Should California law enforcement officers pull you over and arrest you for allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, your best interests dictate that you immediately contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending DUI/DWI crimes. Why? Because you face serious penalties if convicted. 

FindLaw explains that under California law, officers can arrest you not only for the alleged DUI itself, but also if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test. If you take the test and its results show your blood alcohol level to be 0.08% or higher, this constitutes DUI. If you are under age 21, however, your BAC must be no higher than 0.02%. Regardless of your age, a BAC of 0.16% or higher puts you at risk for enhanced penalties should prosecutors convict you of DUI. 

First conviction penalties 

You need to understand that California takes DUI offenses very seriously and has passed some of the most stringent DUI laws in the country. Consequently, your first DUI conviction carries the possibility of the following penalties: 

  • Two days in jail 
  • A maximum $2,500 fine 
  • A maximum six-month suspension of your driver’s license 
  • Completion of a 90-day alcohol education course 

Subsequent conviction penalties 

The more DUI convictions you receive, the more severe the penalties. For instance, if you receive a third conviction within 10 years, your penalties likely will include the following: 

  • A maximum 16-month prison sentence 
  • A maximum $18,000 fine 
  • A maximum 10-year suspension or revocation of your driver’s license 
  • Completion of a 30-month alcohol treatment program 
  • Possible confiscation of your vehicle 

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.