San Diego DMV DUI Penalties

California has a different set of punishments for the same offense. A first conviction may include probation and a license suspension for as little as 30 days. If you refuse a blood alcohol test, you may be punished more than if you had taken and failed the test. In some cases, the punishment is twice that of a DUI conviction. For a second and third offense, the number of days the suspension is in effect increases. Your license may be revoked. If a fatality results from an accident in which the driver at fault is found to be legally intoxicated, then the driver may be charged with a felony requiring mandatory jail time.

A DUI conviction is often accompanied by many hidden costs, monetary and otherwise. According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, the total cost of a first offense DUI conviction is over $12,000, but there are also serious personal and professional repercussions if convicted such as jail time, probation, loss of driver’s license, and more.

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Misdemeanor vs. Felony

Misdemeanor offenses carry penalties that are much less severe than felony charges. The majority of DUI offenses are charged as misdemeanors and penalties often include community service, significant fines, court-ordered rehabilitation, and more.

However, felony DUI charges do apply in cases in which an individual suffers injury or death in an accident involving a drunk driver (blood-alcohol concentration level is over 0.8% in California). DUI felony charges can also be brought against an individual if a drunk driving-related accident resulted in extensive property damage. A DUI felony conviction carries severe consequences including hefty fines, imprisonment, and more.

Misdemeanor DUI Penalties by Offense

In San Diego County as well as the entire state, DUI punishments and penalties are set by a complex system of statutes. However, the law does give a judge limited freedom to use his/her discretion on a case-by-case basis. Below are the statutory sentences for misdemeanor DUI convictions.

First Offense:

  • County Jail: Up to 6 months
  • Probation: Up to 5 years
  • Fine: $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments that can triple the total amount
  • Driver’s License Suspension: 6 months, 1 year for a class A license
  • Alcohol/Drug Treatment Program: Up to 9 months

Second Offense:

  • County Jail: Up to 1 year
  • Probation: Up to 5 years
  • Fine: $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments that can triple the total amount
  • Driver’s License Suspension: 2 years
  • Alcohol/Drug Treatment Program: 18 to 30 months (depending on other penalties)

Third Offense:

  • County Jail: Up to 1 year
  • Probation: Up to 5 years
  • Fine: $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments that can triple the total
  • Driver’s License Revocation: up to 3 years
  • Alcohol/Drug Treatment Program: Up to 18 months

Subsequent Offenses:

  • County Jail: Up to 1 year, or
  • State Prison: Up to 3 years
  • Probation: Up to 5 years
  • Fine: $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments that can triple the total amount
  • Driver’s License Revocation: 4 years
  • Alcohol/Drug Treatment Program: 18 months

DUI Penalties: Exacerbating Circumstances

If any of the following circumstances are present in a DUI case, penalties may be substantially increased:

  • Excessively high blood alcohol content — Penalties are increased if the blood-alcohol concentration exceeds 0.15%.
  • Child endangerment — There is mandatory jail time if there was a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 14.
  • Excessive speeding or reckless driving — If the driver exceeded the speed limit by 20 mph on a surface street or 30 mph on a highway with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, penalties are increased.
  • Refusal to submit to chemical test— May result in an increased jail term.
  • Injury or accident — Property damage or injury resulting from the offense can result in felony charges and much more severe penalties.

Additional DUI Penalties

There are many other penalties that contribute to the great cost of a DUI conviction. A lot of these consequences are not immediately obvious, but they can be extremely costly in terms of time, money or grief in the long run:

  • Restitution — Compensation paid to victims of accidents.
  • Years of increased insurance costs, or insurance cancellation— Because of computerization of records and the ever increasing number of laws designed to combat drunk driving, the likelihood that an alcohol related ticket could escape your insurance company’s notice is dwindling. In some cases, your company may not notice your ticket for some time. If your company does find out, they may drop you either immediately or at the end of your policy term. If you cannot get insurance from another carrier, then you may be able to use your state’s high-risk pool. The rates are very high and the coverage basic, but it will let you keep your license.
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition device Device prevents driver from starting the vehicle unless his or her blood-alcohol content level is below a set limit.
  • Lost eligibility for certain jobs
  • Probation — Offenders on probation must not fail to pay fines, refuse to submit to chemical testing at any time, drive with any measurable blood alcohol content levels, or commit any criminal offenses.
  • Driving school
  • Vehicle confiscation, impound fees

How We Can Help You

If you or a loved one is facing misdemeanor or felony DUI charges, please contact us today to schedule a FREE consultation with an aggressive and proven San Diego DUI attorney. We will evaluate you case, ensure your legal rights haven’t been violated, and work vigorously to protect your best interests so that you face the minimum possible DUI penalties, or none at all.