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California DUI Penalties

DUI Penalties in California - Los Angeles Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys

First Offense DUI

A DUI charge may be the first and only time you ever deal with the criminal justice system. A drunk driving arrest is a frightening experience and your anticipation of the long and uncertain road ahead can be unnerving. If you have been arrested for a 1st DUI, 2nd offense, or 3rd offense, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney with expertise in defending drunk driving charges throughout each of the criminal courts in the Los Angeles Superior Court system. In Los Angeles and throughout California, drunk driving convictions Vehicle Code statute of VC 23152(a) and (b)are considered “priorable” offenses, meaning the penalties are enhanced for repeat offenders. Due to the greater criminal sentencing exposure you face in a 2nd or 3rd offense DUI, which also includes mandatory jail time, now more than previously will you need an experienced DUI defense lawyer.

Since 1987, we have established ourselves as the premier drunk driving defense lawyers in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. Los Angeles DUI attorneys Paul Takakjian and Stephen Sitkoff are former senior DUI prosecutors and law enforcement instructors who have each practiced criminal law for over 30 years. Call us now at (888) 579-4844 for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.

Penalties For A First DUI In Los Angeles

Most DUIs are charged as misdemeanors. Potential penalties for a misdemeanor first offense DUI in Los Angeles include:

  • Up to 6 months in LA County Jail
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • Informal (unsupervised) or Formal (supervised) probation for up to five years
  • Three, nine, or twelve-month alcohol and/or drug education program
  • 6 month of driver’s license suspension
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • 2 points on DMV Record
  • Complete Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victims impact panel
  • Complete Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program
  • Community service or labor

Factors That can Lead To Enhanced DUI Penalties In Los Angeles

Law enforcement and prosecutors in Los Angeles take DUI arrests very serious. In Los Angeles, even a first offense drunk driving charge can result in enhanced penalties or a potential felony DUI if aggravating circumstances exist, such as:

  • You were accused of causing an accident that resulted in injuries
  • You were involved in a fatal accident
  • A child was in the car with you while you were allegedly driving drunk
  • You registered a blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.15 percent
  • You refused blood or breath testing after being arrested

Also, if you have no prior DUIs, however, you have prior wet reckless convictions within the last 10 years, your new drunk driving charge can be prosecuted as a second or third offense DUI depending on how many prior wet reckless or DUI convictions you have.

Second Offense DUI In Los Angeles

A second offense drunk driving charge under VC 23152(a) and VC 23152(b) carries many similar penalties to that of a first offense DUI. In Los Angeles however, if you are convicted of a 2nd DUI, your sentence would involve harsher mandatory penalties, as well as a longer driver’s license suspension. For example, the following are a few of the penalties you face if you are convicted of a 2nd offense drunk driving charge in any of the Los Angeles criminal courts:

  • Mandatory 96 hours (4days) and up to 1 year in Los Angeles County Jail
  • Summary of Formal probation up to 5 years
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • 18 month SB38 (2nd DUI program) or 30 month SB1365 (multi-offender program)
  • 2 year driver’s license suspension
  • 2 points on DMV record
  • Attend Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victims impact panel
  • Attend Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program
  • Community service or labor
  • Install Ignition Interlock Device (IID) or breathalyzer in your vehicle

Is A 2nd DUI In Los Angeles A Felony Or Misdemeanor?

The simple answer is it can be both, however, it is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor. In Los Angeles and throughout California, a 2nd DUI can be elevated to a Felony DUI under VC 23153 if certain aggravating factors are present, such as your case involved a traffic collision which caused injury to another or the collision resulted in a fatality. A Felony DUI involving a fatality would result in an additional felony charge of 2nd Degree Murder or “Watson Murder” if you have prior DUI or Wet Reckless convictions on your criminal record.

2nd DUI DMV Hearing

The DMV APS license suspension hearing represents the second half of the DUI process and similar to your 1st DUI, you must notify DMV of your intent to contest its independent suspension action within 10 calendar days of your arrest to prevent the suspension from beginning after 30 days. Once you have made your timely request, a hearing one of the various Los Angeles DMV Driver Safety Offices or “DSOs” would be scheduled. The timely request would also delay the APS suspension until the outcome of your DMV hearing. Prevailing in the DMV hearing would result in the DMV setting aside its independent suspension action. Conversely, losing the hearing would result in the imposition of the suspension even without a court conviction.

2nd DUI Restricted License

On July 1st, 2010, California launched a drunk driving prevention program called the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Pilot Program across 4 counties. One of the counties selected to test the program was Los Angeles. As unreasonable as the program was for 1st offenders who had install the IID for 5 months, it was positive for 2nd offenders who previously had to wait a year to obtain a restricted driving privilege. Under the IID Pilot Program, a 2nd offender would be able to obtain a restricted license after 90 days of mandatory suspension or “no driving” after presenting DMV with the following:

  • Proof of SR22 filing with DMV
  • Proof of enrollment in a 2nd offender DUI program
  • Proof of IID installation

Third Offense DUI In Los Angeles

An arrest for a 3rd DUI under VC 23152 carries many similar penalties to that of a 2nd offense DUI. However, a 3rd offense drunk driving arrest would expose to much harsher mandatory penalties. The enhanced sentence you face for a 3rd DUI in Los Angeles and throughout California includes the following:

  • Mandatory 120 days or up to 1 year in LA County Jail
  • Summary or Formal probation up to 5 years
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • 18 month DUI program or 30 month SB1365 multi-offender program
  • 3 year driver’s license suspension
  • 2 points on DMV record
  • Attend Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victims impact panel
  • Attend Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program
  • Community service or labor
  • Install Ignition Interlock Device (IID) or breathalyzer in your vehicle

Is A Los Angeles 3rd DUI A Felony Or Misdemeanor?

A 3rd DUI can be elevated to a Felony DUI if your case involved an accident which resulted in injury to another motorist, pedestrian, or your passenger. Whereas, if your 3rd offense involved a traffic accident which resulted in death to another, you would be charged with Second Degree Murder or a “Watson Murder.”

3rd DUI Restricted License

3rd time DUI offenders are able to obtain a restricted driving privileges after 180 days or 6 months of mandatory suspension or “no driving.” Once you have completed the mandatory suspension, you would be able to obtain a restricted license after presenting DMV with the following:

  • Proof of SR22 filing
  • Proof of enrollment in an 18 month or 30 month DUI program
  • Proof of IID installation

Summary of California Ignition Interlock Device laws enacted in 2010

Laws are constantly changing. It is, therefore, extremely important that you have an experienced DUI defense lawyer representing your interests. On July 1, 2010, the California legislature implemented an ignition interlock device or IID pilot program to run through December 31, 2015. The new legislation required all individuals convicted of 1st or repeat offense DUIs to install IIDs on all vehicles they own and operate if their convictions occur in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare County.

  • AB 91 “Ignition Interlock Device” Law requires first-time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle
  • SB598 shortens the amount of time repeat offenders must wait to be eligible for a restricted license if the individual installs an IID

Call Our Los Angeles DUI Defense Firm To Learn More About California DUI Penalties

We recognize there are thousands of drunk driving defense lawyers and law firms to choose from, however, there are very few who can match the experience and expertise we bring to every DUI case we are entrusted to defend. With the ever evolving landscape of California drunk driving law, it is imperative that you choose your representation wisely, for the wrong decisions made today, not just by you, but also by an inexperienced lawyer on your behalf, can result in future collateral consequences that could have been otherwise avoided.

We place a premium on cultivating genuine attorney-client relationships with our clients built on trust and the understanding that we will do whatever it takes to obtain the best outcomes possible for them. If you have been arrested in Los Angeles County or anywhere else in Southern California, please free to contact us at (888) 579-4844 for your free no-obligation consultation at our main office in West Los Angeles. We are available 24/7 with additional offices conveniently located in Long Beach, Torrance, Pasadena, West Covina, Glendale, Orange, Newport Beach, Westlake Village, Oxnard, and Rancho Cucamonga.

Call for Your Free DUI Consultation: 1-888-579-4844

When deciding on a criminal DUI defense law firm, choose wisely as your future could depend on it.  We are experienced in defending Los Angeles area DUI cases and you can trust in our legal representation.