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What happens when you get a DUI in California?

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in California results in serious penalties. The state has established base penalties for this offense, which the court may increase based on factors in your case such as speed, bodily injury or breath test refusal. 

If you face a DUI charge in California, review the potential legal consequences prior to your court date. 

No DUI history

If you have no prior DUI convictions, you may receive misdemeanor charges for a first offense. A conviction can result in 30 to 60 hours of DUI education depending on your BAC at the time of arrest, probation or 48 hours in jail, thousands of dollars in fines and administrative fees, and suspension of your driver’s license for six months. 

Prior DUI convictions

If you have another DUI conviction in the past ten years, you may receive elevated penalties. The judge can order up to 18 months of DUI education, mandatory ignition interlock device use at your own cost, three years on probation, thousands in fines and fees, and license suspension for 24 months. 

A subsequent DUI carries extended penalties, including a three-year license suspension and up to 120 hours in jail. California imposes felony charges for DUI involving bodily injury or wrongful death. If convicted of these charges, you could receive a minimum of a year in prison. 

While the officer will confiscate your driver’s license at the time of the DUI, you have 10 days to request an administrative hearing regarding the status of your driving privileges.