It depends. Every case is different. Though the maximum on a first DUI is 1 year in jail, most judges do not impose jail on a first DUI unless there are aggravating factors: a very high BAC, a bad accident, young passengers in the car, a hit and run, or resisting arrest, for example. On a first offense, you are much more likely to receive some of the following: probation, community service, fines, alcohol classes, and a driver’s license suspension. But there is unfortunately no guarantee that you won’t get the wrong judge on the wrong day and catch a short jail sentence, even on a first offense. A DUI lawyer can obviously help defend you from the charges, but can also help achieve better plea and sentencing results.
On second and subsequent offenses, jail really comes into play. Many judges routinely impose 6-12 months of jail on 3rd offenses, which have a mandatory minimum of only 60 days. Fourth offenses often receive 9-12 months of jail. Second offenses are the most unpredictable, with your sentence depending on too many factors to list, not least of which is the judge. In most cases, expect anywhere from a few weeks of in home detention up to a few months of jail.
A DUI lawyer, involved early in the process, gives you the best chance to uncover weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. Sometimes those weaknesses lead to dismissal or acquittal at trial, sometimes they get you better plea bargains and sentences that minimize jail. Imagine the difference to your career and family, of getting 10 days of in home detention (with permission to go to work) instead of 30 days jail. Imagine getting 2 months of work release (better jail conditions, and permission to go to work during the day) instead of 6 months of jail. No result is ever guaranteed, but a good Denver DUI lawyer fights for you and gives you the best chance.
For a free consultation, call Matthew Hand at (303) 900-8480.