DUI Penalties in California

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in the state of California, and the severity of sentencing depends upon the specific factors involved in the alleged crime and the individual's past convictions. DUI can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony based upon the circumstances of the case, and the penalties for drunk driving increase with each subsequent conviction.

DUI Penalties and Fines in California

First DUI
The law imposes harsh sentencing to try to deter people from intoxicated driving, and even a first offense can result in serious penalties. A first DUI is a misdemeanor offense and potential penalties include:

  • Incarceration in county jail for up to 6 months
  • Fines of $390 to $1,000
  • Driver's license suspension for 6 to 10 months
  • Summary (informal) probation for 3 to 5 years
  • Mandatory completion of a 3 or 9 month court-approved alcohol education program

Second DUI
If you are convicted of drunk driving for a second time within 10 years, you face increased consequences. A second DUI is a misdemeanor offense punishable by the following penalties:

  • Incarceration in county jail for a minimum on 96 hours to a maximum of 1 year
  • Fines of $390 to $1,000
  • Driver's license suspension for up to 2 years
  • Summary probation for 3 to 5 years
  • Mandatory completion of a 18 or 30 month court-approved alcohol education program

Third DUI
Conviction for a third DUI offense within 10 years will result in much harsher penalties. A third DUI is a misdemeanor punishable by the following:

  • Incarceration in county jail for a minimum of 120 days and a maximum of 1 year
  • Fines of $390 to $1,000
  • Driver's license revocation for up to 3 years
  • Summary probation for 3 to 5 years
  • Mandatory completion of a 30 month court-approved alcohol education program
  • DMV designation as a habitual traffic offender (HTO)

Fourth (or More) DUI
DUI is charged as a felony offense if you are convicted for four or more drunk driving offenses within 10 years. The penalties for a felony DUI are very severe, and sentencing can include:

  • Incarceration in a state prison for 16 months to 3 years
  • Fines of $390 to $1,000
  • Driver's license revocation for 4 years
  • HTO designation by the DMV

In addition to the penalties for a standard DUI charge, the penalties for any drunk driving offense can be increased if aggravating factors were involved in the alleged incident. You could face increased sentencing if your DUI involved any of the following:

  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .15% or higher
  • You are under 21 years of age
  • You caused an accident
  • You caused injuries to victims
  • You caused a fatality
  • You refused to submit to a chemical test
  • You were driving at excessive speeds
  • You drove intoxicated with a child under the age of 14 in the car

Regardless of your past record, DUI charges are always serious and require the representation of an experienced Bakersfield criminal defense lawyer. No matter how dire your situation may seem, you still have the right to fight back against your charges, and our firm can help. We can evaluate the circumstances that led to your arrest and charges to determine whether your rights were violated and to build a compelling defense on your behalf.

Our team at The Law Offices of Kyle J. Humphrey is dedicated to providing clients with the aggressive and strategic defense needed to effectively challenge DUI charges, and we can fight for you as well. If you would like to learn how you can fight the harsh consequences of drunk driving, contact our firm today to discuss your case!

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