Don’t Drink and Drive: California DUI Laws Explained

We all know that drinking alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car, or any vehicle for that matter, is very dangerous. But, just exactly how detrimental can it be? In California the laws regarding DUI convictions are very strict and should be taken seriously.

In California, assuming that there are no bodily injuries or deaths as result of a DUI, the maximum punishment that may be given is a $1,000 fine, $2,600 in penalty assessments, six months imprisonment, and a six-month license suspension. The minimum penalties for a first offense are as follows:

  • $390 fine, $1,000 in ordinary penalty assessments, plus DUI-only assessments of $1,800
  • 48-hour jail sentence or 90-day license restriction in addition to your DMV four-month suspension
  • Completion of a 3-month alcohol treatment program (could be longer depending on the blood alcohol level recorded at the time of arrest)
  • Loss of your driver’s license for at least 30 days followed by a restriction for up to 5 months

After the first offense for a DUI the punishments increase severely. In the case of a second DUI conviction within ten years of the first one, a $390 fine plus penalty assessments of $1,800 will be enacted, the person will face ten days in jail, completion of an 18-30 month alcohol treatment program, and the installation of an "interlock" device on all vehicles you own. After a third DUI conviction, all of the regular fines will apply in addition to up to $18,000 in penalties and assessments, 120 days in jail, loss of your driver’s license for up to three years, and the completion of a 30-month alcohol rehabilitation program with other multi-offenders.

However, if someone is tragically killed or injured in a DUI accident then the driver can be found guilty of a felony and could go to prison for anywhere from 1-5 years, depending on how many previous offenses they have had. Judges take DUI extremely seriously, so the maximum sentence for the particular offense is likely to be given.

On top of all of these fines and penalties, you will have to pay lawyers fees and increased insurance rates. Costs add up quickly in DUI cases and results from these accidents can be disastrous.

Don’t make the mistake of drinking and driving. Calling an Uber or a Taxi may seem expensive in the moment but it can save a lot of money, not to mention a life, in the long run. Bottom line: it’s not worth it!

If you do find yourself in the situation where you have been stopped for a DUI, call us before you do anything else. At Glew & Kim, many of our cases involve drug and marijuana-related offenses, including DUI, and we provide expert defense in this area. Learn more about our marijuana and marijuana DUI cases.