DUI Penalties in California

Call Our Experienced Pasadena DUI Defense Attorney Now

Contrary to popular belief, a DUI conviction in California does not result in a "slap on the wrist." Defendants are continually dismayed to realize that their conviction will come with significant penalties that will highly disrupt their life. This is why it is critical to retain experienced defense counsel with a formidable grasp on the DUI practice area.

At The Law Offices of Paul S. Geller, our Pasadena DUI defense lawyer is a former Los Angeles prosecutor with nearly 20 years of experience in our criminal justice system. Beyond that, Mr. Geller has also completed specialized DUI law training and has forged himself a reputation for providing dedicated and assertive advocacy for his clients.

We're ready to help minimize the impact your DUI charge has on your life. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.

"What Penalties Do I Face?"

Despite the fact that there are alternatives to DUI charges and these cases are often reduced or dismissed, California statutes provided numerous penalties for drivers convicted of DUI. Note that the below information is just a summary, every DUI case is unique, and that these laws are constantly being rewritten by legislators.

DUI penalties in California can include:

First Offense DUI

  • 36 – 60 months of probation
  • up to 6 months in jail
  • a fine of up to $1000, plus assessments
  • a first offender 3-month alcohol class
  • Ignition interlock device (in some counties)

Second Offense within 10 Years of a Prior DUI Conviction

  • 36 – 60 months of probation
  • up to 1 (one) year in jail (minimum 96 hours jail, 48 hours continuous)
  • a fine of up to $1000, plus assessments
  • a second offender alcohol program, typically 18 months

Third Offense within 10 Years of Two Prior DUI Convictions

  • 36 – 60 months of probation
  • up to 1 (one) year in jail (minimum 120 days)
  • Fines of up to $1000, plus assessments
  • Multiple DUI offender alcohol program, either 18 or 30 months

Felony DUI Offenses or Felony DUI with Injuries

  • Same terms as above
  • If no probation, custody in state prison of up to 3 (three years)
  • Fines up to $10,000, plus assessments

DUI Penalty Enhancements

In some cases, prosecutors may seek more serious penalties against the accused if they believe their DUI offense was particularly egregious. These harsher penalties are called "enhancements."

Enhancements can play a role in DUI cases including:

  • If over a .15 BAC (blood alcohol content) – a 6 or 9-month alcohol class.
  • If a .20 BAC or higher or a refusal to provide a chemical test, a 9-month alcohol program.
  • Hospital and Morgue Program (commonly referred to as HAM)
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving VIP classes
  • Community Service/Cal Trans

If there are injuries, and “great bodily injury” or “multiple victims," additional penalties may also apply:

  • State prison
  • Ignition Interlock Requirements with Multiple Offenders
  • Revocation or Suspension of Driving Privileges Once DMV receives “Abstract” of conviction
  • Community Service
  • Cal Trans/City Work
  • Weekend Jail
  • House Arrest
  • Additional Alcohol Anonymous Meetings
  • Inpatient/Outpatient Alcohol Treatment
  • Potential Treatment as a “Serious Offense” within California Three Strikes Laws

Pasadena DUI Defense Lawyer You Can Trust

There are many things that need to be done to accurately, thoroughly and aggressively defend someone in a DUI case (such as checking the accuracy of the breath testing machines used, retesting the blood sample if one was provided, examining the police officer’s radio transmissions to test the accuracy of their reports, visiting the scene or checking maps of the arrest location, and more), and our office will do all that we can while we fight for your rights.

Do not just plead guilty to “get it over with”. You have rights—and we are ready to help protect them. Call (626) 784-4143 today.

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