction. CVC 23575.3.states

Many people convicted of a first or second DUI offense in California feel that the penalties imposed by California courts are overly harsh, but a new study comparing DUI penalties in each of the 50 U.S. states, conducted by WalletHub.com, finds that California was more lenient than many other states, ranking as the 21st strictest state nationwide for DUI penalties, and just about average the most lenient on the West Coast, and about average for the entire western United States, although penalties have tightened from only a year ago when California ranked just 34th strictest in the nation.

As of 2017, seven western states ranked substantially higher (stricter) than California, including Arizona (ranked the #1 strictest state in the country), Alaska (3rd), Utah (8th), Colorado (11th), Washington (15th), Oregon (16th), and Nevada (18th). Only five western states were found to be more lenient than California, including Hawaii (26th), New Mexico (29th), Wyoming (37th), Montana (40th), and Idaho (47th).

The best Sonoma DUI lawyers will resolve many first offense cases with better results (for example, a dismissal, or a "Wet Reckless" with no jail or license suspension), but cases may resolve with higher penalties if there are no defenses but aggravating factors are present, such as higher alcohol levels, collision, hit & run, evading, resisting arrest, refusal to give a chemical sample, or old DUI cases outside ten years from a current DUI arrest.

By contrast, a typical "standard" second DUI conviction in Sonoma County (prior DUI arrest within ten years of current DUI arrest), usually increases a defendant's jail exposure from two days to 30-90 days, increases the ignition interlock breathalyzer device from six months to at least one to three years, increases the minimum three-month DUI program classes to the 18-month DUI program, increases the minimum 30 days no driving to 90 days to one-year license suspension, and may increase the informal probation period from three years to four or five years (almost always adding typical multiple offense probation conditions to refrain from alcohol use or possession, waive police search rights to enforce no-alcohol orders, and stay away from places where alcohol is the primary item for sale). Click on our Sonoma County DUI Lawyer Ten Tips for Easing the Consequences of a DUI on this site for a detailed discussion about typical Sonoma County DUI resolutions. Consult with a Sonoma County DUI attorney about your specific case.

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Any result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

Our DUI Lawyers

Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, Sonoma County resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of Sonoma County DUIs and DMV hearings: first/multiple offenders, minors, seniors, tourists, undocumented immigrants, veterans, probation violations, suspended license, public intoxication, open container, minor in possession, child endangerment, collisions, hit and run, evading, resisting arrest.

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Dave Jake Schwartz