California DUI Law

California counties - map view
California counties - map view


California DUI video transcription

California DUI laws are getting tougher year by year. Recently California passed a law that requires people in many counties with a DUI conviction to install an ignition interlock device. This is going to affect to a lot of drivers so it’s important to consult with a qualified lawyer to find out what your rights are.

After a CA DUI arrest, there are so many things on the line - like your driver's license and your freedom. Punishments for a California DUI should not be taken lightly. There are serious repercussions if you are convicted of drunk driving in California. Reach out to a California DUI lawyer if you want to fight your charges and understand California DUI Laws. Remember, a consultation with one of our California DUI lawyers is ALWAYS FREE.

Don't put this off! Time is of the essence: you need to enlist the help of California DUI lawyers who focus on DUI cases and know how to navigate the California court system. A skilled California DUI lawyer will make sure your rights are protected and will fight to keep you out of jail.

WARNING! Not only will you have to fight for your freedom after a California DUI arrest, but you will also have a case against your driver's license. According to CA DUI law, your arrest triggers two separate cases: In court, and at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


YOU ONLY HAVE 10 days from the date of your DUI arrest to request a hearing with the DMV. If you fail to make this request on time, you will automatically lose your driver's license! This is another reason it is so important to get help from a skilled California DUI lawyer. Your California DUI lawyer will understand how to request the hearing, and will be able to fight for you. Talk to a DUILAWS attorney today to ask how you may be able to save your driver's license.


There are two ways in which the state of California can convict you of DUI. The laws are based on two different statutes: California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), and Vehicle Code Section 23152 (b). The first count focuses on whether you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that you were "unable to drive their car with the same caution characteristic of a sober person, of ordinary prudence, under the same or similar circumstances." This is the legal standard for being considered under the influence of alcohol or "DUI" in California courts. Your California DUI lawyer can explain more to you.

The second count, known as the "per se" charge, concentrates on whether your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .08 percent or greater. Whether you seemed to be driving perfectly before the traffic stop or performed field sobriety tests with textbook precision doesn't matter with this count. It is a charge that is based purely on body chemistry. Regardless of the evidence against you, you are not guilty until the state proves that you are. That's why you should get a skilled California DUI lawyer working for you immediately. You may be able to escape punishment in your case.

Remember, punishment for a California DUI conviction in criminal court is completely separate from your driver's license hearing.


The California DMV will suspend the driver's license for a minimum of four (4) months for a first-offense California DUI arrest if you lose the hearing. The DMV will suspend the driver's license for one year for a second offense and two years for a third offense. These are the repercussions faced by California drivers who submit to a chemical test of their blood or breath. In the case of a refusal, the DMV punishment is increased: a first-offense will trigger a one-year suspension with no opportunity for a restricted license. A second offense with refusal will result in a two-year suspension, and a third offense will cause a three-year suspension.

REMINDER! You don't have to take on your CA DUI case alone! A skilled California DUI lawyer can answer any questions you may have. It won't cost you a penny to sit down for a DUI consultation with a drunk driving lawyer today. That's right - our California DUI lawyers are happy to give you a FREE initial consultation.

Even motorists licensed in other states who are arrested for DUI in California must request a California DMV hearing to protect their driving privileges. California is one of 45 states that participate in the Interstate Driver's License Compact, an agreement to share information about DUI or DWI convictions and driver's license actions with other member states.

How serious are your charges? Certain drivers may face felony DUI charges after a California drunk driving arrest. Anyone with three prior drunk driving convictions within the past 10 years will be charged with a felony after a fourth arrest. A driver who causes injury to another person also may face felony charges. Also, any motorist who has been charged with felony driving under the influence within the past 10 years will be charged with another felony for any subsequent drunk driving arrests within that time period. If you are concerned about your case and whether or not you will be facing felony charges, speak to a California DUI lawyer right away.

California has a DUI "washout" period of 10years, calculated from arrest date to arrest date. This means that anyone arrested for drunk or drug driving within 10 years of the last arrest date will be charged with a second offense, with increased penalties and punishment. The punishment in court for a second or third drunk driving conviction is much harsher than for a first offense - a multiple-offense drunk driving conviction carries mandatory jail time, an 18-month alcohol education program, a required ignition interlock device (such as Smart Start) and more.

There are extremely serious consequences for a California DUI. But you don't have to end up in jail or without a driver's license. A skilled California DUI lawyer can develop a proven DUI defense strategy designed to keep negative consequences to a minimum. Reach out to a California DUI lawyer who can help you today.

For additional California DUI LAWS information, click the category of interest below.

California Criminal and DMV Penalties For Driving Under The Influence
California's BAC Limit and Administrative License Suspension Laws
California's Point System
California Vehicle Codes
California Legal Links
California Jury Trials
Driving (defined)
Vehicle (defined)
Under the Influence / Intoxicated/Impaired
California Per Se (defined)
Presumptions / Inferences at Trial
Circumstantial Evidence
Reasonable Doubt
Special Notes
Driver's License Consequences
Court Consequences
Sentencing Enhancements
Sentencing Alternatives

Private Jail
Roadside Labor
Other Labor
Work release
Work furlough
Alcohol or drug rehabilitation
Sober living environments
Electronic Monitoring

Drunk driving defense is a specialized area. Let one of the qualified DUI LAWS attorneys find a solution to your DUI or DWI legal problem. If you, or someone you care about, has been arrested on a drunk driving charge, contact a DUI LAWS lawyer near you for a free DUI consultation at1.800.DUI.LAWS.

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

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