Misdemeanor DUI Info

First Offense Misdemeanor DUI Information


The FIRST MATTER to address is that the law enforcement agency that arrested you for the DUI has confiscated your California driver's license. You were issued a temporary license that is only valid for 30 days! The temporary license has no relationship to your first court date, and the judge cannot help you with this license problem.

The normal suspension period for a First Offense DUI is for four months. However, if it is proven that you refused to complete a chemical test to determine your blood or breath alcohol content, the suspension will be for one year for a first time offense.


The temporary license is not only a 30-day driver's license, it is also a DMV form that outlines the procedure that must be followed if you wish to contest the suspension of your license. You will not necessarily WIN if you request a hearing, but you will LOSE if you don't.

YOU HAVE TEN DAYS TO REQUEST THIS HEARING, COUNTING THE DAY OF YOUR ARREST, even if the calendar day that you were arrested is only one hour long!  The officer wrote the official start date on your pink temporary license.

NOTE! If the officer did not actually take your license because he or she forgot; or you did not have it with you at the time of the arrest; or you have an out of state license; or the temporary license - Notice of Suspension was misplaced after your release from custody, THERE IS STILL SOMETHING THAT MUST BE DONE. If you want any chance of AVOIDING the suspension of your license, you must contact the DMV concerning the action to suspend your license. Regardless of whether you physically received your temporary license or not, the DMV will have the notice of suspension and will begin the process of suspending your license!

I can help you with this hearing application, NO OBLIGATION, just call my office or you can use the form which I have provided. You can change your mind later and cancel the hearing after reviewing the evidence. If you fail to request the hearing you will automatically lose your license and no attorney will be able to assist you with this problem.

The DMV Driver's Safety Office address on the form that I have provided applies to someone who was arrested in San Luis Obispo County. The DMV license suspension hearings are normally held in the same county where the offense occurred. Our county's DMV Driver's Safety Headquarters is located in Oxnard although the in-person hearings are held in the city of San Luis Obispo.

If you contact the DMV to request a hearing, keep a record of who you spoke with and when you called as you may need it to prove that you called within the ten day time limit. In the event that you decide to have an attorney represent you at this hearing, you should ask for an "in-person" hearing in San Luis Obispo; if needed, this can always be changed to a telephonic hearing at a later date.

You are entitled to represent yourself at the DMV hearing. Please understand this area of law is complicated even for experienced attorneys. The DMV is only interested with the legal issues; they are not interested in discussing how badly you need a driver's license, or how sorry you are!


Let's say you decide to accept the four-month suspension, or you were suspended after a DMV hearing. How do you obtain a license to drive?

Once you have completed one month of the four-month license suspension, you may apply for a restricted license at the local DMV office. The following three items must be completed in order to obtain a five-month restricted license.  I suggest that you begin preparations two weeks prior to your trip down to the DMV to request your restricted license.

  1. Your insurance company must file proof of insurance with the DMV.  The only acceptable proof is known as an SR22,  the insurance company will know what you need (and unfortuanately why you need it!).
  2. Enroll in the correct DUI class. The class will file proof of enrollment with the DMV.
  3. Lastly, the DMV will require a check in the amount of $125.00.


Refusal DUI's, i.e. refusing to complete a chemical test at the time of the arrest is not in the same catagory as a normal DUI.

  1. The DMV will suspend your license for one year if this is your first DUI offense.
  2. The Court increases the jail portion of your sentence.
  3. The Court and DMV will require you to complete a nine-month DUI class instead of the three-month class.


If you were convicted of a DUI within the last ten years, your new case would be considered a "Second Offense DUI". The sentence is substantially more sever for this offense.

A prior conviction in juvenile court will not count as a prior conviction in the criminal case. However, the prior conviction will count against your driving record. In other words, you will have to attend a multiple offender DUI program if you are convicted of DUI.


You have three options for appearing in court:

  1. You may represent yourself; you will of course be required to be present for all of your court dates and expected to know what you are doing.
  2. Depending on your income, you may be eligible to be represented by the public defender.The standard charge for that baic service is $500.00 but is based on your ability to pay.
  3. You may retain an attorney to appear in court for you and you will NOT have to appear in court unless the matter is a felony.


I will briefly cover the basic sentence for a first offense DUI in San Luis Obispo County.

JAIL: Let's get that out of the way first. For a defendant who completed a chemical test and the BAC was less than .15%, the normal jail sentence is two days in the custody of the San Luis Obispo Sheriff Department. The sheriff has several methods of serving this obligation, including the Sheriff Alternative Work Program.

If your BAC is .15% -.19% the normal jail sentence is five days in custody.

If your BAC is .20% or greater, or if you refused to take a chemical test, the normal jail sentence will be longer, normally ten days in custody.

Other factors may also be considered in the setting the jail sentence.

The fine for a first offense DUI in San Luis Obispo is $2403.00*. For an additional fee of $40.00, the fine can be paid in monthly installments but you will have to visit the court clerks office in Rm 220 to arrange payments. You can also request to work off the fine at $10.00 per hour under the supervision of various SLO organizations.

The First Offense DUI Program is ordered for all convictions and is monitored by the Court and the DMV. DUI Classes are a minimum of three months. The court will allow you to attend the DUI class in your county of residence.

The State of California also mandates that you must have proof of insurance on file with the DMV if you are convicted of DUI. The only acceptable proof of insurance is a SR-22 that you can obtain from your insurance company. This provides proof to DMV that you carry at least the required minimum PL and PD insurance. Neither your insurance policy nor your proof of insurance card will be accepted over the required SR-22! If you do not have the SR-22 on file on the date of your conviction, or at least within a few days thereafter, you can expect to receive another letter of suspension from the DMV and will need to return to DMV to pay a small reissue fee.

The DMV is also going to suspend your license for six months because of this DUI conviction. You are going to have to deal with DMV regarding your suspensions if you wish to obtain a work license.

I can think of at least 7 different suspensions that you could receive from the DMV ariseing from a First Offense DUI conviction.

  1. Admin Per Se; driving with BAC .08;
  2. Conviction of a DUI;
  3. Negligent Operator, i.e. too many points on your driving record;
  4. No SR-22 on file; proof of insurance;
  5. No proof of DUI class on file;
  6. Accident; no proof of insurance.
  7. Medical condition