California DUI Laws & Drunk Driving Penalties

Overview of the penalties upon conviction of DUI in California

Outlines the consequences when charged and convicted of DUI (driving under the influence) in the state of California. Including legal BAC limits, fines, jail times, IID requirements, suspension/revocation periods and SR22 insurance requirements for first time and repeat offenders with multiple DUI's.

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Drunk Driving Laws by State



California Drunk Driving Laws & BAC Limits

Interstate Drivers License Compact (DLC)

California is a member of the interstate drivers license compact, an agreement between member states to share information about drivers license suspensions and traffic violations such as DUI / DWI / Drunk Driving. Charges for violations in California against any non-residents will be shared with the drivers home state and vice versa.

The course of action taken by the drivers home state will be determined by that particular state's legislature.

If you've been charged with DUI in California, the law allows only 10 days for a California DUI Lawyer to make a request with the California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for a hearing to help save your drivers license.

Maximum Legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Limits in California

Anyone found driving with alcohol levels exceeding the the legal limits set out below will be classed as driving under the influence and will be charged with the appropriate offense.

ADULT DRIVERS - BAC LIMIT = 0.08%
In the state of California it is an offense for adult drivers to drive any regular motor vehicle with 0.08% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his/her blood.

COMMERCIAL DRIVERS - BAC LIMIT = 0.04%
In the state of California it is an offense for drivers to drive any motor vehicle that requires a commercial drivers license with 0.04% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his/her blood.

DRIVERS UNDER 21 - BAC LIMIT = 0.01%
In the state of California it is an offense for drivers under the age of 21 to drive any motor vehicle with 0.01% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his/her blood as measured by a chemical test or preliminary alcohol screening test.

It is also an offense to refuse to submit to a chemical test in California and implied consent laws are enforced.


California DUI Penalties

California is a state with a 10 year 'washout period' also known as a 'look back period'.

NOTE: Probation
The exact minimum lengths of any imprisonment and programs a person must serve/complete will depend if they are granted probation or not. The ranges shown below take this into account. Minimum periods will be longer if no probation is granted.


First DUI Offense / Conviction - Misdemeanor

The penalty upon conviction of a first DUI offense in California:

  • Fines: $390 to $1,000
  • Imprisonment: 96 hours to 6 months in county jail (of which 48 hours shall be continuous)
  • Drivers License Suspension: 6 months drivers license suspension
    • Restricted Drivers License: may be available before suspension period ends IF driver submits proof of enrollment in or completion of driving under the influence program AND submits proof of financial responsibility AND pays all applicable license reinstatement fees
  • Ignition Interlock: May be required to install a certified ignition interlock device (IID) on all vehicles owned and/or operated for up to 3 years from the date of conviction
  • Attendance at driving under the influence program for at least 3 months
  • CA SR22 Insurance (proof of financial responsibility) Requirement

Second DUI Offense / Conviction - Misdemeanor

The penalty upon conviction of a second DUI offense in California:

  • Fines: $390 to $1,000
  • Imprisonment: 96 hours to 1 year in county jail (of which 48 hours shall be continuous)
  • Drivers License Suspension: 2 years drivers license suspension
    • Restricted Drivers License: may be available after 90 days of suspension period has been served IF driver submits proof of enrollment in driving under the influence program AND submits proof of installation of ignition interlock device AND submits proof of financial responsibility AND pays all applicable license reinstatement fees
  • Ignition Interlock: May be required to install a certified ignition interlock device (IID) on all vehicles owned and/or operated for up to 3 years from the date of conviction
  • Completion of driving under the influence program
  • CA SR22 Insurance (proof of financial responsibility) Requirement

Third DUI Offense / Conviction - Misdemeanor

The penalty upon conviction of a third DUI offense in California:

Will be designated as an habitual traffic offender for a period of 3 years subsequent to conviction.

  • Fines: $390 to $1,000
  • Imprisonment: 30 days to 1 year in county jail (of which 48 hours shall be continuous)
  • Drivers License Revocation: 3 years drivers license revocation
    • Restricted Drivers License: may be available after 6 months of revocation period has been served IF driver submits proof of enrollment in driving under the influence program AND submits proof of installation of ignition interlock device AND submits proof of financial responsibility AND pays all applicable license reinstatement fees

Possible 10 year drivers license revocation
Any driver convicted of three or more DUI violations within a 10 year period may be liable to be issued with a 10 years drivers license revocation.


Fourth (and Subsequent) DUI Offense / Conviction - FELONY

The penalty upon conviction of a fourth or subsequent DUI offense in California:

Will be designated as an habitual traffic offender for a period of 3 years subsequent to conviction.

  • Fines: $390 to $1,000
  • Imprisonment: 180 days to 1 year in county jail OR up to 3 years in state penitentiary (depending on previous convictions)
  • Drivers License Revocation: 4 years drivers license revocation
    • Restricted Drivers License: may be available after 12 months of revocation period has been served IF driver submits proof of enrollment in and completion of at least 12 months of the driving under the influence program AND submits proof of installation of ignition interlock device AND submits proof of financial responsibility AND pays all applicable license reinstatement fees

Possible 10 year drivers license revocation
Any driver convicted of three or more DUI violations within a 10 year period may be liable to be issued with a 10 years drivers license revocation.


† 10 Year Drivers License Revocations for Three or More Violations
Sentencing courts will consider revoking the drivers license of any repeat offender who has been convicted of three of more DUI violations within a 10 year period.

Before considering imposing a 10 year revocation the court will consider the following factors:

1) The persons level of remorse for the acts.
2) The period of time that has elapsed since the persons previous convictions.
3) The persons blood alcohol level at the time of the offense / violation
4) The persons participation in an alcohol treatment program.
5) The persons risk to traffic and/or public safety.
6) The persons ability to install a certified ignition interlock device in each motor vehicle the person owns or operates.


Restricted Drivers License
If a persons drivers license is revoked for a period of 10 years then they are able to apply to have their privilege to operate a motor vehicle reinstated after a period of 5 years has expired since the revocation; subject to the condition they must agree to have a verified ignition interlock device installed for a period of two years following license reinstatement.

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Implied Consent (Chemical Testing) Laws

Implied Consent Chemical Testing California

In California any person driving a motor vehicle is deemed to have given their consent for chemical testing of their breath, blood or urine in order to determine the alcohol content within their blood if lawfully arrested for driving under the influence. It is an offense to refuse to submit or fail to complete a blood alcohol test when required to do so.

Penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test in California

First Chemical Test Refusal

Second Chemical Test Refusal

Third Chemical Test Refusal

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California SR22 Insurance Quotes & Requirements

Compare California Auto Insurance Rates and Save $$$'s California SR22



California SR22 Quote Line

California SR-22 auto insurance is usually required for a period of 3 years after a DUI - drunk driving - alcohol related driving conviction and can be very expensive if you go with the wrong provider. Some insurance companies will not even do an SR22 insurance filing. Get a FREE DUI auto insurance quote and compare rates to find the best deal, simply enter your ZIP code above and you can be comparing prices for California auto insurance in a matter of minutes.

Minimum liability insurance requirements for private passenger vehicles in the state of California

The minimum mandatory liability insurance coverage required in the state of California for private passenger vehicles is (15/30/5). This equates to the following liability coverage:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per (BIL) person
  • $30,000 for two or more people in one accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability (PDL) coverage

What is (BIL) Bodily Injury Liability insurance?

(BIL) Bodily Injury Liability insurance coverage will pay for serious and permanent injury or death to other people when a crash is caused by the insured. An auto insurance company will pay for injuries up to the limits specified in an insurance policy and will provide legal representation for the insured in the event someone tries to sue them.

What is (PDL) Property Damage Liability insurance?

(PDL) Property Damage Liability insurance coverage pays for damages an insured driver or members of an insured drivers family cause (and are liable for) to other people's property in a crash involving a motor vehicle.

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CALIFORNIA DUI NEWS

Federal Grant will Fund DUI Checkpoints - Patch.com


Federal Grant will Fund DUI Checkpoints
Patch.com
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has received a federal ?Reducing Impaired Driving? grant, which will fund 150 sobriety checkpoints, 75 DUI task force operations, proactive DUI enforcement patrols through September 30, 2015, and at least 100 safety ...


Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:18:45 GMT


DUI Checkpoint Planned This Weekend - Santa Barbara Edhat


KERO-TV 23

DUI Checkpoint Planned This Weekend
Santa Barbara Edhat
In California, this deadly crime led to 802 deaths in 2012 because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Nationally, the latest data shows nearly 10,000 were killed by an impaired driver. "Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions ...
Bakersfield Police: Kern Avoid DUI Task Force to conduct DUI, Driver's License ...KERO-TV 23
CHP Finds Suspected DUI Driver Asleep In Fast Lane On Highway 101 In San ...CBS Local
Police to conduct checkpoint SaturdayBakersfield Californian
Rocklin and Roseville Today
all 29 news articles »

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:00:57 GMT


Westminster City Councilman Arrested in DUI - NBC Southern California


KABC-TV

Westminster City Councilman Arrested in DUI
NBC Southern California
A Westminster city councilman, a convicted drunken driver, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after hitting a metal fence at an apartment complex, the California Highway Patrol said. Hetty Chang reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 11 on Monday, ...
Westminster Councilman Andy Quach arrested for second alleged DUIKABC-TV
Westminster councilman arrested in second DUI caseFresno Bee
Westminster councilman, previously convicted of DUI, posts bail after arrest ...OCRegister
Los Angeles Times
all 29 news articles »

Tue, 11 Nov 2014 04:46:08 GMT


California mayor at center of immigration debate charged with DUI - Yahoo News


Yahoo News

California mayor at center of immigration debate charged with DUI
Yahoo News
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Southern California mayor who made headlines leading a local backlash against a flood of Central American immigrants across the U.S. border, has been charged with felony drunk driving in connection with an accident that ...
Ex-Mayor of Murrieta Charged With Felony DUI in Crash That Injured 4 ...KTLA

all 36 news articles »

Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:45:54 GMT


CHP to increase DUI patrols in Monterey County - The Salinas Californian


The Salinas Californian

CHP to increase DUI patrols in Monterey County
The Salinas Californian
Courtesy of a federal grant, the Monterey Area office of the California Highway Patrol increased DUI enforcement patrols last month, according to a release. The 12-month campaign began Oct. 1. In addition to patrols, the CHP will create a community ...

and more »

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 04:37:18 GMT


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