Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol carries significant legal penalties in California. In addition, a DUI charge stays on your record for 10 years.

If you face a court date for California DUI, prepare yourself by learning about the potential penalties for a conviction.

Initial DUI conviction

A person who has no prior DUI offenses is subject to these legal consequences for a first-time conviction:

  • At least 48 hours and up to six months in jail or probation in lieu of jail time
  • $390 to $1,000 in base fines plus various assessments that often exceed several thousand dollars
  • 10- to 12-month driver’s license suspension, with a restricted driver’s license option for drivers who install an ignition interlock device
  • 30 hours of DUI education or 90 hours for drivers arrested with blood alcohol content above .20%

Second DUI conviction

An individual with one DUI already on his or her record could receive:

  • At least 96 hours and up to 12 months in jail or work release/house arrest in lieu of jail time
  • $390 to $1,000 in base fines plus various assessments that often exceed several thousand dollars
  • One- to two-year license suspension with required IID for one year upon reinstatement
  • 30 to 90 hours of required DUI education
  • Up to three years’ probation after release

Third DUI conviction

An individual with two previous DUI convictions is subject to:

  • At least 120 days and up to 12 months in jail or work release/house arrest in lieu of jail time
  • $390 to $1,000 in base fines plus various assessments that often exceed several thousand dollars
  • Three-year license suspension with required IID for one year upon reinstatement
  • 30 to 90 hours of required DUI education
  • Up to five years’ probation after release

In addition to these penalties, drivers can receive expanded sentences depending on the circumstances of the arrest. For example, if you cause an accident that injures another person, you could receive up to four years in jail.