Driver's License Consequences

California counties - map view

California counties - map view

Washout Period for Prior Convictions:
Seven years.

Age 21 or Over, With Chemical Test:

  • 1st Offense: Four months, with restricted license (to/from work, to/from alcohol education program) available after 30 days.
  • 2nd Offense: One year suspension.
  • 3rd Offense: Two year revocation.
  • 4th Offense: Three year revocation.


  • 1st Offense: License suspension for one year, with no possibility of provisional or restricted license.
  • 2nd Offense: License suspension for two years.
  • 3rd Offense: License suspension for three years.
  • 4th Offense: License revocation for four years.

Under 21: For drivers under 21, a one year license suspension will be imposed, with no opportunity for a restricted license from the DMV.

Court Consequences

Jail, Fine, Alcohol School, Ignition Interlock Device, Other Educational Programs, etc.

1st Offense:
Varies from court to court. Some courts do not require jail time on a first-offense, unless there are grounds for a sentence enhancement (such as a minor in the car, a BAC of .20 or higher, refusing the chemical test, or others). Other courts require some jail time (48 hours to 10 days), even on a first offense.

The required alcohol education program will also vary. The standard program is once a week for 12 weeks; however, where the BAC is .20 or higher, a six-month program will be ordered.


2nd Offense:
By law, the mandatory minimum jail time on a second offense DUI is 96 hours, although this can be served in two 48-hour periods. Some courts will allow city jail. Still other courts will routinely impose much harsher jail sentences on a second-offense DUI, with sentences of 30 days or more.

The alcohol education program for a second offense DUI is 18 months long. An ignition interlock device may be required.

3rd Offense:
A mandatory minimum jail sentence of 120 days.

4th Offense:
A fourth offense DUI conviction is a "wobbler", meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Punishment can range from up to one year in county jail, up to three years in state prison.


Sentencing Enhancements

What are they, and what impact do they typically have in court?

  • Refusal to take the chemical test;
  • BAC .20 or higher;
  • Speeding 20 miles per hour above speed limit on side streets, or 30 mph over the speed limit on the freeway, where driving recklessly and DUI, requires 60 days in jail;
  • Minor in car while driver DUI;
  • Traffic Accident;
  • Prior convictions.

Any of these sentencing enhancements can result in additional fines, jail time, impounding of the car, required attendance at AA meetings or other educational programs, attendance at a Mothers' Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel, attendance at the Hospital and Morgue Program, or other possible consequences.

Drunk driving defense is a specialized area. Let one of the qualified DUI LAWS attorneys find a solution to your legal problem if you, or someone you care about, has been arrested for DUI or DWI. Contact a DUI LAWS lawyer near you for a free consultation at 1.800.DUI.LAWS.

Please note: Laws change frequently and thus the information provided should not be relied upon as legal advice. To be certain, contact a criminal defense attorney for a legal assistance. is not liable for any misinformation that users obtain from using this site.

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