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Two Legal Processes For DUI In California

Did you know?

Contravening DUI laws in California will result in you having to deal with not just one, but TWO separate legal proceedings. This is because DUI refers to two separate codes, namely VC §23152(a) and VC §23152(b), and drivers can be charged under both codes at the same time. VC §23152(b) is dealt with by the DMV and is known as an Admin per se license suspension. VC §23152(a) is dealt with by the courts and unlike the DMV administration hearing, a DUI court trial is not optional and here are some of the penalties you’ll face.

California DUI Penalties If You’re 21 And Over

If it’s your first California DUI offense you can expect:

  • your license to be suspended immediately for 6 months – you will have already received a minimum 4 month suspension under the Admin per se law so add 2 months to that. You may be able to obtain a restricted license to allow you to drive to and from work and a DUI program
  • to spend at least 4 days but anywhere up to 6 months in jail
  • a fine of between $390 and $1000 as well as the probability of further penalty fines as well as legal fees
  • a $125 license reissue fee when you’re eventually allowed to get your DL back ($100 for drivers under 21)
  • mandatory requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car**
  • mandatory attendance in a DUI program, at your expense. The length of the program depends on what your blood alcohol level was at the time of arrest but the minimum is 3 months. Cost – generally at least $1000 or more
  • to have to file an SR-22 insurance cover

** The IID, compulsory for DUI convictions in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda and Tulare Counties, was due to have been discontinued from January 1st 2016 but in Los Angeles County has now been extended until July 1st, 2017.   A first offense requires the device to be installed for 5 months, 2nd offense is 12 months, 3rd offense 2 years and 4th offense 3 years. An ignition interlock device or IID is a breath-testing device that is wired to the vehicle’s ignition and requires an alcohol free breath sample before the vehicle will start. It also requires periodical samples whilst the car is being driven and will turn the vehicle off should it detect one whiff of alcohol.

Are Further DUI Convictions In California Worth It?

For second and further DUI offenses jail time progressively increases and your legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Count) becomes 0.01 instead of 0.08. A second DUI conviction within 10 years carries jail time of 90 days to 12 months and you will lose your licence for 12 months. Offend a third time within 10 years and jail time goes up to a minimum of 120 days (maximum 1 year) with a 2 year DL suspension AND the added bonus of being considered an ‘habitual traffic offender’ for 3 years after your conviction. For a fourth offence within 10 years you really will deserve the 180 days behind bars you’ll earn (maximum 1 year), the 3 year DL suspension and another 3 years of being considered an ‘habitual traffic offender’.

In each instance, fines will range from $390 and $1000, you will be required to attend progressively longer, and thus more expensive, DUI programs, install an IID in your car if you live in Los Angeles County and obtain insurance via an SR-22. As an aside to insurance – if you have your auto insurance cancelled because of a DUI conviction, the vehicle’s registration will also be suspended unless you obtain a new policy within 45 days. If you previously qualified for a “Good Driver Discount” you will understandably lost this as well.

DUI Laws In California For Drivers Under 21

If you’re under 21 you are subject to further DUI laws in California.

  • You are not permitted to have unsealed beer, wine or liquor in your vehicle if you are driving on your own although exceptions are made if you’re carrying it for work related purposes.
  • You may not drive with a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) of 0.01 or more.
  • You are not allowed to drive if you have consumed alcohol of any type, which includes some prescription drugs and over the counter medications such as cough syrup.
  • There is a ZERO TOLERANCE rule for drivers under 18.

Get Yourself A Good California DUI Attorney

If you’ve been convicted of DUI in California the importance of getting yourself an experienced California DUI attorney cannot be stressed enough. At the very least, they will help you to understand your obligations should you be charged to the full extent of the law but if there are mitigating circumstances involved, they’ll be able to use those to help lessen the penalties you will otherwise face.

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