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What are the punishments for DUI conviction in California?

Being charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance is a serious criminal accusation in the state of California. For some drivers, it could mean the immediate loss of their driving privileges and the possibility of stiff fees, and insurance fee hikes in the event of conviction. For others, a conviction could mean the loss of their jobs, and even long-term jail sentences. Let's look at the specific punishments for a DUI conviction in our state, which has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country.

A first offense DUI conviction that doesn't involve a bodily injury will come with $2,000 in assessments and fines, a 48-hour stint in jail, license suspension of several months and a three-month long alcohol awareness program. It should be noted that in some cases drivers can have an ignition interlock device (a device they blow into to check their alcohol levels before their car will operate) in order to continue driving their cars in lieu of a license suspension.

Punishments get particularly worse if the DUI conviction is a third or subsequent offense that happens inside a 10-year window. With this conviction, drivers could be sentenced to up to 16 months in prison, $18,000 in assessments and fines and a 30-day program to treat alcoholism.

The most severe DUI charges relate to injurious and/or fatal car accidents. In these situations, a driver could be hit with a DUI bodily injury or DUI manslaughter charge. Convictions for these kinds of offenses usually mean jail time.

Roseville, California, drivers facing any kind of DUI charges may be assisted by a criminal defense lawyer who can help them in their criminal proceedings. By making an appointment with a criminal defense lawyer, accused drivers can learn about their legal rights, and what strategies are most appropriate to employ during their criminal defense proceedings.

Source: FindLaw, "California DUI Laws," accessed Nov. 30, 2016

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