Misdemeanor DUI:

In California, it is illegal to drive if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. It is also illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. The fact that you have a BAC of .08 or higher within three hours of driving is enough evidence in and of itself, proof of impairment is not necessary. Any person who is arrested for DUI in California may be charged under both sections of the statute, but only one punishment may be imposed.

23152 – Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs.

(a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.

(b) It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.

In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.

Felony DUI:

Under California’s felony DUI law, it is unlawful to drive a vehicle while impaired or with a BAC of .08 or higher and commit an act or fail to act in such a way that results in bodily injury to another person. There must be bodily injury to another, not the driver, in order to be charged under this statute. Moreover, you may be charged with committing a felony DUI if you are charged with a DUI while having three prior DUI convictions within the proceeding ten years.

23153 – Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs Causing Injury

(a) It is unlawful for any person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.

DUI Punishment:

First Offense:

● Probation: 3 years (informal).
● Jail: 0 days – 6 months.
● Fines: $390-$1,000 plus penalty assessments.
● License Suspension: 4 months suspension. May apply for restricted license after 30 days. If under the age of 21, 1 year suspension.
● Ignition Interlock Device (IID):
● Vehicle impounded at Court’s discretion.
● DUI School: 3 months or more if high BAC.
● Community Service.

Second Offense:

● Jail: 0 to one year.
● Fines: $390 to $1,000.
● License Suspension: 1 year suspension.
● Possible Vehicle impounded.
● DUI School: 18-30 months, depending on whether for a 2nd or 3rd violation.
● Probation: 3-5 years informal, or formal probation if third offense or more.
● Community Service.

Ignition Interlock Devices in California DUI Cases:

In California, some DUI offenders are required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle for a set period of time. An IID is a breath testing device about the size of a cell phone, that is installed into the steering column of a car. The IID requires an individual to provide a sober breath sample before a car’s ignition will be turned on. A positive test result and the ignition will not start the vehicle. Any person who wishes to operate the vehicle must use the device in order to start it.

The IID will be installed on all vehicles the DUI offender owns and operates on a regular basis. The IID must be installed in the vehicle for the requisite time period, or the DUI offender’s driving privileges will not be reinstated. IID’s are installed at designated ignition interlock service centers and the DUI offender is responsible to pay the cost of installation as well as the monthly payments.

California DUI Sentence Enhancements:

● Prior Convictions – If the defendant has a DUI conviction within the last 10 years, the penalties of jail time, DUI school and license suspension periods are increased. Two priors within the last ten years results in even further penalty increases, and if you have three or more DUI’s you will be charged with felony DUI.

● High BAC – If your BAC level is .15 or higher, California imposes an enhanced sentence

● Test Refusal – If you refuse to submit to a chemical testing, the amount of jail time you may serve may increase, and the administrative suspension for refusing will be imposed.

● Speeding and/or Reckless Driving – If at the time of your DUI arrest you were speeding in excess of the posted speed limit, a sentence enhancement may be imposed for 20 mph over the speed limit on a surface street and 30 mph over the limit on a freeway.

● Child Endangerment – If a minor passenger under the age of 14 is present in the vehicle harsher penalties may be imposed.

● Accident or Injury – DUI involving serious bodily injury to another person will be charged as a felony. DUI incidents resulting in death may be charged as vehicular manslaughter. Both felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter carry harsher penalties.

● Under 21Years Old – Persons under the age of 21 who are arrested for DUI in California with a BAC of .01 or higher can be charged with DUI.