Generally, what happens in Sacramento is that individuals who are unrepresented at their first court appearance are offered a standard deal by the district attorney (DA). Usually, this deal includes a $2,400 fine, installation of an ignition interlock device, and 3 years informal hard probation. As a result, it is also likely that your insurance would go up.
In comparison, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate for your charges to be reduced from DUI to a reckless driving charge. Reckless driving fines are almost half that of a DUI, no ignition interlock device, and half the probation. Low-level DUI (in the range of .09-.12 BAC) should almost never be pled to as a DUI. We have helped many clients have their charges reduced to what is sometimes called a “wet reckless” plea.