Getting arrested for a DUI is a big deal, no matter where you are. California is particularly harsh on drunk or impaired drivers, though. It has some of the most stringent impaired driving laws in the entire United States.
In California, a first-offense DUI could lead to close to $2,000 in fines and the loss of a license. It can lead to jail time and force those convicted to enter into three-month alcohol education programs.
Within a 10-year period, those who commit three offenses may spend up to 16 months in prison and face around $18,000 in fines and penalties. Those with a third-time offense may have to attend a 30-month alcohol treatment program regardless of whether they are alcoholics.
Enhanced penalties are applied in cases where the person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) has exceeded .16 percent, and this also increases the risk of jail time and expensive fines. If this is not your first DUI, you could lose your license for up to 2 years on your second or up to 10 years on your third offense. There is even a chance that your vehicle could be confiscated or that you could have to use an ignition interlock device if you're convicted of a DUI.
These penalties are harsh, and you could find yourself struggling to make ends meet due to losing a job, not being able to drive and facing other personal difficulties. Your attorney can help you fight the charges against you, so you have the best chance of avoiding the most severe penalties that California allows.