In California, driving under the influence is not only unsafe but it’s illegal.
Under California Vehicle Code section 23153, it’s illegal for a person to drive under the influence of an alcoholic beverage while driving. A driver is considered under the influence of alcohol if he or she tested a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08 percent.
Below are 7 types of possible DUI charges and possible penalties in California:
First Offense DUI
The first time you’re arrested for drunk driving is considered a first offense DUI. First offense DUI penalties can include up to 6 months of jail time, fines of $1,000 or more, and a suspended driver’s license. In some cases, an ignition interlock device may be installed on your vehicle to prevent your car from operating until you provide a breath-sample that is free from alcohol.
Second Offense DUI
If you’re arrested for DUI the second time in 10 years, you may face a second offense DUI. A second offense DUI is usually considered a misdemeanor offense.
Penalties can include mandatory jail time (10 days to 1 year), fines and assessments up to $2,000, suspended license up to 2 years, and DUI school.
Third Offense DUI
A third DUI offense within 10 years is typically a misdemeanor offense. Penalties can include mandatory jail time up to 1 year, penalties and assessments up to $3,000, fines, suspended license up to 3 years, DUI school, and more.
Fourth Offense DUI
A fourth offense DUI within 10 years will be considered a felony DUI.
In California, a felony DUI can fall into one of three situations:
- A fourth DUI within the past 10 years
- A subsequent DUI after having a felony DUI conviction
- A DUI that caused injury or death
Penalties can include a minimum jail sentence of 180 days, fines of $3,000 or more, penalties and assessments, suspended license up to 4 years, and DUI school. A felony DUI that resulted in bodily injury can include prison time of up to 10 years and fines up to $5,000.
Under the age of 21 DUI
Drivers arrested for DUI who are under the age of 21 may face additional penalties. In California, there’s also a lower alcohol level content threshold for individuals under 21. According to state law, it’s unlawful for drivers under the age of 21 to have an alcohol concentration of more than 0.01 percent.
“Wet Reckless” Driving
In some cases, the District Attorney’s Office prosecuting your case may offer a lesser charge known as Reckless Driving with Alcohol Involvement. In California, this charge is commonly referred as “wet reckless”.
DUI school and fines are typically reduced and there is no mandatory jail time for a “wet reckless” charge. However, a “wet reckless” charge is still priorable – meaning that it will count as a full DUI charge with a lookback period of 10 years.
Hire a Los Angeles DUI Accident Attorney
If you’re the victim of a DUI accident, you have the right to claim damages against the party at fault. An expert attorney at Mesriani Law Group can walk you through your legal options help you fight your case.