What Happens When You Get a DUI in California?


It doesn’t matter where you reside, if you drive under the influence, it is a serious crime. In most of the 50 states, driving under the influence is classified as a criminal offense and a major traffic violation. If you happen to include property damage or seriously injure other individuals while you are driving intoxicated, you may face felony charges.

California DUI Penalties

Penalties for a DUI vary from state to state. In California, you will receive a total of fees and fines that is equivalent to as much as $2000. In addition, you will be required to stay in jail for a period of two days. These penalties are not as strict as the penalties in other states.

Many times, the time in jail is substituted for a sentence of community service. Other times, it would be negated if you serve that time in detention after being arrested for driving drunk. Your penalty will also include a mandatory alcohol awareness course. Attending this course may take you several months to finish.

Sentencing For A California DUI

Once processing has occurred for your case, you can expect to receive a sentence for probation that lasts 3 to 5 years. If this is your first offense, a court will review your case and recommend an appropriate term for probation. If the people who review your case deem your first offense as “minor,” you will probably receive a type of “informal” probation that does not require a probation officer to make regular visits. In these cases, you will usually correspond with the caseworker by using mail or a phone.

Changes Must Be Addressed

If you need to make any changes during the time that you are under probation, you need to contact your caseworker. These would include moving or trips to locations that are out of the area that you’re supposed to stay. If you don’t inform a caseworker about these type of changes, you may end up in a great deal of trouble if you can’t be found. In California, if you disobey their rules relating to your probation, you may end up in jail.

Binary Offense

In California, a DUI is considered a “binary offense.” This is due to the legal entities that are involved, which includes the Department of Motor Vehicles and a local county criminal court. After you are arrested for a DUI, you have 10 days to request a reinstatement of your driving privileges from the DMV. If this is a first or second offense, they will probably give you back your driving privileges.

Long Lasting Effects

It does not pay to get a DUI conviction in California. Your car insurance premiums will likely escalate by 100 to 200 percent. In addition, your conviction will also show up on a criminal record check if one is run on you. These effects can hurt you much more than any fines, fees or jail time.