California DUI Law Information
Drivers arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in California may be charged with DUI and face jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension.
California DUI defined
California state DUI law states, “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle, and it is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. It is also unlawful for a person under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle. It is also illegal for a driver of a commercial vehicle to drive if their BAC is 0.04% or higher.” (California Vehicle Code Section 23252-23229.1)
California Look Back period: 10 years
If a driver’s second or third driving infraction occurs during the look back period the DUI penalties can be substantially increased. The date begins on the date of the first DUI arrest.
Criminal DUI Penalties in California
First DUI offense: (Misdemeanor)
- Possible jail time for 96 hours up to 6 months in jail
- Fines up to $2,000
- Drivers license suspension for 6 months with potential restricted license after 30 days
- Completion of a substance abuse or DUI program prior to license reinstatement
- Must purchase SR22 insurance
- Possible probation
- Additional $2,600 in penalties and assessments
Second DUI offense: (Misdemeanor)
- Potential jail term of 90 days to 364 days
- Fines ranging from $390 to $2,000
- Drivers license revocation for up to 2 years
- Possible probation
- Completion of alcohol abuse court referral program prior to license reinstatement
- Required to obtain an SR-22 insurance
Third DUI offense: (Misdemeanor)
- Jail term ranging from 120 days to 364 days (in lieu of the minimum term of imprisonment for 120 days the court may confine the offender to 30 days in a county jail with completion of a 30 month rehabilitation program).
- Fines of $390 up to $2,000
- Drivers license revocation for 3 years
- Designated as a habitual traffic offender for a period of 3 years
- Completion of a drug or alcohol abuse program prior to the license reinstatement
- Required to obtain an SR-22
Fourth DUI offense: (Charged as misdemeanor or felony
- Imprisonment for up to 3 years (for felony charge)
- Imprisonment for 180 to 364 days (for misdemeanor charge)
- Fines for misdemeanor of $390 to $2,000
- Designated as a habitual traffic offender
- Drivers license revocation for 4 years
- Completion of a drug or alcohol abuse program
Additional DUI Requirements
Certain California drivers may have the option to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for certain DUI convictions. If an ignition lock is required the driver will have to pay for the installation and monthly service fees. Some drivers who wish to reinstate their driving privileges may have the device installed.
-First-time offenders are required to install the device for 5 months
-Second DUI convictions require the IID to be installed for 1 year
-A third DUI requires an IID to be installed for 2 years
Administrative Penalties in California
Drivers in California have given their implied consent to submit to a chemical test if they have been arrested for DUI. Failure to consent to the required testing may result in administrative penalties, which are administered by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and are imposed regardless of whether the driver is ultimately convicted for DUI.
Drivers who refuse the chemical test will face the following administrative penalties:
- First refusal- 1 year license suspension
- Second refusal- 2 year license suspension
- Third refusal- 3 year license suspension
To challenge an administrative license suspension, drivers must request an administrative hearing within 10 days from the date of their DUI arrest by contacting the California Department of Motor Vehicles.