California DUI Laws And Penalties

suspended CDL
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California DUI Laws And Penalties

In California, the criminal charges for DUI consist of two offenses: 1) driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI), and 2) driving with a .08% or higher blood-alcohol concentration (the so-called "per se" offense). One can be convicted of both offenses but may only be subjected to one punishment. If one has refused to submit to a chemical test, they may only be charged with the a DUI under Vehicle Code section 23152(a). However, separate from the criminal charges, an administrative license suspension for either having .08% or refusing may be imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In California, a first offense is punishable by jail from a minimum of 4 days up to a maximum of 6 months. There is also a fine which, along with mandatory assessments and depending upon the jurisdiction, amounts to over $1500. A suspension of 6 months may be imposed, and three months of attendance at a state-approved DUI school will be required; this may be increased in the event of high blood-alcohol levels. Some judges may also require community service, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) and participation in additional treatment programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The probation period typically imposed is three years.

California also allows "enhancements" to be proven or admitted in driving under the influence or "drunk driving" cases. In such a case, the law requires more severe minimum penalties. Such enhancements include having a child under 14 in the car, speeding in excess of 20 mph on surface streets or 30 mph on highways, refusing to submit to chemical testing, or having one or more prior convictions within the previous ten years. The speed enhancement carries a minimum 60-day jail sentence. For cases involving a refusal to submit to chemical testing for blood-alcohol, the driver's license suspension is for one year without the possibility of obtaining "restricted" license which would allow one to drive to and from work.  The existence of one or two prior convictions will also serve to increase jail sentences and result in longer license supensions. The case with three or more "priors" may be charged as a felony, punishable by commitment to state prison.

Seperate from the consequences which stem from court proceedings, a license suspension of 4 months is also imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This may be reduced to 30 days followed by five months of work-restriction based on the submission of proof of insurance and proof of enrollment in an approved DUI school. The court may also choose to impose a suspension independent of any DMV action.

Contact Mr. Shallberg at (831) 535-2363 or via Email.