California DUI Laws & Drunk Driving Penalties


Overview of the penalties upon conviction of DUI in California

California DUI Laws, BAC limits, fines, jail times, IID requirements, suspension/revocation periods and SR22 insurance requirements for first time and repeat offenders with multiple DUI's.

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.

What are the penalties for DUI in California?

The penalties for driving under the influence in California will depend upon the exact circumstances of each particular case and the number of previous offenses (if any) a person has.

CA DUI Penalties

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

1st DUI Offense - Misdemeanor

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

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2nd DUI Offense - Misdemeanor

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

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3rd DUI Offense - Misdemeanor

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

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.

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4th (& subsequent) DUI Offense - 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.

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.

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† 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.


Implied Consent (Chemical Testing) Laws

California Chemical Testing Laws

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.

Chemical Test Refusal Penalties - California

First Chemical Test Refusal

Second Chemical Test Refusal

Third Chemical Test Refusal

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What is the legal alcohol limit in California

The maximum legal BAC (blood alcohol content) limits in California for driving are as follows:

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.

DRIVERS UNDER 21 - BAC LIMIT = 0.01%
In the State of California it is an offense for drivers under the age of 21 (minors) to drive any motor vehicle with 0.01% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his/her blood.

DRIVERS UNDER 18 - BAC LIMIT = 0.00%
In the State of California it is an offense for drivers under the age of 21 (minors) to drive any motor vehicle with 0.00% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his/her blood.

PROBATION - BAC LIMIT = 0.01%
In the State of California it is an offense for drivers on probation for for violating DUI laws to drive any motor vehicle with 0.01% 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 who drive commercial vehicles to drive any commercial motor vehicle with 0.04% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his/her blood.

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

DUI Laws - Drinkdriving.org

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