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California DUI Penalties and Fines

Sonoma California DUI Arrest Charges Attorney

Understanding Drunk Driving Fines and Penalties in Marin County, CA

California has severe penalties for DUI convictions, some of which are among the harshest in the nation. Penalties for convictions can include heavy fines, jail time and driver’s license suspension. There are ways to successfully fight the charges and minimize the penalties, but this requires in-depth knowledge of California DUI laws, the DUI process, and the most effective DUI defense strategies.

For over three decades, Burglin Law Offices, P.C. has helped clients in Marin County and throughout northern California who have faced DUI charges. Attorney Paul Burglin co-authors California Drunk Driving Law, the California legal guide book that is frequently relied upon by less experienced DUI defense lawyers throughout the state. Paul is one of only five California attorneys Board-Certified by the National College of DUI Defense (as approved by the American Bar Association), and because of his extensive knowledge and highly successful track record, he is the attorney judges, prosecutors, and DMV hearing officers contact when someone close to them is charged with a DUI.

Penalties for DUI in California

California DUI penalties vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. The general sentencing guidelines for DUI convictions without aggravated circumstances are as follows:

First Offense

A first-time DUI (or a first offense within a 10-year period) is usually charged as a misdemeanor, and penalties for conviction may include:

  • Up to $2,300 or more in fines and penalty assessments;
  • Up to six months in county jail;
  • Attendance at AA meetings;
  • Community service work;
  • A six-month driver’s license suspension, with the possibility of obtaining a restricted license after 30 days;
  • Thre to nine months of DUI school; and
  • Installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID).

Second Offense

Penalties for a second DUI conviction within 10 years may include:

  • Up to $3,000 or more in fines and penalty assessments;
  • 10 days to one year in jail;
  • Attendance at AA meetings;
  • Community service work;
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to two years;
  • 18 to 30 months of DUI school; and
  • Installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID).

Third Offense

Penalties for a third DUI conviction within a 10-year period may include:

  • Up to $3,000 or more in fines and penalty assessments;
  • 120 days to one year in jail;
  • Attendance at AA meetings;
  • Community service work;
  • A three-year driver’s license revocation;
  • 30 months of DUI school; and
  • Installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID).

Fourth Offense

A fourth DUI charge within 10 years is typically charged as a felony, and penalties for conviction may include:

  • Up to $10,000 or more in fines and penalty assessments;
  • 180 days to three years in prison;
  • Attendance at AA meetings;
  • Community service work;
  • A four-year driver’s license revocation;
  • 30 months of DUI school; and
  • Installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID).

Aggravated DUI in California

California DUI penalties may be enhanced if there were aggravated circumstances during the arrest. These may include:

  • An accident involving another vehicle;
  • An accident resulting in death or serious injury;
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .20 or higher;
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical test, resulting in an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension;
  • Driving more than 20 MPH over the speed limit;
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license;
  • Driving while on probation from another case;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (commonly referred to as "hit and run");
  • Fleeing a police officer; or
  • Child endangerment.

Aggravated circumstances are more likely to trigger a felony charge, and a conviction can mean maximum penalties and other severe consequences, such as difficulty obtaining employment, housing, loans, and college admission, as well as denial, suspension, or revocation of a professional license.

Speak With an Experienced Marin County California DUI Penalties Lawyer

The penalties for DUI in California are harsh, and you may have to deal with the consequences for many years to come. With the right defense strategies, however, you can effectively fight the charges against you and mitigate the situation as much as possible. Attorney Paul Burglin “wrote the book” on California DUI defense, and he knows how the system works and what steps to take to ensure the most favorable result.

To schedule a free personalized consultation with attorney Burglin, contact our office today at 415-729-7300. We serve clients throughout the Bay Area, including Marin County, Tiburon, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Larkspur, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, and Fairfax. We also assist locals and tourists cited in the wine country of Sonoma and Napa, as well as those cited in San Francisco, Oakland, and Martinez.

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