California DUI Laws

California DUI Laws

In California, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher, according to California vehicle code § 23152(b) (California ‘per se’ law).

If you are arrested for driving under the influence in California, you will also be charged with violating California vehicle code § 23152(a) (California Driving Under the Influence). This law prohibits anyone from operating or being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Even if your blood alcohol concentration level is below the legal limit of .08%, you could still be charged with violating California vehicle code § 23152(a). This is because the arresting officer may have observed behavior indicating that you were intoxicated or you may have failed any part of the field sobriety test.

If you are charged with violating California vehicle code § 23152(a) and/or § 23152(b), you will face criminal charges for driving under the influence. Additionally, you will face a separate sanction against your driving privileges by the California DMV for violating the California ‘per se’ law.

Restricted California Requirements

If your license is suspended you may be eligible for a restricted California driver’s license. A restricted license allows you to drive for certain purposes, such as to and from work. In order to be eligible for a restricted license, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have been convicted of or arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) within the past 10 years
  • You must be at least 21 years old
  • You must have an SR-22 insurance policy
  • You must have completed the required DUI program and all other fines and fees
  • Your license must be suspended, but not revoked or canceled
  • You must enroll in a driving under the influence (DUI) program approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

If you meet all of the requirements, you can apply for a restricted license at your local DMV office. You will need to bring proof of insurance, completion of the DUI program and any other documents requested by the DMV. After submitting your application, you should receive a decision from the DMV within two weeks.

If approved, you will be issued a restricted license. You must carry this license at all times when driving, and it must be valid for the duration of your suspension period. Failure to do so can result in further penalties and fines, including potential jail time.

It is important to note that even though you have been granted a restricted license, you may still be charged for drunk driving.

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Restricted California Requirements

If your license is suspended you may be eligible for a restricted California driver’s license. A restricted license allows you to drive for certain purposes, such as to and from work. In order to be eligible for a restricted license, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have been convicted of or arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) within the past 10 years
  • You must be at least 21 years old
  • You must have an SR-22 insurance policy
  • You must have completed the required DUI program and all other fines and fees
  • Your license must be suspended, but not revoked or canceled

You must enroll in a driving under the influence (DUI) program approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

If you meet all of the requirements, you can apply for a restricted license at your local DMV office. You will need to bring proof of insurance, completion of the DUI program and any other documents requested by the DMV. After submitting your application, you should receive a decision from the DMV within two weeks.

If approved, you will be issued a restricted license. You must carry this license at all times when driving, and it must be valid for the duration of your suspension period. Failure to do so can result in further penalties and fines, including potential jail time.

It is important to note that even though you have been granted a restricted license, you may still be charged for drunk driving.

California First Offense DUI Penalties

Most First Offense DUI’s in California are considered misdemeanors and carry the following penalties:

  • A fine of $390 to $1,000
  • Incarceration in the county jail for up to 6 months
  • DMV license suspension for at least 4 months
  • Completion of an alcohol awareness program (AB541)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Additionally, you may also be required to pay restitution to any victims if applicable. The court may also impose additional penalties depending on the severity of the offense.

California Second Offense DUI Penalties

A second DUI conviction in California carries much more severe consequences than a first offense. These include:

  • Fines ranging from $390 to $1,000
  • Minimum jail time of 10 days
  • DMV license suspension for at least 1 year
  • Completion of an alcohol awareness program (AB541)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Additionally, you may again be required to pay restitution to any victims if applicable. It is important to remember that a DUI conviction can have long-lasting consequences and it is important to seek legal advice before proceeding with any criminal proceedings. An experienced DUI defense attorney will be able to provide you with the best possible outcome in your case.

California Third Offense DUI Penalties

If you are convicted of a third DUI in California, the penalties can be very severe. These include:

  • Fines ranging from $390 to $1,000
  • Minimum jail time of 120 days
  • DMV license suspension for at least 3 years
  • Completion of an alcohol awareness program (AB541)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Like always, you may again be required to pay restitution to any victims if applicable. You may also face additional penalties depending on the circumstances of your case and it is important to seek the advice of an experienced DUI attorney.

California DUI Under 21 Years of Age

For those under the age of 21, DUI convictions can carry even harsher penalties. These include:

  • Fines ranging from $100 to $500-Minimum jail time of 48 hours
  • DMV license suspension for at least 1 year
  • Completion of an alcohol awareness program (AB541)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

If you are under the age of 21, it is important to be aware that even a single drink can put you over the legal limit, so it is best to avoid drinking altogether if you are planning on driving. It is also important to remember that all DUI offenses can have serious consequences over the long term of your life.

California Ignition Interlock Device Requirements

For those convicted of a DUI in California, an ignition interlock device (IID) may be required. An IID is a breathalyzer installed inside your vehicle that will measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If it detects any alcohol on your breath, the car will not start.

The DMV requires that all drivers convicted of a DUI install an IID for at least 6 months, and in some cases up to two years. The costs associated with this device are the responsibility of the driver and can range from $50-$200 per month depending on the type of device installed.

It is also important to be aware that while you have an IID installed, your vehicle will be subject to periodic “rolling” tests while driving. This means that the device may require you to provide a breath sample at random intervals while driving in order to ensure that you have not been drinking.

California DUI laws are incredibly complex and can vary greatly depending on your situation and circumstances.

Does California Require DUI Classes?

In certain cases, California may require you to complete a DUI education program as part of your penalty. These courses are designed to increase awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as offer resources on how to make better decisions while behind the wheel. Course lengths typically range from 3 months to 9 months depending on the offense.

Can California DUI Classes be Online?

According to DHCS (Department of Health Care Services): “DHCS does not license ANY internet DUI programs. DUI classes offered via the internet DO NOT meet California’s DUI Program requirements.

California SR22 Requirements

For those convicted of a DUI in California, you may also be required to file an SR22 form with the DMV. An SR22 is a certificate of insurance that proves to the state that you have enough liability coverage on your vehicle and will pay for any damages caused by an accident.

California Habitual Traffic Offender Law (HTO)

California’s Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) law can be used to suspend or revoke a driver’s license if they have three or more convictions within a certain period of time. The types of offenses that can qualify as an HTO violation include DUI, reckless driving and hit and run. If you are convicted of an HTO violation, your license may be suspended for up to three years. It is important to note that the DMV can also suspend your license for up to three years if you are convicted of four or more DUI’s within ten years.

Additional California DWI Resources

  1. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website provides information on DUI laws and penalties in California. The website also offers resources for individuals who have been convicted of a DUI, including information on how to reinstate a suspended license, and how to enroll in a DUI program. Additionally, the website has links to other resources such as local DMV offices and DUI defense attorneys. Visit the California DMV website for more information on DUIs in California: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-education-and-safety/dmv-dui-programs/
  2. The California DUI Lawyers Association (CDLA) is a professional organization of DUI defense attorneys dedicated to promoting education and advocacy for those facing DUI charges in California. The CDLA website provides a directory of member attorneys, as well as information on DUI laws and penalties, and updates on changes to California DUI law. The CDLA also hosts events and provides continuing education for attorneys in the field of DUI defense. Visit the California DUI Lawyers Association website for more information: https://www.caduiattorneys.org/
  3. The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) oversees the state’s DUI programs, including education and treatment programs for individuals convicted of a DUI. The ADP website provides information on DUI program providers, as well as a directory of licensed DUI programs in California. The website also has resources for individuals seeking treatment for alcohol or drug abuse. Visit the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs website for more information on DUI programs in California: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DOA/Pages/Driving-Under-the-Influence-Programs.aspx

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