Maybe you just caused an injury crash, or perhaps you’re investigating DUI resources on behalf of a teenage son or daughter who got arrested. You’re undoubtedly deeply concerned about potential DUI penalties.
Frustratingly, the Golden State has very imposing DUI sentencing guidelines. If you drove with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of 0.08% or above, prosecutors can hammer you with many punishments, according to California Vehicle Code Section 23152. If you’re under 21 or if you had been driving a commercial vehicle, the cut-off for DUI driving is even lower.Penalties even for a first time misdemeanor DUI are steep. You can face legal fees, fines and court costs that exceed $1,000. The state can suspend your driver’s license for months.
You can be forced to spend time in jail and attend DUI alcohol school. The court may even mandate that you install something called an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) in your car. Once an IID has been installed (at your expense), you will need to blow in it every time before you can operate the car.
If this is your second or third DUI conviction, the penalties can escalate pretty rapidly. If fact, if you get arrested and convicted three times within a 10-year period in California, prosecutors can hit you with a felony charge for that third DUI — even if you were only slightly above the cut-off point. You can also face escalated punishments if you blew a very high BAC (i.e. 0.15% or greater) and/or if you drove with a minor in the car while DUI. Likewise, if you were significantly speeding at the time of your arrest, your charges can be escalated.
These direct penalties don’t even touch on the indirect consequences for your life, work, and self-esteem. For instance, unsurprisingly, insurance companies are less than thrilled to have DUI drivers as clients. So if you’re convicted, expect your car insurance rates to spike. If your license gets suspended, and you can’t get to work or meet clients, your career life will be compromised.