It may not seem like a big deal. Go ahead and plead guilty to a first-time DUI charge in California, accept a minimal penalty, and move forward with your life. But that’s not what happens. What happens is that you’ll likely pay $2,000 or more in court fines and fees. You’ll probably pay to take DUI classes.

Your insurance rates will inevitably go up and may never return to the rates you pay today. You could also find your employment options suddenly limited, especially for positions that may include driving as a part of the job. You may have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and additional points will be placed against your driver’s license.

Pleading guilty to a first-time DUI may seem like the quick and convenient thing to do; don’t do it. Try to avoid having a DUI conviction on your record. Speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney. Working with a good DUI defense lawyer is the best way to handle a DUI charge. An experienced DUI defense attorney will work to achieve the best possible resolution of your DUI case; in a first-time DUI case, that often means acquittal or complete dismissal of the charge.

Another reason you should not plead guilty to a first-time DUI charge: if you’re charged a second time, your first guilty plea is held against you. You cannot expect to simply “plead out” a second DUI charge; you’re facing jail and 18 months of classes to get your driver’s license reinstated. A second DUI conviction can have a genuinely long-term, negative impact on your life, so you very much want to avoid a first conviction.

If you’re charged with DUI – even a first offense – have the counsel and help of an experienced DUI defense attorney. A good DUI defense lawyer will protect your rights, evaluate the specifics of your case, explain your options, and guide you through the legal process. If you face any kind of DUI or DUI-related charge in California, speak to an experienced California DUI defense attorney right away.