A Quick Guide to California DUI Laws and Felony DUI California Penalties

California State has a zero-tolerance for drunk driving or drug driving resulting in robust DUI laws. Consequently, you need to know the California DUI laws and felony DUI California Penalties.

California DUI penalties, costs, and punishments are determined by the number of prior DUI charges on your record and whether anyone was injured. Although most DUI arrests are prosecuted as misdemeanor DUI, prosecutors may file felony DUI charges if someone is injured, and the defendant has four or more prior DUI convictions or has a prior felony DUI.

Related Terms

❖ DWI – Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired
❖ OUI – Operating Under the Influence
❖ OWI – Operating While Intoxicated
❖ DWAI – Driving While Ability Impaired
❖ BAC – Blood Alcohol Content
❖ IID – Ignition Interlock Device

California DUI Penalties, Sentences, and Fines

A typical first DUI offense will earn up to 6-month jail time or a fine of between $390-$1,000 and license suspension for up to 6 months. A second DUI offense will earn up to 1-year jail time or a fine of between $390-$1,000 and license suspension for up to 2 years. A third DUI offense will earn jail time of up to 1 year or a fine of between $390-$1,000 and a license to be suspended for up to 3 years. For a 4th DUI plus DUI felony, up to 3 years of jail time is the penalty or a fine of between $390-$1,000 with a license suspension of up to 4 years. Injury DUI earns a jail time of up to 1 year or a fine of between $390-$5,000 plus 1-3 years of license suspension. Felony injury DUI offense earns up to 16 years in jail time or a fine of between $1,015-$5,000 and a license suspension of up to 5 years. These fines are in addition to probations, vehicle installations, and several penalty assessments and fees that can raise the total to $18,000 based on your DUI charge.

Ignition Interlock Device

An IID is a breath alcohol detection and testing device installed on a vehicle and connected to an ignition system. It requires the driver to blow into the mouthpiece before the car starts or for the car to keep moving. If it detects alcohol at a level not permissible, the vehicle’s engine will not start. Once IID is installed, it must be not be tampered with, bypassed, or removed. It must be calibrated and inspected within 60-day intervals.

Expungement of Prior DUI Record

In California, the 2020-2021 DUI laws state that a prior conviction stays as a record for 10 years from the offense date. Once a DUI charge is beyond 10 years, it is not considered a prior conviction for subsequent offenses. Also, Assembly Bill 1076, tagged the new “Clean Slate” legislation, requires the California DOJ to automatically clear the criminal record of qualifying convicts after probation is complete.

Avoiding or Reducing DUI Fine in California

You can avoid or reduce a DUI fine if you act quickly by getting a skilled DUI lawyer to request for a hearing at the DMV and negotiate some defense strategies to save your license and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Regardless of where an individual is arrested for a DUI offense, the financial obligations that entail such offenses are inevitable. Besides the financial drain, the offenders may experience emotional distress and inconveniences along with a DUI conviction that would stay on records for years.

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