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California DUI & DWI

The state of California does not tolerate drivers who choose to drive while intoxicated or under the influence of any illegal substance. Drivers found operating a vehicle while intoxicated will be issued DUI citations, drivers license suspensions, and various other punishments.

More Important Information on DUI/DWI

DUI Tickets and Fees:

One of the main factors that determines if a driver will receive a DUI or DWI citation is if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) percentage is too high:

  • Drivers under 21 have a BAC limit of .01 percent or higher
  • Drivers older than 21 have a BAC limit of .08 percent or higher
  • Commercial drivers have a BAC limit of .04 percent or higher

Additionally, California’s DUI laws take into account medications. You cannot drive while taking illegal drugs or any of the following:

  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • An excessive amount of drugs with alcohol in them, like cough syrup
  • Prescription drugs

Should you violate these laws, you will receive a ticket, and if you are convicted of DUI in court, the violation will remain on your drivers record for a 10-year period. To minimize the degree of penalties you face, it’s recommended you hire a DUI attorney.

Drivers License Confiscation

By breaking the law with a DWI, it is likely that a police officer confiscated your driving license upon arrest. If this occurs, you can expect them to issue a suspension order and possibly a temporary license.

However, in order to get the license back if you believe that the arrest was not justified, you have to request an administrative hearing within 10 days of your suspension order.

DUI Convictions in California

Now that you know what constitutes a DUI charge, it is crucial that you familiarize yourself with the severity of the penalties associated with a DUI conviction. In the state of California, each successive DWI ticket brings worse punishments for the driver in question.

For a first-time offense, you face the following penalties:

  • Four days to six months in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in traffic fines
  • 30 days to 10 months of CA drivers license suspension
  • Mandatory enrollment in an alcohol awareness program
  • SR22 insurance requirement
  • Some counties require the installation of an ignition interlock device

Second-time offenders will incur:

  • 10 days to one year in jail
  • Up to $1,800 in traffic fines
  • Two years of California drivers license suspension, which can be reduced to one year
  • Mandatory enrollment in an alcohol awareness program
  • SR22 insurance requirement
  • An ignition interlock device

The punishments for a third-time offense are:

Fourth offenses within 10 months of the third DUI charge will experience:

  • 16 months in jail
  • Up to $18,000 in traffic fines
  • Four years of California drivers license suspension
  • Mandatory enrollment in an alcohol awareness program
  • SR22 insurance requirement
  • An ignition interlock device Note: The above charges are maximum penalties, not guaranteed penalties. You want to hire a DUI attorney in the aftermath of receiving a DUI conviction.

Penalties for CDL Drivers

When a commercial drivers is convicted of driving under the influence, they will immediately receive a one-year suspension in addition to all of the other standard penalties. Any subsequent DUIs within a period of 10 years will result in a lifetime disqualification of their CDL license.

Penalties for Minors

Any minor charged with driving while intoxicated will incur the following penalties on their first offense:

  • One-year drivers license suspension
  • DUI school education
  • Hefty fines

Additionally, if minors are caught in possession of alcohol that is not full, sealed and unopened while operating a motor vehicle, the penalties are as follows:

  • One-year drivers license suspension
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Vehicle impoundment for 30 days

Contact a DUI Attorney

In the event that you are facing charges or convictions of driving under the influence or while intoxicated, you now understand the severity of the penalties that may occur. From hefty traffic fines to California drivers license suspension and jail time, your future is in danger.
ADUI attorney can help manage the potential penalties and even minimize them. The fines and punishments before you are intimidating to say the least. Fortunately, DUI attorneys are your best chance to:

  • Decrease the charges.
  • Remove points from your drivers record.
  • Erase the charges.

How to Reinstate a Suspended Drivers License in California

After your case has been closed, it becomes time to learn how to reinstate your suspended drivers license in California. To do so, you will have to follow these steps:

  1. Pay all traffic fines and other fees, including the drivers license reinstatement fees.
  2. Serve any jail time or community service requirement.
  3. Complete an alcohol awareness program.
  4. Keep the ignition interlock device until you are allowed to remove it, if applicable.
  5. Wait out your suspension/revocation period.
  6. File for SR22 insurance or obtain another proof of financial responsibility.

Once you have completed the necessary steps, you will be able to drive legally again in California.

Reinstating a Confiscated License

The process of reinstatement will be slightly different if your drivers license was originally confiscated by a police officer. The reason is because time is automatically added to your suspension because of this offense. The breakdown is as follows:

  • First offense – one-year suspension
  • Second offense – two-year revocation
  • Third offense – three-year revocation

Alcohol & Drug Awareness Classes

If caught driving under the influence or while intoxicated, you can expect that the California court will order you to enroll in a drug or alcohol awareness class. These courses will equip you with the knowledge you need to become a safer driver, including important subjects such as:

  • How alcohol and drugs impair your judgment.
  • Laws regarding DUI and DWI.
  • State statistics about accidents and deaths.

So if you are required to attend alcohol awareness training, make sure to find a certified institution that is approved by the state of California.

SR-22 Insurance in California

As mentioned before, the final step to regaining your driving privileges in the state of California is to purchase SR-22 insurance as proof of financial responsibility. SR-22 is a certificate that proves that you meet the minimum state insurance requirements. However, SR-22 insurance is just one form of proof. It is not the only document that you can obtain. Your choices are to:

  • Obtain a Certificate of Self-Insurance from the CA DMV.
  • Have a $35,000 cash deposit with the California DMV.
  • Get SR-22 insurance from your car insurance company.
  • Get a surety bond of $35,000 from any California-licensed company.

In most cases, SR-22 coverage proves to be the most affordable option, and you can browse SR-22 insurance quotes online to compare rates.

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