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California Drunk Driving Fines & Penalties

 

 

First California DUI Offense

1st Drunk Driving Conviction

  • Jail: From 96 Hours to 6 Months
  • Fine: From $1,000 to $1,600
  • License Suspension: 6 Months
  • Must Complete a Driving Under the Influence Program
  • May Be Ordered to Install Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
  • California SR22 Insurance Required for Restricted License

Second California DUI Offense

2nd Drunk Driving Conviction (Within 10 Years of Previous)

  • Jail: 90 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine - From $1,000 to $1,900
  • License Suspension: 2 Years
  • May Apply for Restricted Driver License (IID Required)
  • Must Complete a Driving Under the Influence Program
  • California SR22 Certificate Required for Restricted License
 

Third California DUI Offense

3rd Drunk Driving Conviction (Within 10 Years of Previous)

  • Jail: 120 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine - From $1,000 to $2,000
  • License Suspension: 3 Years
  • You Receive a Designation as a Habitual Offender (This is not a good thing)
  • May Apply for Restricted Driver License after 1 Year
  • Ignition Interlock Device Required
  • Must Complete a Driving Under the Influence Program
  • California SR22 Certificate Required for Restricted License

Fourth DUI Offense in California

4th Drunk Driving Conviction(Within 10 Years of Previous)

  • Jail or Prison: 180 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine - From $1,000 to $3,000
  • License Suspension: 4 Years
  • May Apply for Restricted Driver License after 1 Year
  • Ignition Interlock Device Required
  • Must Complete a Driving Under the Influence Program
  • California SR22 Certificate Required for Restricted License

2009 New DUI Laws

California - Assembly Bill 91

Requires ignition interlock device manufacturers to provide certain information to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Requires the department to establish a pilot program in the Counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare that requires, as a condition of being issued a restricted driver's license, a driver's license, or having the privilege to operate a motor vehicle reinstated, a person to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles they own or operate and to participate in an alcohol and drug assessment program and pay a fee.

California - Assembly Bill 1165 - DUI Zero Tolerance Law For Repeat Offenders

Makes it unlawful for a person who is on probation for a violation of either of certain driving under-the-influence offenses to operate a motor vehicle at any time with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01% or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test. Imposes additional sanctions on person found to violate this prohibition. Removes obsolete references in existing law related to license revocation for refusing or failing to complete a preliminary screening test.

California - Senate Bill 1190 - DUI Ignition Interlock Devices

Lowers the minimum blood alcohol percentage at the time of a DUI arrest that allows a court to require the person to install a certified ignition interlock device on any vehicle that the persons owns or operates and prohibits that person from operating a vehicle without such a device. Authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to undertake a study regarding the overall effectiveness of the use of such devices to reduce recidivism of first time DUI violators.

California - Senate Bill 1388 - DUI Ignition Interlock Devices (Effective July, 2009)

Requires a person to immediately install a certified ignition interlock device on all vehicles they own or operate for a certain period when they have been convicted of violating DUI provisions and driving a motor vehicle when their license has been suspended or revoked as a result of a DUI-related conviction. Provides the number of violations will determine the period of time the device will be required. Sets a scheme with which a person will be informed of the installment requirements and related fees.

California - Assembly Bill 2802 - DUI Reckless Driving

Requires a court to order a person convicted of alcohol-related reckless driving to participate in a licensed program that consists of specified activities, including education, group counseling, and individual interview sessions, if that person has a prior conviction of a violation of the alcohol-related reckless driving law or another specified DUI law and the prior convicted offense occurred within 10 years. Requires probation revocation for failure to enroll, participate in, or complete the program.

For other changes to California Driving Laws please visit the NCSL Website.

Using the Blood Alcohol Concentration Chart:

Find your weight, Then, look for the total number of drinks you have had and compare that to the time interval shown. If your blood alcohol concentration level is in the gray zone, your chances of having an accident are five times higher than if you had no drinks, and 25 times higher if your blood alcohol concentration level is in the black zone.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in California?

 

This is a difficult question to answer, each individual has unique attributes that contribute to a BAC score and physical characteristics, such as weight, gender, and body fat percentage are all factors in the drunk driver equation.

The best answer is to have zero drinks before you drive. When you drink and drive in California you risk your life, and the lives of others. In addition the monetary damage is significant when your consider lost wages, fines and the potential SR-22 Insurance requirements.

The State of California has the "Table" shown above to give guidelines for drinking and driving. This table isn't a legal reference for how much alcohol can be consumed before you are considered a drunk driver or over the legal limit, however it does offer a resource to reference if you are looking for some basic guidelines.

 

Drunk Driving Laws in California

While Driving in the State of California it is illegal to :

  • Drivers under 21 may not have beer, wine or liquor in their vehicle while they are driving alone. (Their may be exceptions for work related driving)
  • Drivers under 21 with a blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) of .01 or higher.
  • Drivers Under 21 after consuming alcohol in any form, including cough syrup, and prescription drugs.
  • Any driver with a BAC .08 or higher.
  • Any vehicle requiring a commercial driver license with a BAC of .04 percent or higher
  • Driver under 18, ANY measurable blood alcohol concentration.
  • Repeat offenders may not have a BAC of .01 or Greater

As you can read above, in the State of California has strict drunk driving laws for drivers under the age of 21 and repeat offenders (.01%) and a "no tolerance" law for drivers under the age of 18. In addition a driver of a commercial vehicle is only allowed to have a .04% BAC.

Drunk driving laws in The State of California are similar to many other DUI laws across the United States. California's DUI law prohibits a person from driving when they have a concentration of .08 percent or more alcohol in their blood system. This is the standard measurement use by all states for the "impaired" driver.

California DUI Conviction

On your first DUI conviction in California you will receive Jail for no less than 96 hours and no more than 6 months. The fine will be no less than $390 and no more than $1,000. Your drivers license will be suspended for six months, however, if allowed, the court may grant the convicted a temporary restricted license. Your drivers license will not be reinstated until proof of financial responsibility and proof that you have completed a "driving under the influence" program approved by the state. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a first time DUI offender may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device at their own expense.

A second DUI conviction in California will get you Jail for no less than 90 days and no more than 1 year. The fine will be no less than $390 and no more than $1,000 . Your drivers license will be suspended for 1 year. Your drivers license will not be reinstated until proof of financial responsibility and proof that you have completed a "driving under the influence" program approved by the state. Depending on the terms of the license suspension, the DUI offender may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device at their own expense.

Your third DUI conviction in California will get you Jail for no less than 120 days and no more than 1 year. The fine will be no less than $390 and no more than $1,000 . You will be considered by the state a "habitual traffic offender" for 3 years following your conviction and have your license suspended for 2 years. Your drivers license will not be reinstated until proof of financial responsibility and proof that you have completed a "driving under the influence" program approved by the state. The person may apply for a restricted driver's license under certain circumstances by the court, however an Ignition Interlock Device may be required.

On your fourth DUI conviction in California you will receive Jail, Prison or both, for no less than 180 days and no more than 1 year. The fine will be no less than $390 and no more than $1,000 . You will be considered by the state a "habitual traffic offender" for 3 years following your conviction and have your license revoked for 3 years. Your drivers license will not be reinstated until proof of financial responsibility and proof that you have completed a "driving under the influence" program approved by the state. The person may apply for a restricted driver's license under certain circumstances by the court. The person may apply for a restricted driver's license under certain circumstances by the court.

 

California SR-22 Requirements

In California, you may be required to obtain a California SR-22 insurance policy if you have been convicted of a DUI. If your insurance is cancelled because of a Drunk Driving conviction, your vehicle registration will be suspended if a new insurance policy is not issued within 45 days. One reason for an insurance cancellation in California is if your current policy falls under a "Good Driver Discount". Once you have been convicted of a Drunk Driving offense in California. you may no longer qualify for this reduced rate policy.

 

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