What are the penalties for DUI in California?

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DUI laws across the country are becoming harsher in an effort to crack down on driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. A DUI conviction can result in serious, life changing consequences personally, financially, and professionally.

Minimum and Maximum Penalties for a First DUI Conviction

If you are charged with DUI and there is no bodily injury or death that resulted from your DUI the minimum penalties include:

  • Fines – Fines for a DUI can exceed $1,000.00 in total when you factor in the fine, penalty and DUI assessments. Actual amounts may vary by county.
  • Jail – You may serve a minor jail sentence in some counties such as a 48-hour jail sentence.
  • License Restriction – You may have a restricted license allowing you to only travel from home to work and back and to and from an alcohol treatment program.
  • License Suspension – You may face a license suspension imposed by the California DMV.
  • Alcohol Treatment Program – You may have to attend and complete an alcohol treatment program. Completing the program may also be a requirement in order to drive again following a “per-se” DMV license suspension.

Maximum penalties for a first DUI conviction, assuming it is a misdemeanor and not a felony, include a $1,000.00 fine plus over $2,000.00 in penalty assessments. In addition to the fines, you may also face:

  • Six months’ imprisonment in the county jail.
  • Six month license suspension.
  • Ten month license suspension for a BAC of 0.15% or higher.
  • Having your vehicle impounded at your expense for 30 days.
  • Required to install an interlock device to your vehicle which prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected on your breath.

Probation in a first time DUI offense

In almost all DUI cases involving first-time offenders probation is mandated for a period of three to five years. Throughout your probation period if you violate the terms of your probation you may face additional penalties. Typically probation conditions include:

  1. Not operating a vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system.
  2. Submitting to a blood or breathalyzer test upon the request of a police officer.
  3. Not violating any further laws, typically misdemeanors.

Minimum and Maximum Penalties for a Second DUI Conviction within 10 Years

If you face a second DUI conviction within 10 years of your first DUI conviction and no one is injured or killed as a result of your DUI the minimum penalties you will face include:

  • Fines – Fines for a second DUI conviction can exceed $1,000.00 in total when you factor in the fine, penalty and DUI assessments.
  • Up to ten days in jail.
  • Required to complete up to a 30 month second-offender alcohol treatment program.
  • License restriction allowing you to only drive to and from work.
  • Installation of an interlock device on all vehicles that you own.

If you are convicted of a second DUI offense within ten years of your first conviction the maximum penalties include fines in excess of $3,000.00 when you count the fines plus the penalty assessments. Additional penalties include:

  • Up to one year in jail.
  • Two-year license suspension by the California DMV.
  • Vehicle impoundment for up to 30 days at your expense.
  • Required to install an interlock device on all vehicles that you own.

Minimum and Maximum Penalties for a Third DUI Conviction

If you face a third DUI conviction, or any subsequent convictions, and no one is injured or killed as a result of your DUI the minimum penalties include:

  • Fines in excess of $1,000.00 when you include the fines, penalty assessments and DUI assessments.
  • 120 days in jail for a third offense.
  • 180 days in jail for a fourth offense.
  • Revocation of your driver’s license for a period of three years of a third offense and four years for a fourth offense.
  • Completion of a 30 month multiple offender treatment program.

In addition the maximum penalties for a third and fourth offense within ten years include fines of approximately $18,000.00 when you include the fine, penalty, and DUI assessments. Maximum penalties also include:

  • One year in jail for a third offense.
  • 16 months in state prison for a fourth offense if charged as a felony.
  • Impoundment of your vehicle for up to 90 days or possible forfeiture and loss of your vehicle.
  • Revocation of your driver’s license for a period of three years for a third offense and four years for a fourth offense.
  • 30 month alcohol treatment program.

Injury or Death as a Result of a DUI

If a DUI results in the injury or death of another the driver can be found guilty of a felony offense and could face serious state prison time, especially if the guilty party is a multiple DUI offender. Prior misdemeanor driving under the influence and alcohol-related reckless driving offenses may count toward an increased prison sentence.

Summary
Article Name
What are the penalties for DUI in California?
Description
Minimum and maximum penalties for first-time DUI convictions and multiple DUI offenders may include fines, license suspension, and even jail time.
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