California DUI Penalties
Santa Barbara DUI Lawyers
According to the California Vehicle Code, drunk driving is punishable by fines, incarceration, probation, community service, restitution, mandatory drug or alcohol programs, and other penalties. At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we are dedicated to helping clients avoid the consequences of a DUI. Our team of Santa Barbara DUI lawyers has more than 50 years of collective legal experience. We can help clients fight allegations of misdemeanor DUI, felony DUI, DUI with injury, and other DUI-related charges.
Misdemeanor DUI Charges
The California Vehicle Code § 23536 states that your first misdemeanor DUI conviction is punishable by a minimum of 96 hours in a county jail; 48 of these hours must be consecutive. The court may require a $390 to $1,000 fine and can suspend your driver's license for up to ten months. During this time, your suspended license can be converted into a restricted license, but you may be required to complete a court approved drug and alcohol education program as well. Drug and alcohol programs can last between three and nine months. You may be subject to three to five years of informal probation.
A second misdemeanor DUI conviction may result in three to five years of informal probation, one year of incarceration in a county jail, a $1,000 fine (no less than $390), a two-year driver's license suspension, and an 18- or 30-month DUI educational program. A third misdemeanor DUI is punishable by the following penalties:
- Five years of probation
- A $1,000 fine
- At least 120 days in a county jail (no more than one year)
- A 30-month drunk driving education program
- Driver's license revocation (three years)
Three-time DUI offenders may be labeled "habitual traffic offenders" by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Although your driver's license may be revoked for three years, the court may allow you to obtain a restricted license after 18 months.
California Penalties for DUI with Injury
The court is far less tolerant of drunk drivers who cause accidents or serious injuries. If convicted of DUI with injury, you may be subject to enhanced consequences. DUI with injury can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor offense – depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest. For example, the number of injured people and the extent of their injuries may affect whether or not the allegation is charged as a felony or misdemeanor crime. Misdemeanor DUI with injury is punishable by five years of probation, one year in a county jail, up to three years of driver's license restriction, an alcohol education program (30 months), a $5,000 fine, and restitution to all persons injured in the accident. Felony DUI with injury is punishable by:
- Ten years of incarceration in a state prison
- A $5,000 fine
- An 18-month or 30-month drunk driving program
- Restitution to injured parties
- And additional one to six years in prison, if the number of people or extent of their injuries is extreme