California drivers who are facing charges of driving under the influence (DUI) are subject to severe consequences, which vary depending on several factors. Retaining an experienced DUI attorney can ensure that the driver’s rights are protected as they navigate this complex legal process. Here’s what drivers need to know about California DUI penalties.
Basic DUI Penalties
In general, penalties increase with each DUI offense as follows:
- For the first DUI offense, California drivers can receive between four days and six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 plus penalties which may increase that amount to four or five times the base fine. This offense also carries a license suspension of 30 days to 10 months. In certain counties, the first offense requires the installation of an interlock ignition device (IID), which requires the driver to submit to a breathalyzer-like test that prevents the car from starting if his or her blood-alcohol level is too high.
- For the second DUI offense, penalties include 10 days to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,800 plus penalties. The driver’s license can be suspended for two years, but this can be reduced to one year. IID installation is mandatory.
- The third DUI offense has consequences of 120 days to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,800 plus penalties, a three-year license suspension, and a mandatory IID installation.
- If a fourth DUI occurs within 10 years of a third DUI, the driver may receive prison time and fines, a four-year license suspension, and mandatory IID.
With the help of a qualified DUI lawyer, prison time may be reduced to probation for a felony DUI charge. Additionally, a seasoned attorney can guide you through the complex court system.
Permanent License Suspension
In certain cases, California driver’s licenses can be revoked or suspended permanently. Conviction of a DUI resulting in murder always results in permanent license revocation. A permanent suspension can also occur at the judge’s discretion in convictions of the following:
- DUI manslaughter
- DUI resulting in serious injury
- Fourth DUI Offense
Because of these wide-ranging penalties for DUI, it’s important to retain a DUI attorney experienced in criminal defense who can advocate for a fair sentence, no matter the offense. During this difficult time, individuals should remember that regardless of the situation, there is always hope for better terms of suspension and better results. Contact the Law Office of Samuel D. Berns, Inc. should you face charges from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.