California DUI Penalties

What are the Fines and Consequences?

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According to California DUI penalties there are two basic ways you can be convicted for drunk driving:

  1. If you were driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs
  2. If your BAC was above 0.08 %

Once you are arrested for drunk driving, you will have to face many legal and administrative consequences.

California DUI Consequences:

  • Fines between $390 - $1,300
  • Driver's License Suspended 6 months
  • Pay $125 License Reinstatement Fee
  • Probation between 3-5 years
  • Jail time from 2 days to 6 months
  • DUI school: Between 12 - 45 hours

To get a better idea of how much a DUI is going to cost you, read

DUI Fines : 10 Costly Consequences of Drunk Driving Laws

Ignition Interlock Devices

If you are a first time DUI offender and live in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare, you will be required to purchase an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). The IID will require you to give a clean breath sample every time before you can start your vehicle.

If you are a repeat drunk driving offender you will be required to install the IID regardless of your where you live.

Driver's License

California DUI penalties state that your driver's license will be suspended 30 days after your arrest. The length of your suspension depends on your prior drunk driving record.

  • First DUI Offense : 4 - 6 months
  • Second DUI Offense: 2 years
  • Third DUI Offense: 2 years

This suspension is completely separate from the suspension you will get from the courts. Typically the courts will suspend your driver's license for 6 months. Your DMV suspension will then overlap with you court suspension.

Since the DMV suspension process is separate from the legal process, your driver's license is suspended immediately, even before you get a final DUI conviction. If you believe you were wrongly arrested for a DUI, you have a chance to get your driver's license reinstated.

You have 10 days from the day of your DUI arrest to request a hearing with the DMV. If you do not request this hearing, you will lose your driver's license after 30 days from your arrest. At this hearing, the DMV will look to answer the following questions:

  • Was there reasonable cause to pull you over?
  • Did you refuse to take the chemical test?
  • Were you aware of the consequences of refusing to take the test?
  • Did you fail the chemical test?

If they are able to answer "Yes" to any of these questions, it will be difficult for you to reverse the suspension.

Higher Car Insurance Rates

When you are convicted of a DUI, your car insurance provider will cancel their policy with you.

Under California DUI penalties you are allowed a restricted driver's license. Using the restricted driver's license you are allowed to drive to and from work and to and from the DUI school.

You can be granted a restricted driver's license if you can show that you are insured by another car insurance company. This requires you to fill out an SR-22 insurance form (SR stands for State Required).

To better understand what happens to your auto insurance after a drunk driving arrest, read

DUI Auto Insurance: Consequences of Drunk Driving Arrests

Unfortunately, one of the biggest consequences under California DUI penalties is that your new car insurance rate will be much higher ( almost 3 times ) as your previous policy.

However, there are several ways you can reduce your monthly payments.

Read DUI Car Insurance: 5 Ways to Lower Your Payment

When you purchase your new car insurance policy, you will have to make sure it meets California's minimum liability coverage.

  • $15,000 - For the Death and Injury of One Person
  • $30,000 - For the Death and Injury to More than One Person
  • $5,000 - Property Damage