A California conviction for driving under the influence results in serious penalties, including but not limited to license suspension, costly fines and even jail time. Because the state has established a range of minimum and maximum penalties, however, the results of your case vary depending on the specific circumstances.
The legal blood alcohol content limit is 0.08% for most drivers, 0.04% for commercial drivers and 0.01% for minors. If you receive a DUI charge in California, here is what you need to know about the consequences you could face.
First-time DUI penalties
If you have never had a DUI before, the first offense is a misdemeanor. Fines range from $390 to $1,000 with additional administrative fees that could raise the total to several thousand dollars. Most first-time offenders receive probation, though you could receive between 48 hours and six months in jail. You will also receive a six-month license suspension and 30 hours of mandatory DUI education (60 hours if your BAC was higher than 0.20%).
Second-time DUI penalties
The second DUI conviction within 10 years of the first is also a misdemeanor. This crime carries the same fines as a first-time conviction as well as three years probation, 18 to 30 months of DUI education classes, 96 hours to two years in jail and a two-year license suspension. In addition, you must outfit your car with an ignition interlock device at your expense when you get your license back.
Third-time DUI penalties
Fines remain the same for a third DUI conviction within 10 years, but other penalties increase. You will receive 120 days to 12 months in jail, three to five years of probation, 30 months of DUI education and a three-year license suspension followed by two years of a mandatory ignition interlock device.
These are the base penalties for California DUI offenses. However, if an injury or fatality occurs, these crimes carry felony penalties that include a year or more in jail and fines of up to $5,000.