A DUI conviction can have a serious impact on your life. It can affect your job, your insurance rates and your ability to get into schools or obtain financial aid. Learn more about the DUI Consequences California.
Generally, first offenders receive probation for three to five years and DUI school that lasts 30 months. First offenders also have to install an ignition interlock device for a year.
First-time DUI offenders are normally charged with a misdemeanor offense. They may be sentenced to a minimum of 48 hours in jail or can receive probation with no jail time. Judges also order either an 18 or 30-month DUI school class. They can also require a six-month license suspension or a year in the case of a driver who refused a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test.
Some counties require the installation of an ignition interlock device for up to one year. Other penalties can include participation at a victim impact panel or community service work. Judges can impose additional fines and penalty assessments that can run into thousands of dollars. A first-time conviction also leads to a lifetime revocation of driving privileges in California.
Generally, a second DUI conviction results in the same base fines as a first offense (from $390 to $1,000 plus significant penalty assessments). However, the court may impose additional discretionary penalties.
Jail time can be up to 96 hours in some counties and the minimum license suspension is one year. Additionally, a second time offender must complete the 18 month SB-38 alcohol education class.
A second offense within 10 years will usually be a misdemeanor, but there are aggravating factors that can elevate the charge to a felony. In such cases, jail time and jail sentences are typically more severe. A person convicted of a felony also must install an ignition interlock device for two years. Felony offenders cannot get restricted or work-related driving privileges during the suspension period.
A third DUI conviction within ten years in California is a felony and it carries harsh penalties. A judge must consider certain aggravating factors to elevate a DUI from misdemeanor to felony status.
In most cases, a third-time offender will receive three to five years of informal probation. They also will serve a minimum of 120 days in county jail.
As a part of their probation, they will have to enroll in a DUI treatment program that lasts between 18 and 30 months. They will also have to install an ignition interlock device for two years.
The best way to avoid jail time is to fight the charges with the help of a skilled DUI lawyer. They may be able to get the charges reduced to “wet reckless” or another traffic offense and reduce your fines and fees.
If you get caught for a fourth DUI in California, you will likely face felony charges. The prosecution will have to prove that you drove under the influence and that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above 0.08%.
A conviction for a fourth DUI can result in jail time of up to one year and fines that can easily go over $2,000 and can cause you to lose your license for several years. It will also put a blemish on your record that can make it difficult to apply for jobs, qualify for schools and to get financial aid.
Other penalties include a mandatory 18-month DUI school period, possible vehicle restriction and the installation of an interlock ignition device. The court may also place a “Habitual Traffic Offender” label on your DMV record for three years.
DUI with Injury
If another person gets injured because of your DUI, you will face felony charges and penalties. This includes a longer jail term, fines and license suspension. It also includes other penalties like restitution for medical bills and lost wages.
The injuries have to be severe to qualify for a felony charge. This means broken bones, severe internal damages and even loss of a limb. DUI with injury is a wobbler offense in California, which means the prosecutor will consider your criminal history and circumstances to decide whether to pursue it as a misdemeanor or felony. If you cause serious bodily injuries and have a previous DUI conviction in the past five years, your case could be charged as a felony. This is known as a level 5 felony.