DUI arrests aren’t something people plan. Clearly, DUI should be avoided and it is never okay to be behind the wheel when intoxicated. However, we are not here to cast judgement. If you are reading this blog you are interested in knowing exactly what the law in California is regarding DUI. The law itself is progressive based on the number of DUI’s and the severity of the infraction.

When it comes to the number of DUI’s, this is based on a period of 10 years.  In other words, one offense lasts for 10 years. Any subsequent offenses within that ten-year period will add to your DUI total – no matter if its 6 weeks later or 6 years later. When it comes to severity, this is in reference to your Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC. When arrested, your blood will be tested to find out exactly how impaired you are. Typical impairment begins at a BAC of 0.05. However, this also depends on weight and a few other factors. Legal intoxication starts when you have a BAC of 0.08. Understanding the level of BAC is important because California has laws directly dependent on your BAC at the time of arrest.

For the first DUI, California law carries a fine of $400-$1000, jail time (minimums vary by county), license suspension of 6 months if BAC is under 0.20%, 10 months if over 0.20%, ignition overlock if deemed necessary, and 3 months of Alcohol Classes if BAC under 0.20%, 9 months if over 0.20%. This also varies depending on past criminal history. The fine, suspension, and classes are guaranteed punishments. Many plea deals will not result in jail time.

For 2nd and 3rd offenses the penalties increase. Fine for 2nd offenses are between $500 and $1000, $2500-$3000 for 3rd offenses. Jail time can reach days to a month for 2nd offenses or multiple months for 3rd offenses. Your license will be suspended for 2 years on your second offense, 3 years for your 3rd. Ignition interlock becomes required after your second offense. This will require for you to breath into a breathalyzer before driving your car. Alcohol classes go from 3 months to 18 months from offense one to two. This increases to 30 months after your 3rd offense.

The part Eric Johnson Insurance can help you with is the attainment of an SR-22. When charged with DUI, you will be required to get an SR22 to show you meet the minimum liability requirements by California law. At EJI, you can buy the insurance in five minutes, sign the application in one minute, and then have your SR-22 e-filed overnight to the DMV. You can browse our website for a quick quote or give us a call to get you back on the road.