California DUI Laws – DUI Penalties in California

If you are arrested for a DUI in California, get ready to call your lawyer and break out the checkbook. This state boasts some of the heaviest fines and penalties in the country for anyone convicted of a DUI.

Consequences for Refusing to Take Chemical Tests

California DUI LawsIn California, you can refuse to take the chemical tests, but this state does have in implied consent law, so you will be fined and face a license suspension as listed below:

  • First offense – one-year license suspension
  • Second offense – two-year license suspension
  • Third offense – three-year license suspension

Challenging BAC Levels in Court

While not a zero tolerance state for under-21, California does have a lower BAC than normal for underage drivers.

  • Drivers that are 21 years or older, .08 percent
  • Drivers under the age of 21, .01 percent (zero tolerance for under-18)
  • Commercial drivers, .04 percent

Is There Mandatory Jail Time Required for a DUI in California?

California does require mandatory jail sentences for all convictions. Minimum stays are slightly longer here than in most states.

  • First time offenders – minimum of four days and a maximum of six months in jail
  • Second time offenders – minimum of 10 days and a maximum of one year in jail
  • Third time offenders – minimum of 120 days and a maximum of one year in jail

Monetary Fines and Penalties for DUI in California

First and fourth time offenders face a significantly higher fine in California than most other states:

  • First offense – up to $1,000 fine
  • Second offense – up to $1,800
  • Third offense – up to $1,800
  • Fourth offense (within 10 months of last violation) – up to $18,000

License Suspension for DUI in California

Any DUI violation will result in a license suspension in the state of California:

  • First offense – minimum of 30 days with a maximum sentence of 10 months
  • Second offense – two-year suspension (this can be reduced to one year)
  • Third offense – mandatory three-year suspension
  • Fourth offense (within 10 months of last violation) – mandatory four-year suspension

IID installation is required for all repeat offenses. Some counties in California will also require an IID installation for first-time offenders

Finding a DUI Attorney in California

California does not look kindly on DUI arrests and, therefore, you should take every precaution when facing these charges in court. With heavy fines and penalties, especially for first time offenders, you want to give yourself the best chance of winning your case, which means you will need a skilled California DUI attorney. Please fill out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form to have a professional review your specific arrest details.

4 thoughts on “California DUI Laws – DUI Penalties in California

  1. I was stopped for doing a burn out and was given a breath analysis 1.5 but the officer did not read me my rights can I get off

    • Not just for the Miranda rights.. but you would have to look at probable cause and how they caught you doing a burn out. The breath test does show intoxication so that is evidence against you. Your attorney would have to go after the arresting procedure and if the police messed it up. That’s where the Miranda rights may help a little bit but cannot be used exclusively to get it thrown out.

  2. I was drunk, I got in the car, and then I got busted in Milpitas, CA. I failed the sobriety test (walking in a straight line), and I’m also sure I failed the breath test, too. I was taken to jail and every hour there felt like an eternity in hell. Every second I regret the choice I made that night. I got court in February (wish I had it tomorrow), but I’m guilty and hope that by admitting that I was wrong then the judge can consider in giving me a second chance. I was a law abiding citizen before my arrest with no wrong doing on my record. How can the judge give me another chance to show him I deeply regret the choice to drink and drive? I’ve heard of these pre-trial hearings where first-time offenders may get a second chance.

    • Christopher, we all make mistakes and you deserve a second chance. You have to understand the court system is designed to throw the book at you. You have to consult with a DUI attorney first. A lawyer will at least cut a good deal for you or in some cases get the DUI dropped. A judge will not give you a deal.

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