California DUI/DWI Laws

Find California DUI Laws

In California, like all states, it’s a crime to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. If arrested and convicted for this crime, judges typically apply a set of minimum and maximum sentencing guidelines. When determining the sentence, judges and prosecutors commonly weigh mitigating and aggravating factors.


While Driving in the State of California, the following is illegal
Drivers under 21 may not carry unsealed beer, wine or liquor in their vehicle while they are driving alone.
Any driver may not drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.
The drive of any vehicle requiring a commercial driver license may not drive with with a BAC of .04 percent or higher

First Offense DUI in California

First Offense

  • Immediate license suspension per the state’s Admin Per Se policy. (See below for more information on Admin Per Se suspensions.)
  • License suspension unrelated to Admin Per Se for at least 4 months.
  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines. Keep in mind additional penalty fines and legal fees.
  • $125 fee for license reissue.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • DUI program. The length varies depending on factors like your BAC at the time of arrest.
  • SR-22 filing.

Second Offense DUI in California

Second and subsequent DUI offenses as “increased,” meaning you will face longer jail time and more expensive fines, in addition to the DUI program and SR-22 filing requirement.

Your license suspension and revocation periods change, too. For example, a second or subsequent offense within 10 years of your prior offense brings license suspension or revocation for at least 1 year.

Third Offense DUI in California

Court Probation means no probation officer to report to, but absolutely no drinking and driving during that time period.
Formal Probation means reporting to a Probation Officer on a regular basis.
The court decides which type of probation to give based in part on what your lawyer has to say on your behalf.

There is arequired 120 days of jail time on a third offense DUI. It is possible to have this time converted to some alternative such as home arrest, rehab or some combination of these. Many counties will insist on at least 210 days of jail - some counties require a full year.

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