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California DUI Penalties & Punishments


In California, conviction for the offense of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) carries stiff penalties & punishments. Generally speaking the Bay Area counties in Northern California -- San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin, Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Napa, and Sonoma -- have similar provisions for DUI penalties & punishments.

The California DUI penalties & punishments listed below are based on a non-enhanced DUI (Driving Under the Influence) conviction. If there are any "aggravating" factors, then the penalties & punishments are significantly increased. Those factors can include, a child in the car (under 14), speeding, driving on a suspended or restricted license, accidents, high blood alcohol content (over .20), etc.

With that in mind, here is an outline of what penalty & punishment to expect for such a DUI conviction. Again, these are the minimal DUI penalites & punishments the court can impose. In order to receive such penalty & punishment, you probably will need someone to advocate on your behalf.

As of 2005 the period for prior DUI offenses is 10 years. Regardless of when a prior DUI offense occurred, and what the DUI law was at the time, if it was within ten years it counts as a prior DUI offense.

THE FOLLOWING IS REFERENCE ONLY. EACH COUNTY DOES VARY SOMEWHAT AND THE LAWS REGARDING DUI PUNISHMENT CHANGE RAPIDLY.
First DUI    |     Second DUI    |     Third DUI    |     Fourth DUI

First DUI Offense - Penalties & Punishments*

Probation

Fines & Fees

Driver License

DUI School

Jail Time

3 to 5 years of Court Probation

A fine, including court fees and costs of $1400 to $1800

6 month loss of California Driver License

DUI (Driving Under the Influence) School

MANDATORY JAIL TIME

This means no probation officer to report to, but absolutely no drinking and driving during that time period.

This can be paid over time for an additional charge, or in full within 45 days. In some courts people can work off part of the fine through community service.

As of September 2004, it will be up to the Department of Motor Vehicles to decide if a restricted California Driver License should be issued. A suspension means absolutely no driving, a restriction allows driving to and from work or school.

Depending on your Blood Alcohol Level DUI school may be as low as 12 hours or as much as 45. This is dependant on your attorney as well. The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs maintains a list of DUI Schools

There is a required 48 hours of jail time on a first offense DUI. It is possible to have this time converted to work service.

* In addition, starting July 1, 2010, individuals arrested and then convicted of a first offense dui, in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento counties, will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device on their vehicle for 5 months (12 months if an injury was involved). This is a pilot program which is why the penalty only applies to these four counties.

Second DUI Offense - Penalties & Punishments

Probation

Fines & Fees

Driver License

DUI School

Jail Time

3 to 5 years of Court Probation

A fine, including court fees and costs of $1800 to $2800

2 Year loss of California Driver License

DUI (Driving Under the Influence) School

MANDATORY JAIL TIME

This means no probation officer to report to, but absolutely no drinking and driving during that time period.

This can be paid over time for an additional charge, or in full within 45 days. In some courts people can work off part of the fine through community service.

As of September 2004, it will be up to the Department of Motor Vehicles to decide if a restricted California Driver License should be issued. A suspension means absolutely no driving, a restriction allows driving to and from work or school. Your lawyer may be able to obtain a restricted license for you after ONE YEAR. You will also have to install an ignition interlock device (breath testor) on your vehicle.

This will be for 18 months. The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs maintains a list of DUI Schools

There is a required 96 hours of jail time on a second offense DUI. It is possible to have this time converted to work service. Many counties will insist on at least 10 days of jail. some require 30.


Third DUI Offense - Penalties & Punishments

Probation

Fines & Fees

Driver License

DUI School

Jail Time

3 to 5 years of Court or FORMAL Probation

A fine, including court fees and costs of $1800 to $2800

Up to 10 (minimum 3) years loss of California Driver License

DUI (Driving Under the Influence) School

MANDATORY JAIL TIME

Court Probation means no probation officer to report to, but absolutely no drinking and driving during that time period.

Formal Probation means reporting to a Probation Officer on a regular basis.

The court decides which type of probation to give based in part on what your lawyer has to say on your behalf.

This can be paid over time for an additional charge, or in full within 45 days. In some courts people can work off part of the fine through community service.

As of September 2004, it will be up to the Department of Motor Vehicles to decide if a restricted California Driver License should be issued. A suspension means absolutely no driving, a restriction allows driving to and from work or school.

This will be for 18 months. The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs maintains a list of DUI Schools

There is a required 120 days of jail time on a third offense DUI. It is possible to have this time converted to some alternative such as home arrest, rehab or some combination of these. Many counties will insist on at least 210 days of jail - some counties require a full year.


Fourth DUI Offense - Penalties & Punishments

If this is your fourth or more DUI offense it may be considered a felony DUI. Punishment for such an offense includes upto three years in state prison, permanent loss of license and more.

If anyone was injured in connection with a DUI, it may be charged as either a felony DUI or a misdemeanor DUI. These cases have substantial impact involving jail and loss of license.

If your case is a fourth DUI offense, involves injury to you or another, or occurred within ten years of a prior DUI felony you need immediate help. Contact us at once.
Local DUI Offices
Alameda County (510) 434-1400
San Francisco & Marin (415) 421-1021
Santa Clara County (408) 275-9610
Sacramento Area (916) 930-1967
Contra Costa County (925) 827-5834
San Mateo County (650) 216-9698
Lake Tahoe (530) 546-6051
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