If a person is driving while under the influence, there are a few things they can do to help their case, and possibly avoid going to jail. The penalties a person can face once charged with a DUI varies on the circumstances of your situation. DUI convictions last for ten years on one’s record.

What is the first penalty for a DUI in California?

A first DUI conviction in California is always a misdemeanor. Some DUI penalties could include:

  • Fines ranging from $390-$1000, as well as additional penalty assessments, in which the court will assess the recklessness of the person’s driving and add additional fines.
  • Possible jail time could occur, which could last 48 hours to six months. If the judge orders probation, however, the jail time is not mandatory. Usually, judges will not order jail time for first-time offenders, but in some circumstances, the judge may assign up to six months.
  • License suspension will typically occur once a person is convicted of a DUI. The DMV will also impose a 4-month driving suspension on your license if a person has a BAC over 0.8%. The DMV could impose up to a year suspension if the driver refuses to take a BAC test.
  • Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) are available to first-time offenders, which offers them the chance to keep driving their vehicle, but must blow into the IID and have a BAC of 0% to be able to drive.
  • Probation is almost always given to first-time offenders. First time DUI offenders will usually receive a 3-year term of informal probation. Offenders with a BAC of over .20% will have to be on probation for 5 years. These people would also need to complete DUI driver safety courses, which could last from 3 to 9 months.

What are the penalties for a second DUI in California?

A second DUI in California is also a misdemeanor. DUI penalties for the 2nd charge could include:

  • Fines ranging from $390-$1000, plus additional penalty assessments.
  • Jail time can occur, which could last 96 hours to one year. In some cases, offenders may serve their jail time on house arrest. Speak with a lawyer to see options on how to serve prison time on house arrest.
  • License suspension will occur. The DMV will place a driving restriction on a person’s license for 12 months if they have a BAC of 0.8%, and the court will place a 2-year restriction on the license.
  • Probation will be given to the offender for 3 to 5 years, depending on the circumstances and prior history. The court will also order another DUI driver safety course, which could last either 18 or 30 months. The judge will decide on these matters.

What are the penalties for a third DUI in California?

Although many people believe a third DUI would be a felony, in most cases it is not. A third DUI conviction is typically a misdemeanor as well but could be upgraded to a felony based on the circumstances. Penalties for a third DUI include:

  • Fines, with the same penalty assessments as the last two DUIs
  • Mandatory jail time. This can last 120 days to a year, or 30 days if probation is granted as well as a 30 month DUI driving safety course.
  • License suspension. There is a three-year criminal offense that does not allow a person to drive, as well as a 12-month suspension given by the DMV. These are allowed to overlap, meaning a person would be license suspended for 3 years and not 4. A third DUI offender also must install an IID in their car for two years once they decide and are allowed to drive again.
  • Probation will be given to the offender for 3 to 5 years. The judge also has the discretion to assign 30 months of DUI safety courses.

What are the penalties if someone is injured in a DUI accident?

DUI charges are considered wobbler charges. Wobbler charges have the ability to become a felony if the prosecutor decides that the circumstances allow it. Wobbler offenses also have the ability to stay as a misdemeanor. If someone is injured in a DUI incident, that person will most likely be charged with felony DUI. A felony DUI could have the offender in jail for 16 months to 4 years. If someone had been killed in a DUI incident, the offender would be charged under the state’s vehicular manslaughter laws. The defendant could be charged with negligent vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, 2nd-degree murder, or gross vehicular manslaughter. The penalties for these offenses vary. If convicted of 2nd-degree murder, a person could spend 15 years to life in jail.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one has been involved in a DUI accident, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.