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The National Trial Lawyers
1801 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA 90067

DUI Penalties

What’s the minimum and maximum penalties for a first DUI conviction?

Assuming there is no bodily injury or death resulting from the DUI, the minimum terms for a misdemeanor first conviction are as follows:

  • $390 fine plus over $1,000 in ordinary penalty assessments, plus additional DUI-only assessments for a total of approxi­mately $1,800.
  • 48-hour jail sentence or a 90-day license restriction allowing you to drive to and from your work—and for work—if required, and to and from an alcohol treatment program. If the 90-day restriction is imposed, it begins after your DMV four-month suspension or 30-day suspension followed by a five-month restriction.
  • Attendance and completion of a $500, three-month alcohol-treatment program (nine months if your blood alcohol level was 0.20% or higher. Completing the program is a requirement for ever being able to drive again following a “per-se” DMV license suspension and for minimizing that suspension to 30 days (plus five or eight months of restricted driving) instead of the six- or ten-month flat suspension that would otherwise be imposed.
  • Loss of your driver’s license for at least 30 days, followed by either a five-month restriction to drive to, from, and for work and to and from an alcohol treatment program, or an additional two-month restriction that allows you to drive only to and from the program.

The maximum penalties for a misdemeanor first DUI conviction in California is a $1,000 fine plus over $2,600 in penalty ­assessments, six months’ imprisonment in the county jail, a six-month license suspension ; ten months for blood alcohol level of 0.15% or more, having your vehicle “impounded” (stored at your expense) for 30 days, and being required to attach an “interlock” breath device to your vehicle that will not allow the car to start if there is any alcohol on your breath. This will cost you about $800.

Subsequent DUI convictions within 10 years carry mandatory jail sentences, longer license suspensions, and higher fines. After a 3rd DUI, you can be prosecuted for a Felony. If you have a previous DUI and you kill someone, you can be prosecuted for MURDER.