Accidents & CrimesCalifornia – What happens when you get DUI?

California – What happens when you get DUI?


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This is one of the most common questions asked to DUI lawyers.  When you ask lawyers this question, you do not always get straight answers because every circumstance is different.  

According to the most common penalties are as follows.

$1200 fine

3 years probation

3-5 days sheriff work alternative program

4 months suspended license

First offender school

When a driver in the state of California is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol their driver’s license is immediately confiscated by the police and then served with the DMV’s ‘Notice of Suspension’.  

This will formally suspend their license, provide temporary driving privileges for 30 days and will also explain some aspects of the applicable law.  

In addition, it states that there is a right to contest the suspension and force the DMV to return the license as long as the DMV’s Local Driver Safety is contacted by the attorney within 10 calendar days of the arrest.  

A driver’s license is immediately suspended if their blood alcohol level is above .08% (or above .01% for drivers under 21 years of age) or if they refuse to take a chemical test.  If the driver is from another state other than California, then the officer has no right to seize their license.  

However, the officer will issue a ‘Notice of Suspension’ which suspends the driver’s license in the state of California (after 30 days) from driving.  If there is a conviction in court, the state of California will contact the home state of the convicted party, and that state will usually suspend their license the same way they do it there.  

Ramification of Getting a California DUI

First off – getting a DUI will cost you money.  

First offence: $390 – $1000 plus local fees, penalties and assessments for a total of $1300 – $3500.  This doesn’t include any lawyers fees –which can be from $500.00 to $15,000 depending on if you’re in a small town or large metro area. Generally speaking the more experienced the lawyer (and you want an experienced lawyer) the more it will cost.

There are social ramifications of getting a DUI as well.  A charge of DUI/DWI can have serious ramifications on a defendant’s driver’s license, criminal record and ability to work and function in society.  Some employers may decline in hiring someone because of a felony level DUI.   

Ask yourself before getting behind the wheel after drinking if it’s really worth it. Based on the above –a cab ride home is downright cheap.  Be safe –not sorry.

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