At Turner Law, we represent numerous people facing DUI charges. Consequently, we know that California has some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation, and if law enforcement officers arrest you for allegedly driving while impaired, you could spend considerable time in jail or prison, plus have to pay large fees should you get convicted.

California has an implied consent law, which FindLaw explains means that when you get a driver’s license, by law you agree to take a breathalyzer test whenever officers pull you over for an alleged DUI. You have no choice about agreeing; in fact, no one even asks you. But should you ever renege on your implied consent and refuse to take the test, your license will become automatically suspended under California’s “Admin Per Se” law. Then you have 10 days during which to request an administrative hearing. Remember, any suspension you receive under the Admin Per Se law is separate and apart from the suspension you could receive upon conviction of your DUI charges.

First DUI offense penalties

If you are a young person under the age of 21, California’s zero tolerance law means that you will be charged with DUI if your blood alcohol concentration registers 0.02% or higher. For other people, the BAC minimum is 0.08%. Should you register 0.16% or higher, however, you will become a candidate for enhanced penalties upon conviction.

The first time you receive a DUI conviction, you face the following penalties:

  • 48 hours in jail
  • Up to $2,000 in fines and assessments
  • A six-month license suspension
  • The necessity of completing a three-month alcohol education program

Subsequent DUI conviction penalties

As you might expect, the penalties increase for each subsequent DUI conviction you receive. By the time you get your third conviction within a 10-year period, your sentence could be 16 months in state prison, $18,000 in fines and assessments, a driver’s license suspension for up to 10 years, and the necessity of completing a 30-month alcohol treatment program. In addition, your vehicle could be confiscated.

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