California Drunk Driving Penalties

2019 Updated Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in California

Driving Under the Influence is a serious offense in all 50 states.  In California, depending on the circumstances, you may face a license suspension, alcohol program, hefty fine, mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) installation and even jail time.  In most cases, you will face an administrative hearing through the California Department of Motor Vehicles to determine your license suspension based solely off of the arrest and a criminal hearing through the superior court of the county where your arrest occurred.

First Offense DUI

If you are convicted of a first offense DUI in California you could face:

  • Three to five years of informal probation
  • Mandatory alcohol program of 3, 4, 6 or 9 months depending on the county and your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content)
  • Fine of $390 to $1000 plus penalty assessments
  • MADD Victim Impact Panel
  • Community service
  • AA Meetings
  • 6-Month IID Installation
  • License suspension
  • Up to six months in county jail

Second or Subsequent DUI Offense

The penalties increase significantly for a 2nd or subsequent DUI arrest within ten years.  For instance, the required alcohol program is an 18- to 30-month program, you will generally be required to install an IID, you will likely face a 96 hour mandatory jail sentence.  In some cases, a judge may allow you to serve your jail sentence under house arrest or electronic monitoring.  Devices like the SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitor have been used in courts across the country to ensure that offenders are not drinking and can be coupled with house arrest and GPS monitoring.

If you are involved in an accident which injures or kills another person, you could face a felony conviction and a state prison sentence.