California DUI Penalties

Opinions in blog posts are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of 1.800.NoCuffs and The Kavinoky Law Firm.

California DUI Penalties restrict driving privileges, cost a ton of money, and/or require significant jail time.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common crimes committed in the United States. In fact, in 2012, there were over 1.28 million drivers arrested in the United States for DUI; 1 for every 165 licensed drivers in the country. There are so many people arrested annually for DUI, so awareness of potential penalties is very important.

Penalties for DUI Charges

Driving under the influence is a state crime. So, penalties vary from state to state. Compared to other states, California’s DUI penalties carry significant jail time but carry relatively small fines.

DUI Penalty Matrix

In 10 years, this was your… Fine Jail
1st Offense $390 – $1,000 4 days – 6 months*
2nd Offense $390 – $1,000 90 days – 1 year
3rd Offense $390 – $1,000 120 days – 1 year

Note: *At least 2 days of jail time must be continuous, the remaining jail time can be served during time off work. This decision is at the court’s discretion. 

DUI Classes

In addition to fines and jail time, California’s DUI laws require you to take drug or alcohol rehabilitation classes. If the conviction is in Sacramento, Tulare, Los Angeles, or Alameda counties, then an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a requirement. The IID is then mandatory for a a minimum of 5 months.

DUI classes have different sections for different convictions. Depending on the offense, violators fall into different classes. A conviction of DUI for the first time, second DUI offense, or with a “wet reckless” charge determines which class you take. “Wet reckless” is a term for reckless driving with a measurable blood alcohol content (BAC). These classes take a substantial time period to complete. The class schedule for third-time DUI offenders is a 30-month program, in addition to fines and criminal charges.

These are only the minimum penalties, however. The penalties rapidly increase if other factors play into your arrest. If the arrest involves an exceptionally high BAC, driving with minors in the car, or the damage of another car, the potential risks increase.

Unfortunately, even after you pay fines and complete jail time, the penalties continue. In addition to these penalties, criminal convictions linger on your record. As a result, each additional conviction makes subsequent arrests much worse. This is especially true in California. In California, neither the state’s laws nor state judges look sympathetically on what they see as “repeat offenders.”

Therefore, with all of these penalties in mind, preventing the first conviction is even more important.

Best Attorneys in Los Angeles

One of the best ways to ensure you aren’t convicted for your first DUI in California is to find one of the best, most experienced attorneys in the field of DUI defense in the state.

At the Kavinoky Law Firm, we don’t have just one of the best in Los Angeles; We have an office staffed full of the best attorneys in California. All of our attorneys are well-versed in all matters of criminal law. Their expertise ranges from DUI to murder. Additionally, with offices throughout California, we’re ready to fight for your freedom in any court in the state.

Call us for a free consultation: 1800NOCUFFS

John Devendorf
John Devendorf
John Devendorf is a California barred attorney and graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law. He writes on a range of legal topics including criminal law, immigration, and legal marketing. While he is not a member of The Kavinoky Law Firm, we share his legal insights on topics important to our clients.