Motorists convicted of driving under the influence in California could receive fines, license suspension and jail time. These charges result when law enforcement arrests an individual with measured blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater.

With a range of minimum and maximum penalties for each offense, DUI penalties in California can vary dramatically based on the circumstances of your case.

First-time DUI conviction

California considers a DUI with no prior convictions a misdemeanor offense. This conviction may result in:

  • $390 to $1,000 in fines plus thousands in court fees
  • Between 48 hours and six months in jail or time on probation
  • 30 hours of mandatory alcohol abuse education, or 60 hours for those who had a BAC above 0.20% at the time of arrest
  • Six-month license suspension

Second California DUI

If you receive a second DUI within 10 years of an initial conviction, misdemeanor penalties are as follows:

  • $390 to $1,000 in fines plus thousands in court fees
  • Between 96 hours and two years in jail
  • Three years of probation
  • 18 to 30 months of mandatory alcohol abuse education
  • Two-year license suspension with mandatory ignition interlock device upon reinstatement at your own cost

Third DUI conviction

Another DUI within five years of the first two convictions results in:

  • $390 to $1,000 in fines plus thousands in court fees
  • Between 120 days and two years in jail
  • Three to five years of probation
  • 30 months of mandatory alcohol abuse education
  • Three-year license suspension with mandatory ignition interlock device upon reinstatement at your own cost

Keep in mind that California increases these base penalties under certain circumstances. For example, any DUI accident that results in personal injury or wrongful death to another person results in a felony conviction. This crime carries at least one year in jail and fines that can exceed $5,000. Drivers who refuse a sobriety test will receive a one-year license suspension on top of other DUI penalties.