DUI in California: What You Need to Know

If you are arrested for DUI in California, it is important to understand the charges against you and what penalties you may be facing. Here are the basics of DUI law in California, as well as an outline of some of the potential consequences of a conviction. Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines; each case is unique and you should speak to an experienced DUI lawyer if you have been arrested or charged with drunk driving.

DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” This means driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The laws around DUI are different depending on which state you are in, so it’s important to understand exactly what you’re dealing with.

Here are some of the key things you need to know about DUI offenses in California.

Legal Limits

In California, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If you are pulled over and suspected of drunk driving, you may be asked to submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC. This can be done through a blood test, breathalyzer, or urine test.

If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you may face automatic penalties. These can include a one-year driver’s license suspension and the requirement to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.


If you are arrested for a DUI offense in California, you will go to jail, at least initially. The amount of time you spend in jail will depend on the circumstances of your offense and whether it is your first, second, or third DUI offense. If you have no other offenses to your name, you’re likely to be able to leave jail within a matter of hours, and you are unlikely to need to post bail.

However, if you have other offenses – which could be DUIs or other crimes – on your record, you may have to stay in jail for weeks or months as you await trial. If you are offered an opportunity to post bail, look up bail bonds San Diego to help you sort this out.


The penalties for DUI in California depend on a number of factors, including your BAC, whether you have any prior DUI convictions, and whether anyone was injured as a result of your drunk driving.

Generally speaking, the penalties for DUI in California range from informal probation and fines to mandatory jail time and the loss of your driver’s license. In some cases, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

Focus on Protecting Your Driving License

It is important to be aware that if you are arrested for a DUI in California, a process is automatically triggered that can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. It is important to act quickly in this regard, if you want to have a chance of keeping your license.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is Responsible for this process, and they will send you a notice of suspension within 30 days of your arrest. This notice gives you the opportunity to request a hearing, which you must do within ten days of receiving the notice.

If you fail to request a hearing, your license will be suspended automatically 40 days after your arrest. At this point, you may be eligible for a restricted license, which would allow you to drive to and from work or school.

So if your driver’s license is important to you, make sure you take this process seriously.

Long Term Implications

A DUI conviction can have serious long-term implications. In addition to the potential for jail time and fines, you may also lose your driver’s license for longer than you expect, subject to other restrictions, and you may have a criminal record depending on your particular circumstances.

A DUI conviction will stay on your record for at least ten years, and possibly longer. This can make it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, or get insurance.

Many people choose to get an attorney to help them deal with the consequences of a DUI conviction. If you can’t afford an attorney, there are public defenders that may be able to help you.

Dealing with a DUI in California can be a difficult and stressful process. If you are facing DUI charges in California, it is important to understand the potential consequences and to speak to an experienced attorney who can help you protect your rights and obtain the best possible outcome. A key thing to understand is that DUI is not an issue to take lightly anywhere in the United States. In California in particular, the rules are on the stricter side too. So it’s best to avoid drinking or taking drugs and driving entirely. If you do decide to drink, you could invest in your own breathalyzer kits so you can check if you’re safe to drive before you set off.