California DUI Penalties
What are the Laws for DUI in California?
In California, it is illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. You could face serious legal consequences if you are found guilty of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
Law enforcement uses several different methods to determine a suspected drunk driver's level of intoxication—including blood, breath, urine and field sobriety tests. Failing any one of them could put you at risk of a conviction.
In the event that you are convicted of a DUI offense, you could face a number of potential penalties—ranging from jail time to the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
For this reason, you should move quickly to get in touch with an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as you have been arrested and charged with a crime.
First Offense DUI
- Informal probation for 3 to 5 years
- Up to 6 months in county jail
- Between $390 and $1,000 in fines
- Enrollment in a 3 to 9 month alcohol education program
- 6 to 10 month driver's license suspension
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
2nd DUI in CA
Your second offense DUI can result in an informal probation for 3 to 5 years, 96 hours to 1 year in county jail, between $390 and $1,000 in fines, enrollment in an 18 to 30 month alcohol education program and a two year driver's license suspension
Third Offense DUI
Informal probation for 3 to 5 years, 120 days to 1 year in county jail, between $390 and $1,000 in fines, enrollment in a 30 month alcohol education program and a three years driver's license revocation
After being convicted of a third DUI offense within 10 years, the offender will also be labeled a "habitual traffic offender" (HTO) by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. If they are convicted of another DUI offense within this same time frame, the charges increase from a misdemeanor to a felony—thus resulting in even stricter penalties. For more help navigating a 3rd DUI in California, call our attorneys at Maas and Russo.
What are the Penalties for an Underage DUI Conviction in California?
California has a"zero tolerance" policy for underage DUI offenders. If you are under the age of 21 and were found guilty of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .01%, you could be convicted of a DUI offense and face serious ramifications.
Penalties for underage drunk driving include:
- $100 fine for a first offense
- $200 fine for a second offense
- $300 fine for a third offense
- If your BAC does not exceed .05%, you would only be charged with a civil offense, which would result in the automatic suspension of your license for one year or a one-year delay in obtaining your license if you do not yet have one.
- If your BAC is measured at .05% – .07%, the offense would be charged as an infraction.
- If your BAC is measured at .08% or greater, you would face the same penalties as a driver who is 21 or older.
Is a DUI a Felony in California?
In the state of California, a DUI offense could be charged as a felony under a few different circumstances. If, for example, you were found guilty of your fourth DUI offense within 10 years, the charges would be increased from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Similarly, you could face felony charges if you were involved in an alcohol-related accident in which someone other than yourself was injured.
If you are convicted of "Felony DUI with Injury," you could face the following penalties:
- 16 months-10 years in state prison
- A possible strike on your criminal record
- A $1,015-$5,000 fine
- Enrollment in an alcohol education program for 18-30 months
- Mandatory restitution to the injured party
For a felony DUI not involving injury, you could face:
- 16 months-3 years in state prison
- $390 to $1,000 in fines
- Revocation of your license for 4 years
Facing a DUI Conviction? Find out how Maas and Russo can help!
If you have recently been charged with drunk driving in California, it is imperative that you act quickly. By enlisting the help of the Solano County DUI attorneys at Maas and Russo as soon as you have been arrested, you will give yourself ample time to build an adequate defense.
Your legal counsel will be able to conduct a thorough investigation of your case, examine evidence and challenge any inconsistencies, so do not attempt to undergo this process alone. Our legal team can offer you more than a decade of experience, so we encourage you to let us assist with your defense.