The state of California has strict laws for DUI (Driving Under Influence). These laws are similar to laws of many other states in USA. According to California’s DUI laws, it’s illegal to operate motor vehicle with BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of or more than 0.08% for persons of age of 21 or more. For commercial vehicle drivers, the limit is 0.04%. For persons under age of 21 the limit is of 0.01% or higher. And for repeat offenders, the limit is 0.01% or higher. There is ‘no tolerance’ law for drivers under age of 18.
On getting arrested for DUI in California for the first time (assuming there is no bodily injury or death resulting from offence), you will have to pay fine ranging from $390 to $1000 plus penalties. 48 hours imprisonment or 90 days license restriction allowing you to drive only to and from your work-and for work, and to and from an alcohol treatment program. This period of 90 days starts after your DMV 4 month suspension or 30 days suspension followed by 5 months restriction. To minimize the suspension from flat suspension of 6-10 months to 30 days( plus 5 months of restriction), you are required to complete three months alcohol training program (nine months if your BAC was of or more than .20%). Maximum punishment for first DUI in California is 6 months in county jail, 6 months license suspension and being required to install ‘Ignition interlock device-IID’ in your vehicle. This penalty is for first arrest of DUI. It will increase with number of arrests.
For second arrest, you will get jail for 90 days to 1 year, fine of $390 to $1000 plus penalties. License suspension for 1 year which won’t be reinstated until proof of financial responsibility and completion of ‘Driving under the influence’ program approved by state. Depending on the terms of license suspension, you may be required IID.
For third DUI arrest in California, you will get jail for 120 days to 1 year, a fine of $390 to $1000 plus penalties. You will be considered a habitual traffic offender for 3 years following your conviction and have your license suspended for 2 years. It will be reinstated only on proof of financial responsibility and completion of ‘Driving under the influence’ program just like in second arrest. You can also be required to install IID. You can apply for restricted driver’s license under certain circumstances by court.
On the fourth arrest for DUI, you will get jail for 180 days to 1 year, fine of $390 to $1000 plus penalties. You will be considered a habitual traffic offender for 3 years following your conviction and your license will be suspended for 3 years which will be reinstated only on proof of financial responsibility and completion of ‘Driving under the influence’ program. You will have to install IID and will be able to apply for restricted driver’s license in certain circumstances by court. Not only the penalties, once you are proved guilty, you have to go through license reinstatement installation if IID and attending driving under the influence program. This can be mitigated only if you prepare a good defence for your case. If someone is killed or injure during injury in DUI, the driver can go to jail for over a year up to five years depending upon the number of times he/she has been caught for DUI.
You have 10 days from arrest to request hearing with Driver Safety Officer of Department of Motor Vehicles. In this hearing, you can save your driving privileges. If you are arrested for DUI in Santa Clara County, you will be booked and held in jail until you post bail. Occasionally, defendant maybe denied bail. So, for this purpose, it’s beneficial to seek advice of an attorney.
This offence is more serious than most offenders think it is. No matter how strong you have planned to plead, but for a better defence, it is best to appoint a DUI attorney, who can prepare case from a strong aspect to defend you against charges and help you negotiate penalties.