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California DUI Penalty Chart

Drunk driving laws and penalties in California can be confusing. The laws are changing all the time, with new restrictions and requirements for getting your license back after a DUI arrest. This page is aimed at making it easy for East Bay drivers to know what they can expect, what's at risk, and how to avoid the most serious penalties associated with a drunk driving arrest in Alameda and Contra Costa County. For legal advice about a DUI in the East Bay, contact the Gorelick Law Offices for help.l

California DUI Penalty Chart by DUI Offense

There are different DUI penalties in California depending on the type of offense. In general, the more repeat offenses a driver has, the greater the penalties. There are also greater penalties when a DUI endangers others or an accident involves an injury. Some "wobbler" offenses can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.

DUI Offense

Jail Time


License Suspension

1st DUI

48 hours to 6 months

Up to $1,000

4 months

2nd DUI

96 hours to 1 year

Up to $1,000

2 years

3rd DUI

120 days to 1 year

Up to $1,000

3 years

4th DUI (Felony)

16 months to 3 years in prison

Up to $1,000

Up to 5 years

Bodily Injury/Fatal DUI (Misdemeanor)

Up to 1 year in jail

Up to $1,000

Up to 3 years

Bodily Injury/Fatal DUI (Felony)

Up to 6 years in prison

Up to $10,000

Up to 5 years

DUI School Chart for Drunk Driving Convictions in California

As part of probation for a drunk driving conviction, and in order to get your license reinstated, you have to go through DUI school. DUI school in California is an education and counseling program that is intended to reduce repeat drunk driving offenses. It can consist of group and individual counseling and substance abuse evaluations. 

DUI Offenses

Program Length

Cost of DUI School

Online Options

Wet Reckless DUI


About $300


1st DUI


About $600


1st DUI High BAC


About $1,500


2nd DUI


About $2,000 


3rd DUI


About $3,000 


Don't be convinced by websites or banner ads that offer online DUI school. These do not qualify as DUI schools in California. According to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), "DHCS does not license ANY internet DUI programs. DUI classes offered via the internet DO NOT meet California's DUI Program requirements. Please contact DHCS if you have additional questions.”

Ignition Interlock Device Timeline Chart

​An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that is installed on a vehicle and acts like a breathalyzer to test the driver's breath before the vehicle can be started. The driver has to blow an alcohol-free breath into the device to start the car and provide rolling samples for the vehicle to continue driving. 

Starting in 2019, drivers arrested for a DUI became eligible for restricted driving permits as long as they installed an IID in their vehicles. 

DUI Charge

IID Restricted License

1st offense DUI

6 months

2nd offense DUI

One year

3rd offense DUI

Two years

4th offense DUI

Three years

How Much Can a California DUI Cost Me?

Some people think they should just agree to the plea offer from the prosecutor so they don't have to pay for a lawyer. However, the costs of a DUI conviction can be much higher than you expect. The costs of a DUI go far beyond just the court costs and fees. Additional expenses for a DUI can include: 





Impound fees


Higher car insurance rates for 3 years

$500 to $1,500/year

DUI school

$300 to $3,000

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)


Probation fees


Transportation costs 


Even the cost of a simple first-offense DUI can end up costing $7,000 or more. The costs of multiple DUIs only go up, costing $15,000 or more for repeated drunk driving convictions. 

Can I Avoid the Costs and Consequences of a Drunk Driving Arrest in Oakland?

Just because you were arrested for a DUI in California does not mean that you have to suffer these expenses and penalties. A strong legal defense can help you avoid a conviction, keep your license, and get back to your normal life. Your attorney may also be able to negotiate your case with the prosecutor to reduce the charges and penalties, so you can get a wet reckless charge instead of a DUI. 

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 39 years of DUI and drug DUI defense experience and understands the challenges involved in California impaired driving cases. Talk to a local criminal defense lawyer who understands what is at stake for drivers in Oakland and Alameda County.

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