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Consequences of Driving Under the Influence in California

Posted on in DUI

DUI conviction, DUI charges, first-offense DUI, Santa Clara County DUI defense attorney, DUI penaltiesCalifornia has relatively strict punishments for those caught driving under the influence (DUI). In the state of California, anyone who is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will automatically have his or her license suspended, a process called admin per se suspension, which is conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In addition to automatic license suspension, California poses serious penalties on those who are convicted of DUI. The penalties get more strict with the increasing number of convictions. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important for you to understand the penalties that a DUI charge carries.

Basic Penalties

In the state of California, all DUI convictions carry certain base penalties. These base penalties include:

  • Admin per se license suspension;
  • Court fees;
  • Jail time;
  • DUI educational programs;
  • The potential that you must install an ignition interlock device; and
  • The potential for other penalties, like higher insurance costs.

California’s DUI laws are priorable, meaning that the punishments are tougher if you are convicted of multiple DUI charges. Charges are counted against you if you have been convicted within the last 10 years.

First Offense

A first-offense DUI conviction in California is a misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:

  • License suspension: A first-time DUI offender can expect to have his or her license revoked for at least six months following a DUI conviction. An admin per se license suspension will also be imposed, which is usually four months, but the suspensions are allowed to overlap. If a driver refuses a blood alcohol content (BAC) test, his or her license will be suspended for an administrative period of one year.
  • Fines: Fines for a first-time DUI offender will be at least $340, but not more than $1,000.
  • Jail: A sentence of at least 96 hours, but not more than six months in jail is possible with a DUI conviction, but most judges sentence first-time offenders to probation.
  • Probation: Often, judges tend to sentence first-time DUI offenders to a probationary period rather than jail time. If a person is sentenced to probation, he or she will be required to complete a DUI education class. The length of the program will be determined by the person’s BAC at the time of arrest, but will be at least three months in length.

Second Offense

A second-offense DUI conviction is a misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:

  • License suspension: The courts can order a two-year license suspension for a second offense and the administrative suspension can be one year.
  • Fines: Offenders can be fined a minimum of $390 and a maximum of $1,000 upon a second DUI conviction.
  • Jail: Second-time offenders can face 90 days and up to one year in the county jail.
  • Probation: Three to five years of probation can be sentenced to offenders. If an offender has received probation, he or she will be required to complete an 18 or 30-month DUI education program, which will be decided by the judge.

Third Offense

Third-offense DUIs in California are classified as misdemeanors and carry the following penalties:

  • License suspension: Typically a three-year suspension will be issued by the court for a third-offense DUI. A one-year administrative suspension will be issued as well.
  • Fines: Third-time DUI offenders will be subject to a minimum of $390 and a maximum of $1,000 in fines.
  • Jail: Offenders can be subject to at least 120 days in jail, but can face a sentence of up to one year. If they are granted probation, they will serve 30 days in jail.
  • Probation: Three to five years of probation will be given to third-time DUI offenders. They must also complete a 30-month DUI education program.

Contact a San Jose DUI Defense Attorney

If you are charged with a DUI, it is crucial that you seek counsel from an experienced Santa Clara County DUI defense attorney right away. The sooner you seek help, the better your chances of receiving a lenient sentence. The Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson will help you fight to keep your driving privileges and get you the best possible outcome. Call 408-246-3004 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&division=11.5.&title=&part=&chapter=2.&article=2.

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&division=6.&title=&part=&chapter=2.&article=3.

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