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California DUI Laws


California DUI Laws specify either one of the two laws in which you can be charged of a DUI in the state of California:

If you are intoxicated with alcohol that can impair your driving or if your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or more. In the former case, a police officer present on the scene will determine the driving capability on the individual behind the wheel. If the officer senses that you are impaired to the point that you are at risk, you can then be arrested.

In the latter case, regardless if you qualify all of the sobriety tests given to you and you drive like a sober person, if your BAC is 0.08% or more, you can be arrested. For drivers under 21, you are prohibited to drive if you have consumed any alcohol, or it does not exceed 0.01% or higher.

For drivers under 18, any alcohol content in your system that can be measured will be subject to a DUI charge. A commercial vehicle driver is not allowed to drive if his BAC is 0.04% or higher.

If arrested for DUI, you will face two separate cases: one, a criminal court case and two, a Department of Motor Vehicles case. The penalties and sanctions imposed for these cases are separate. Of the two, the DMV case is more pressing. You are given 10 days to request a hearing for your DMV case, and failure to do so will lead to the suspension of your driver’s license after 30 days.

There are corresponding punishments for the number of offense committed by an individual. For the criminal court case, you can be sanctioned of the following:

  1. First DUI conviction – jail time of 96 hours to 6 months and a fine from $390 to $1,000.
  2. Second DUI conviction – jail time of 90 days to 1 year and a fine from $390 to $1,000.
  3. Third DUI conviction – jail time of 120 days to 1 year and a fine from $390 to $1,000.
  4. Fourth DUI conviction – jail time of 180 days to 1 year and a fine from $390 to $1,000.

For the DMV case, if you are convicted of a DUI offense, the DMV will suspend your driver’s license 30 days after your arrest. The following are your time of suspension:

  1. First DUI offense – License suspension of 4 to 6 months.
  2. Second DUI offense – License suspension of 12 months.
  3. Third DUI offense – License suspension of 24 months.
  4. Fourth DUI offense – License revocation of 36 months.

Furthermore, to reinstate your driver’s license you will have to present a proof of financial responsibility, and present papers that you have completed a “driving under influence” program accredited by the state of California. During the period of license suspension you can apply for a restricted driver’s license under particular circumstances, but you have to install an ignition interlock device at your own expense.

California DUI Laws require a washout period of 10 years, longer than the usual 5 years of some states. To protect your driving rights, hire a DUI defense lawyer to establish your defense strategy.