Anyone who has been arrested for drinking and driving in California will tell you what a nightmare it can be. It may include a night in jail, the loss of your driver's license, and having to tell your friends and family that you were arrested for drunk driving. However, a nationwide review of DUI penalties ranks California low on the list compared to other states with much stricter DUI laws.
The website WalletHub has updated their rankings of the “Strictest and Most Lenient States on DUI.” Out of all 50 states and Washington D.C., California came in at number 34 for strictest states for DUIs. Arizona was ranked number one for strictest states, and South Dakota came in as the most lenient state for DUIs.
This may be hard to believe for anyone who has had a DUI conviction. According to the Automobile Club of America (AAA), a first-DUI conviction in California can cost you over $15,000. For a driver under the age of 21, a DUI arrest can cost them over $22,000. Estimated costs include fines, penalties, vehicle towing, DUI school, DMV licensing re-issue fees, and booking charges. However, the most expensive part of a DUI may include the cost of higher insurance rates.
Additionally, some DUI convictions may result in an ignition interlock device, currently mandatory under a pilot program for DUIs in Los Angeles, Tulare, Sacramento, and Alameda counties. California is also very strict on multiple DUIs, allowing a 10-year lookback period for a subsequent DUI arrest. California also ranked number 8 for strictness on minimum jail time, with 2 days in jail for a first-time DUI.
Despite these restrictions, penalties, and expenses, other states are much stricter when it comes to DUI convictions. Arizona, Georgia, and Oklahoma all require a minimum of 10 days in jail for a first DUI conviction, compared to 2 days in California. In California, a fourth DUI offense is considered a felony DUI, but it only takes 2 DUIs to be charged with a felony in Minnesota and Oklahoma. The average driver's license suspension is 120 days for a DUI in California. However, a DUI in Georgia will result in a suspended license for a full 365 days.
At the other end of the spectrum, a number of states, including South Dakota, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania and Maryland have no minimum jail sentence for a DUI conviction. In South Dakota, even a second DUI may not lead to any jail time. South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey may not even suspend your driver's license after a DUI.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending individuals charged with DUI offenses in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a drunk driving conviction can affect your future. If you are facing a DUI, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.