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3 Common Penalties in California for a DUI

If you're a driver in California and you find yourself convicted of a DUI, there are three potential penalties you could face. These depend on a number of factors, such as your blood alcohol level at the time of arrest and whether you have any prior convictions. In this article, we'll take a look at the three most common penalties for DUI convictions in California. Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines – the final sentence for your conviction will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.


What Are The Most Common Penalties In California For A DUI?

There are a few common penalties that judges may hand down if you're convicted of a DUI in California. These can include:

  • Fines. You may be required to pay fines to the court as part of your sentence. The amount will vary depending on the severity of your offense, but it could be several thousand dollars.

  • Jail Time. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be sentenced to serve time in jail. This is typically reserved for more serious offenses, or for repeat offenders. You may also be placed on probation for a period of time, during which you'll be required to comply with certain conditions set by the court. These conditions can include things like attending DUI classes and obeying all laws.

  • License Suspension. Your driver's license may be suspended for a period of time if you're convicted of a DUI. The length of the suspension will depend on the severity of your offense.

These are just some of the common penalties that you could face if you're convicted of a DUI in California. If you're facing charges, it's important to consult with an experienced DUI attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you defend against the charges.



The number of fines given to a DUI offender in California varies depending on the severity of the offense and the number of priors the offender has. However, common fines for a first-time DUI offense range from $390-$1000, with an additional mandatory minimum fine of $395. For a second DUI offense, common fines range from $390-$2000, and for a third DUI offense, common fines range from $390-$3000. In addition to these monetary penalties, DUI offenders may also be required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, participate in victim impact panels, and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.


Jail Time

The possible jail sentence given to DUI offenders in California will differ depending on the specific offense and other factors. However, there are three common penalties in California for a DUI:

  • First offense: Up to six months in jail
  • Second offense: Up to one year in jail
  • Third offense: Up to one year in jail

The specific sentence given to a DUI offender will also depend on other factors such as the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the offense, whether there were any injuries or fatalities involved, and whether the offender has any prior DUI convictions. In some cases, offenders may be eligible for alternative sentencing options such as electronic monitoring or treatment programs.

If you have been charged with a DUI in California, it is important to speak with an experienced DUI attorney who can help you understand the specific penalties that may apply in your case. An attorney can also help you explore possible defense strategies and fight for a favorable outcome.


Suspension Of License

If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, your license will be automatically suspended for four months. This is true even if it's your first offense. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your license will be suspended for one year.


What Are The 3 Levels Of DUI Charges In California?

There are three common penalties in California for a DUI, which are as follows:

  • A first-time DUI offense is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in county jail, a fine of between $390 and $1,000, or both. In addition, the offender's driver's license will be suspended for four to six months.
  • A second DUI offense is also a misdemeanor but is punishable by up to one year in county jail, a fine of between $390 and $2,000, or both. The offender's driver's license will also be suspended for two years.
  • A third DUI offense is a felony and is punishable by up to three years in state prison, a fine of between $390 and $3,000, or both. The offender's driver's license will also be suspended for three years.

These are the common penalties in California for a DUI. However, the specific penalties will vary depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.

If you've been arrested for a DUI in California, it's important to know the possible penalties you may be facing. The good news is that there are attorneys who specialize in DUIs and can help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Call us today and we'll connect you with an experienced DUI lawyer who will fight for your rights.


Do You Need a DUI Lawyer You Can Trust?

With Lynn Gorelick you don't have to face criminal charges alone. You will receive personal attention to your case. Ms. Gorelick will be the one to appear in court with you from beginning to end. Ms. Gorelick, herself, will be doing your DMV hearings. You will not be handed off to another attorney or associate. You deserve this kind of attention to your needs at this stressful time. Ms. Gorelick has represented people charged with DUI for over 38 years.  She has NEVER been a prosecutor who pursues convictions. She has only DEFENDED people accused of crimes. Contact us today for your consultation!


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