California

californiaCalifornia DUI Laws

California has two sets of procedures that you must attend to when you have been charged with a DUI—administrative and judicial. We suggest that you consult with a DUI attorney immediately to make sure you get the best advice for your particular situation as laws are always changing.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Procedures
California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
California is one of 42 states that has implemented ALR which means that your license will be confiscated immediately if your BAC is above .08 OR if you refuse a BAC test. Your license will either be suspended or revoked at that point, even though you have not been officially convicted in a criminal trial. In fact, you can be charged with an administrative license suspension even if you are not later charged with a driving under the influence offense. This action was designed to be in addition to and separate from the traditional DUI judicial conviction penalties such as license suspension, jail time, community service hours, ignition interlock device, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation.

You will be given a 10 day grace period during which you can drive under a temporary driving permit issued by the officer at the scene. During that time, you can request a hearing to challenge this case. This case will be heard by an administrative law judge. If you do not request a hearing, your license will be automatically suspended on the 11th for 4 months, although first time offenders can request a work permit after 30 days. After the suspension period, you may be required to get an ignition interlock device.

Remember that this is a separate case than the judicial case, with separate authorities and separate rulings. This can be a very important influence upon the judicial procedures, but you must act very quickly if you wish to challenge this.

Judicial Procedures
In California, the drunk driving law prohibits a person from driving when they have a BAC of .08% or higher. Courts may require you to get an interlock device. This is discretionary except in certain locations. If you are convicted of a DUI in a criminal court in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare or Sacramento Counties, an ignition interlock device (IID) will be required on any vehicle you own or operate. The period of restriction and the period of suspension before you can drive with an interlock vary depending on how many previous DUI convictions you have.

License Revocation, Fines and Jail

  • First Offense – Misdemeanor: $390 to $1,000, 96 hours to 6 months in county jail (of which 48 hours shall be continuous), 6 months license suspension, may be required to install a certified ignition interlock device (IID) on all vehicles owned and/or operated for up to 3 years from the date of conviction, attendance at driving under the influence program for at least 3 months.
    • Restricted Driver’s License: may be available before suspension period ends IF driver submits proof of enrollment in or completion of driving under the influence program AND submits proof of financial responsibility AND pays all applicable license reinstatement fees.
  • Second Offense – Misdemeanor: $390 to $1,000, 96 hours to 1 year in county jail (of which 48 hours shall be continuous), May be required to install a certified ignition interlock device (IID) on all vehicles owned and/or operated for up to 3 years from the date of conviction, completion of driving under the influence program, 2 years license suspension.
    • Restricted Driver’s License: may be available after 90 days of suspension period has been served IF driver submits proof of enrollment in driving under the influence program AND submits proof of installation of ignition interlock device AND submits proof of financial responsibility AND pays all applicable license reinstatement fees
  • Third Offense – Misdemeanor, designated a habitual traffic offender for 3 years: $390 to $1,000, 30 days to 1 year in county jail (of which 48 hours shall be continuous), May be required to install a certified ignition interlock device (IID) on all vehicles owned and/or operated for up to 3 years from the date of conviction, completion of driving under the influence program,  3 years license revocation
    • Restricted Driver’s License: may be available after 6 months of revocation period has been served IF driver submits proof of enrollment in driving under the influence program AND submits proof of installation of ignition interlock device AND submits proof of financial responsibility AND pays all applicable license reinstatement fees.
    • Possible 10 Year Driver’s License Revocation: Any driver convicted of three or more DUI violations within a 10 year period may be liable to be issued with a 10 years driver’s license revocation.
  • Fourth and Subsequent Offense – Felony, designated habitual traffic offender for 3 years: $390 to $1,000, 180 days to 1 year in county jail OR up to 3 years in state penitentiary (depending on previous convictions), May be required to install a certified ignition interlock device (IID) on all vehicles owned and/or operated for up to 3 years from the date of conviction, Completion of driving under the influence program, 4 years license revocation.
    • Restricted Driver’s License: may be available after 12 months of revocation period has been served IF driver submits proof of enrollment in and completion of at least 12 months of the driving under the influence program AND submits proof of installation of ignition interlock device AND submits proof of financial responsibility AND pays all applicable license reinstatement fees
    • Possible 10 year Driver’s License Revocation: Any driver convicted of three or more DUI violations within a 10 year period may be liable to be issued with a 10 years driver’s license revocation.

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