DUI Laws in California


DUI offenses are considered to one of the most common criminal charges in California. You can be charged with DUI in California for two reasons which include driving while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs and if your blood alcohol content or BAC is 0.08% or higher then you will be arrested for DUI in spite of you passing the field sobriety tests. The types of criminal cases filed for a California DUI are California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) and Vehicle Code Section 23152 (b). California is one of 45 states which follow the Interstate Driver’s License Compact where California is in a pact with other member states to share information about people with DUI convictions and driver’s license actions.

Penalties for DUI in California

The penalties vary depending on the number of times you have been convicted for the offense. California is strict about the penalties and even for the first time, your license will be suspended and you will have to pay sizable amount of fine of about $2,000. The penalties also include compulsory attendance at State or DMV approved alcohol programs and potential jail time. This offense will remain on your DMV record for about 7 years and your insurance premium will increase multifold. Apart from this you will not get any credit and might even lose your job.

All those who have been arrested for DUI in California have to attend First Offender School if they want to get their license back and the duration for attending the school depends on the BAC level while being arrested. If you are arrested for DUI then you should request for an administrative DMV hearing within 10 days. If you are unable to do so within the stipulated timeframe, then your license will be suspended automatically after 30 days. Owing to this, you should contact an experienced California DUI attorney to apply on your behalf for a hearing with the DMV.

Driving License suspension

The license suspension in California varies depending on the number of times you have committed the offense. This will be initiated after 30 days of being arrested. The duration of the suspension by the DMV for the various offenses is:

  • First offenders: 4-6 months
  • Second offenders: 24 months
  • Third offenders: 24 months

You can face felony DUI charges in California the fourth time, if you have committed the offense three times within the past 10 years. Also if your DUI have caused harm to another person you will still face felony. Also a DUI causing an injury is considered to be a ‘wobbler’ offense in California which indicates that it is either a felony or a misdemeanor. Thus a DUI in California can have a lot of repercussions, so it is very important that you hire a criminal defense lawyer at the earliest to help you come out of it with reduced penalties like jail time, fines and penalties and license suspension.

Originally posted 2016-12-11 14:52:15.