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DUI penalties in California

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2021 | Drunk Driving Defense

Alcohol, even in small amounts, interferes with the body’s muscle control and ability to make good judgments. Statistics show that impaired driving causes around 28 fatal vehicle crashes in the U.S. daily, so law enforcement takes DUI seriously. A driver in Hayward, California, may face multiple penalties if they are caught driving impaired.

Overview of California DUI

California makes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs against the law and sets the BAC at 0.08. Blood alcohol content refers to the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream, which is measured in milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood. The legal rate for commercial drivers is 0.04, and minors under 21 must measure below 0.02.

A DUI based solely on BAC is called a per se DUI, and the officer doesn’t need any more evidence to arrest a driver who tests above the legal limit. California has implied consent laws, which state that a motorist agrees to testing by driving on public roads.

Penalties for DUI

DUIs get charged as a felony or a misdemeanor based on the circumstances, such as injuries, fatalities and past offenses. Penalties for a first DUI commonly include sentences of up to six months in jail, six-month license suspension and fines from $390 to $1,000. A driver may face 96 hours to one year in county jail, a one-year license suspension and a $390-$1,000 fine for a second offense.

The defendant may be granted a restricted license for five months for a first offense and one year for a second offense. Drivers who refuse a blood or Breathalyzer test face a one-year license suspension and $125 fine.

Sometimes, alternative sentencing may be offered, such as community service or house arrest. Convicted drivers must also file for SR-22 insurance, a special coverage for high-risk drivers, to get their license reinstated.

A drunk driving conviction can linger long after a sentence is served. However, drivers may be able to fight the charges or accept a plea bargain for lesser penalties.