California DUI Penalties

As a general rule, no country encourages drunk driving and California is no exception. The country has a specific law to curb any offence related to Drunk Driving, namely the Driving under Influence Laws which not only prescribes DUI Punishments in CA and the statutory framework against drunk driving but also provides for harsh and deterrent punishments, so that the entire society learns together with the offenders. The laws provide certain drunk driving penalties and these penalties for DUI in California are very harsh and rigorous in nature; after the new assembly bill on DUI laws, they have been stiffened much more.

These penalties consisted of fine, jail time, suspension of the license and also some treatment programs which are discussed in detailed manner as under.

DUI Fines in California

A person charged and convicted under first time DUI offense shall be charged with fine including the court fee not less than $1400 and not more than $ 1800. If anyone is convicted under DUI offence second time within the period of 10 years from the first offence, he/she shall be charged with the fine not less than $1800 and not more than $2800. The person will have to pay these fines within 45 days. The fine can also be set off with community service but it shall depend on the court. The statistics of California Fact Sheet says that about 203866 dui arrests in California has been taken place in 2007 and which has been increasing.

Jail Time

The Jail time under first DUI offence is mandatory and the person will have to remain in jail sentence for 48 hours and if a person is found liable for the second time under the same offence of DUI, he will have to go through 96 hours of jail time. Sometimes these hours can also be converted into service/work hours. Few countries prescribe the jail time of at least 10 days and some for 30 days.


Probation period is that time period in which the person convicted therein cannot drink and drive, but at the same time he doesn’t have to report the probation officer. In both first and second DUI offence, the probation period for a person is 3 to 5 years.

California DUI Restricted license

Once a person becomes the offender of first DUI offence, it does not prohibit that person from driving but certainly put some restrictions on him. The California DUI law provides the concept of Restricted License, which is given to the first time offender under DUI. This license is given after completing the classes under the treatment program.

Treatment Program

The treatment program is an optional remedy to curb this offence of Driving under the Influence. This treatment program can be order during the period of probation. The person who has been charged with the first time offence shall have to make a specific application for the treatment under sub division of (b) of 23542 or subdivision (b) of Section 23562. After completion of the program, the person shall apply to the court for the review of the treatment program. The court shall grant a judgment over the treatment undergone by the person. Only after satisfaction of the court, the program authorities shall issue a certificate of successful completion of the program and shall give the report of the same to the Department of Motor Vehicle. If the order of satisfaction has not been taken by the court, the certificate will not be issued to the offender.

DUI Felony

When a person is charged under California DUI laws and he hasn’t caused anybody’s death or grievous hurt, his crime will fall under “Simple DUI”. But there are situations where a person causes death or grievous hurt to other person addition to that DUI, shall fall under “DUI Felony”.

A person will be charged with “DUI felony under the following circumstances.

  1. Your driving caused injury or death to someone
  2. You have been charged with 3 or more than 3 DUI offences or have been convicted under “Wet Reckless” within a span of 10 years.
  3. The prosecutor, the judge, and a jury are also likely to take part in the hearings.
  4. Before this there has been one DUI felony against you.