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California DUI Penalties

The maximum drunk driving penalties in California that a driver may face for a driving under the influence conviction are as follows:

1st DUI Offense

  • License suspension - 6 months
  • Jail sentence - 48 hours to 6 months
  • Fines and court fees - $1400 to $1800
  • Probation - 3-5 years

2nd DUI Offense

  • License suspension - 2 years
  • Jail sentence - 96 hours to 1 year
  • Fines and court fees - $1800 to $2800
  • Probation - 3 to 5 years
  • Ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle

3rd DUI Offense

  • License suspension - 3 years
  • Jail sentence - 4 months to 1 year
  • Fines and court fees - $1800 to $2800
  • Probation - 3-5 years
  • Ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle

4th DUI Offense

  • Felony DUI charge on your record
  • License suspension - 4 years, or permanent
  • Jail sentence - 16 months to 4 years
  • Fines and court fees - $1800 to $2800

DUI with Injury

  • 3 years in state prison
  • 1 additional year for each additional person injured in the accident
  • 3 additional years for great bodily injury

Vehicular Manslaughter

  • 4 years in state prison
  • With gross negligence, such as a multiple DUI offender, up to 10 years in state prison

Enhanced Penalties Implemented for:

  • Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of above .15%
  • Minor under 14 years old in the car
  • Refused chemical testing to determine BAC
  • Excessive speeding
  • Probation violation for prior DUI offense

Misdemeanor DUI

They will just believe the cop and there is no way I can beat a DUI charge!

Absolutely, not! There are many defenses and ways to reduce or get rid of a DUI charge. But if you're considering not hiring a lawyer or thinking about choosing a random lawyer, you should probably think twice, California DUI Penalites are severe with stiff punishments .

What you need is a team of DUI defense lawyers who have worked on DUI cases in California on a daily basis for years. You need lawyers who know what the inside of a court room looks like, what pleadings to file to suppress illegally seized evidence, and advise you whether you should take the prosecutor's offer or go to trial and get an acquittal. You also need a team of DUI defense lawyers who are supported by a superbly trained staff to work your case to get you the best possible result.

California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a)

It is a misdemeanor to drive a vehicle while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under their combined influence. This law is sometimes referred to as the "a" count or the DUI count.

DUI involving alcohol. It is not necessary to prove any specific degree of intoxication, but only that the driver was under the influence.

DUI involving drugs. When a defendant is charged with driving under the influence of a drug, a showing of a specific measurable amount of the drug in the defendant's blood is not required.

California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (b)

It is a misdemeanor to drive a vehicle while having 0.08 % or more, by weight, of alcohol your blood. This law is sometimes referred to as the "per se" DUI statute because the California Legislature intended to criminalize driving with a specified excessive breath or blood-alcohol level.

The prosecutor does not have to prove you were, in fact, under the influence; it is enough to prove your blood-alcohol level was 0.08 %, or more, at the time you were driving.

If your blood-alcohol level is 0.08 % or more, you could be in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) or 23153(b), even if you had the ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.

It is not unusual for someone to be arrest for a DUI charge to completely avoid conviction. However, DUI law is complicated and changes every year. This is one area of law that is not worth leaving up to a general defense attorney.

Sentencing Under California Vehicle Code Sections 23152

Drunk driving is not something the State of California takes lightly. California DUI laws are strongly enforced and violations carry severe consequences. California DUI law is one of the most complicated areas of law, primarily because it is always changing. One area where it always is changing is Sentencing.

Advisory statement of dangers of driving under the influence. If you are convicted of violating California Vehicle Code Sections 23152, the judge must give the following advisement:

You are hereby advised that being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, impairs your ability to safely operate a vehicle. Therefore, it is extremely dangerous to human life to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. If you continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, and, as a result of that driving, someone is killed, you can be charged with murder. This advisement may be included in a plea form, or the fact that the advisement was given may be specified on the record.

Whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor DUI charges, facing a probation revocation for being on DUI probation, we defend it all. Only attorneys with the knowledge of the right defenses to fit the facts of your particular case can effectively represent you in court and at DMV. As the penalties get increasingly expensive and severe and the consequences of a DUI conviction or DMV suspension extend further into your lifetime, you must consider the alternatives to simply pleading guilty. There are ways to fight your DUI.

LibertyBell Law Group dui attorneys have a combined experience of over 20 years of practicing criminal and civil litigation and DUI defense. Our dui attorneys have won thousands cases either by obtaining acquittals, getting serious charges (felony and misdemeanor) dismissed, or have been successful in negotiating the original more serious charges to a lesser serious offense.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI or another criminal offense in the Los Angeles area or in Southern California, please contact our trusted DUI defense firm immediately. Unlike many general criminal law firms, we offer a free consultation to evaluate the facts of your case and discuss your options. Our attorneys are available for you to call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your phone calls or e-mails.

Whether our firm is successful in getting your DUI rejected, reduced to a lesser charge, dismissed or acquitted at trial, our DUI defense attorneys assert your Constitutional rights and ultimately see that you get back on the road at the earliest possible time. Do not delay. Please call 1-800-432-(BELL) 2355 to take action.

Submit our short informational intake form for immediate attention. Or just call us RIGHT NOW 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet with one of our attorneys to discuss your case to get the answers and help you need for your DUI or criminal legal matter. Please call 1-800-432-(BELL) 2355 to take action.

First Violation of California Vehicle Section 23152

If you are not granted probation:

Imprisonment and fine. Conviction of a first violation is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 96 hours (at least 48 hours of which must be continuous) nor more than 6 months, and by a fine of $390 to $1000. The court must order that any imprisonment be served on days other than those of the defendant's regular employment. If the court determines that 48 hours of continuous imprisonment would interfere with the defendant's work schedule, the court must allow the defendant to serve the imprisonment when normally scheduled for time off from work. This determination may be based on a representation from the defendant's attorney or on the defendant's affidavit or testimony.

If you are granted probation:

The conditions must include:

  • 3 - 5 year probationary period or a period equal to the maximum permissible sentence;
  • A requirement that you do not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood;
  • A requirement that you do not refuse a chemical test to determine your blood-alcohol content on arrest for a violation of California Vehicle Sections 23152 or 23153; and
  • A requirement that you do not commit a criminal offense.

Probation. When granting probation, the terms and conditions must include a fine of $390 to $1000. The court may also impose a county jail term for at least 48 hours, but not more than 6 months. If the county has an approved DUI program, the court must also impose as a condition of probation that you participate in the program for at least 3, 6, or 9 months if your BAC was 0.20 % or higher, or you refused to take a chemical test.

Penalty assessments, fees, and state surcharges. These significantly increase the base fine and includes an assessment of $50 for alcohol abuse education and prevention programs, and, if applicable an assessment of $100 for county alcohol and drug problem assessment programs.

License suspension. The DMV must suspend your driver's license for 6 months. If you were ordered to participate in a 9-month DUI program, the DMV will suspend your driving privilege for 10 months. The DMV will not reinstate your license until you file proof of financial responsibility and proof of successful completion of a DUI program.

Disallowance of restricted license. When the court, considering the circumstances taken as a whole, determines you would present a traffic or public safety risk if authorized to drive during the 6-month (or 10-month) suspension period, the court may prohibit the DMV from issuing a restricted driver's license.

The California Vehicle Code does not define a traffic or public safety risk. However, the court may consider the circumstances of the offense, such as your blood alcohol level, refusal to take a chemical test, children in the vehicle, and flight from an accident scene.

Surrender of license. If your driver's license is required or ordered to be suspended or revoked by the DMV under any section of the California Vehicle Code on conviction of a DUI offense, you must surrender your license to the court upon conviction. If you have more than one license, all must be surrendered. The court must transmit to the DMV all licenses required to be suspended or revoked.

Vehicle impound. The court may order that a vehicle used in the offense under California Vehicle Code Sections 23152 or 23153, and was registered to the convicted defendant, be impounded at your expense for 1 to 30 days if you do not have any prior conviction within the last 5 years.

Ignition interlock device. The court may require that you install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you owns or operates.

Restitution. The court must (1) impose a restitution fine of no less than $100 and not more than $1000 (and if probation granted an additional probation revocation restitution fine in the same amount), and (2) order restitution to any victim for any economic losses incurred, unless the court finds compelling and extraordinary reasons for not doing so.

Participation in county alcohol and drug problem assessment program. The court must order you to attend a county alcohol and drug problem assessment program if you have previously been convicted of a violation of California Vehicle Code Sections 23152 or 23153 that occurred more than 10 years ago.

Second Violation of California Vehicle Section 23152

If you are not granted on probation:

Imprisonment and fine. Conviction of a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 when the offense occurred within ten years of a separate violation of California Vehicle Code Sections 23152, 23153, or 23103.5 (guilty plea to reckless driving in place of charge under California Vehicle Code Section 23152) that resulted in a conviction, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for 90 days to 1 year, and by a fine of $390 to $1000.

If you are granted probation:

The conditions must include:

  • 3 - 5 year probationary period or a period equal to the maximum permissible sentence;
  • A requirement that you do not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood;
  • A requirement that you do not refuse a chemical test to determine your blood-alcohol content on arrest for a violation of California Vehicle Sections 23152 or 23153; and
  • A requirement that you do not commit a criminal offense.

Probation. When granting probation, the terms and conditions must include: (1) confinement in the county jail for 10 days to 1 year or 96 hours to 1 year, (2) a fine of $390 to $1000, and (3) successful completion of an 18-month or 30-month DUI program.

Penalty assessments, fees, and state surcharges. These significantly increase the base fine and includes an assessment of $50 for alcohol abuse education and prevention programs, and, if applicable an assessment of $100 for county alcohol and drug problem assessment programs.

License suspension. The DMV must suspend your driver's license for 2 years. The DMV will not reinstate your license until you file proof of financial responsibility and proof of successful completion of a DUI program.

Disallowance of restricted license. When the court, considering the circumstances taken as a whole, determines that you would present a traffic or public safety risk if authorized to operate a motor vehicle during the 2-year suspension period, the court may prohibit the DMV from issuing a restricted driver's license to you under California Vehicle Code Section 13352.5.

The California Vehicle Code does not define a traffic or public safety risk. However, the court may consider the circumstances of the offense, such as your blood alcohol level, refusal to take a chemical test, children in the vehicle, and flight from an accident scene.

Surrender of license. If your driver's license is required or ordered to be suspended or revoked by the DMV under any section of the California Vehicle Code on conviction of a DUI offense, you must surrender your license to the court upon conviction. If you have more than one license, all must be surrendered. The court must transmit to the DMV all licenses required to be suspended or revoked.

Vehicle impound. If you have had a prior conviction within the last five years, the court must order impoundment of the vehicle used in the offense registered to the convicted defendant at your expense for 1 to 30 days, except in an unusual case.

Ignition interlock device. The court may require you to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you own or operate for up to 3 years from the date of conviction.

Restitution. The court must (1) impose a restitution fine of no less than $100 and not more than $1000 (and if probation granted an additional probation revocation restitution fine in the same amount), and (2) order restitution to any victim for any economic losses incurred, unless the court finds compelling and extraordinary reasons for not doing so.

Participation in county alcohol and drug problem assessment program. The court must order you to attend a county alcohol and drug problem assessment program if you have previously been convicted of a violation of California Vehicle Code Sections 23152 or 23153 that occurred more than 10 years ago.

Third Violation of California Vehicle Section 23152

If you are not granted probation:

Imprisonment and fine. Conviction of a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 when the offense occurred within 10 years of 2 separate violations of California Vehicle Code Sections 23152, 23153, or §23103.5 or any combination of these offenses, which resulted in convictions, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for 120 days to 1 year, and by a fine of $390 to $1000.

If you are granted probation:

The conditions must include:

  • 3 - 5 year probationary period or a period equal to the maximum permissible sentence;
  • A requirement that you do not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood;
  • A requirement that you do not refuse a chemical test to determine your blood-alcohol content on arrest for a violation of California Vehicle Sections 23152 or 23153; and
  • A requirement that you do not commit a criminal offense.

Probation. When granting probation, the terms and conditions must include: confinement in the county jail for 120 days to 1 year, and a fine of $390 to $100. As an additional condition of probation, the court may require you to satisfactorily participate for at least 18 months in a DUI program if you have not previously completed a program successfully. Alternatively, on a showing of good cause and regardless of whether you have previously completed a program, the court may require satisfactory participation for at least 30 months subsequent to the underlying conviction, in which case the term of imprisonment is 30 days to 1 year.

Designation as habitual traffic offender. You must be designated as a habitual traffic offender for three years subsequent to conviction. The court must require you to sign an affidavit acknowledging this designation.

License revocation. The DMV must revoke your driver's license for 3 years. The DMV will not reinstate your license until you file proof of financial responsibility and proof of successful completion of a DUI program.

Surrender of license. If your driver's license is required or ordered to be suspended or revoked by the DMV under any section of the California Vehicle Code on conviction of a DUI offense, you must surrender your license to the court upon conviction. If you have more than one license, all must be surrendered. The court must transmit to the DMV all licenses required to be suspended or revoked.

Vehicle impound and forfeiture. If you have had two or more prior convictions within the last five years, the court must order impoundment of the vehicle used in the offense registered to the convicted defendant at your expense for one to 90 days. If you have been convicted of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 and have 2 or more separate convictions within seven years, the court may declare your vehicle a nuisance and order it to be sold, if you are the registered owner.

Ignition interlock device. The court may require you to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you own or operate for up to 3 years from the date of conviction.

Restitution. The court must (1) impose a restitution fine of no less than $100 and not more than $1000 (and if probation granted an additional probation revocation restitution fine in the same amount), and (2) order restitution to any victim for any economic losses incurred, unless the court finds compelling and extraordinary reasons for not doing so.

Participation in county alcohol and drug problem assessment program. The court must order you to attend a county alcohol and drug problem assessment program if you have previously been convicted of a violation of California Vehicle Code Sections 23152 or 23153 that occurred more than 10 years ago.

Recent Case Results

  • Charge
    2nd DUI (.12 BREATH)

    Result
    DUI Dismissed! No Jail!

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