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Will I go to jail if convicted on a first DUI charge?

Posted by William Young | Nov 01, 2017 | 0 Comments

Each DUI case is unique. The facts of the case, criminal record of the defendant, the county of conviction, and damage done (if any) during the commission of the crime will all be important factors leading to the sentence imposed by the court for a conviction. No one can promise a specific result; anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you a false bill of goods. That being said based upon my experience I can give you a general idea of what a "standard" first DUI conviction entails.

While the maximum punishment for a first DUI is up to one year in jail, in nearly all cases this is far beyond the sentence actually ordered by the court. If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a typical sentence will involve 5-15 days in jail with all options (this is typically not time just sitting behind bars, I will explain in a moment) one year of unsupervised probation, a 180 day drivers license suspension, up to $1,000 in fines, an alcohol evaluation, completion of the victims panel, 16-24 hours of alcohol education.

A term of jail is ordered as part of almost any DUI conviction. As noted above, on a first offense this is typically between 5 and 15 days; 10 days is not unusual. However, the vast majority of the time the jail sentence comes "with all options." This means that you may complete the jail sentence through whatever means the sheriff's office has available for you. Yes, you can complete this sentence by sitting in jail but most of the time you will have other options available. Depending on the county, the most common options available to defendants completing a sentence for a first DUI conviction are: community service* (8-hours = 1 day) and/or SLD (think orange vests picking up trash on the side of the road). Also you will get credit for any days you have already spent in jail on this case - if you spent 2 hours in jail at the time of your arrest you still get credit for 1 full day.

So the answer is likely no, you will not go to "jail" but you will likely have a "jail sentence" to complete.

*community service is at the direction of the Sheriff's Office, do not just go do some community service on your own and expect that it will count toward your sentence.

About the Author

William Young

Idaho Criminal Defense and Civil Litigation Attorney. Although I do a little bit of everything in my practice, I focus primarily on Criminal Defense and Civil Litigation. I am licensed to practice, and have a record of success, in both state and federal court.

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