Your Comprehensive Guide to DUI Convictions in California


DUI convictions can bring severe consequences in California, including jail sentences, license suspension, and fines. Learn more in this guide

Navigating the Legal Complexities of Driving Under Influence Convictions


Living with driving under the influence convictions can be difficult for those they directly affect, as well as their families. Law enforcement officers patrol the streets throughout the night, looking for poor-driving practices and signs that the driver may be distracted or impaired.

Violations like drifting, driving too fast or too slow, following too closely, swerving, refusing to take a chemical test, or weaving are all signs that the driver may be intoxicated and will likely result in a breath alcohol or field sobriety test.

Being pulled over is alarming, especially when the driver has had a few drinks. Many people charged with driving under the influence didn’t realize they were intoxicated enough to impact their driving, and they are unaware of how serious the consequences can be.

If you face drunk driving charges, a skilled DUI defense attorney might be able to have your DUI case reduced to lesser charges or even dismissed.

For personalized service of a DUI attorney from a top-rated law firm, contact the Law Office of Christopher Chaney and receive reliable legal advice and representation.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Conviction Meaning


If you wonder what the DUI conviction means, the simple answer is that a conviction involves repercussions for being found guilty of breaking the law.

DUI offenses have severe penalties like permanent license revocation, enrollment in a drug abuse treatment program, mandatory minimum jail sentence, administrative penalties, or the state might require you to install an ignition interlock device (IID). They also have long-term effects like a criminal record and increased insurance rates.

Most people are subject to a DUI arrest for alcohol-related offenses like driving with their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level above the legal limit, as outlined by the California Vehicle Code (CVC) § 23152. There are different legal limits for four different categories:

  • 0.01% or higher when the driver is under the legal drinking age
  • 0.04% or higher when the driver is on probation for prior DUI
  • 0.04% or higher when the driver has a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • 0.08% or higher when the driver has a standard license and is over age 21

A DUI conviction means that you were driving while under the influence of any substance that might impair your judgment or reaction time. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs
  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Prescription medication

Suppose you are found to be driving under the influence. In that case, you can be arrested, charged, and convicted, even if you were unaware that the substance you were taking would impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle. This is why it is essential to read your pharmacist’s labels and drug information packets.

Do Driving Under Influence Convictions Transfer From State to State?


Some drivers are unaware that drunk driving convictions transfer from state to state. Therefore, if you get a misdemeanor DUI conviction in CA, you will have that on your criminal and driving records in other states and vice versa.

If you receive a drunk driving conviction, you need to work through your DUI charge in California before getting a license in another state. If you have prior alcohol-related offenses, consulting DUI and DWI attorneys can help you understand your rights and responsibilities to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the state.


How Long Do Drunk Driving Convictions Stay on Your Driving Record?


You probably wonder how long drunk driving convictions stay on your driving record. To the surprise of many drivers, a DUI remains on your California driving record for ten years.

A Criminal Record Is Likely if You Are Convicted of a DUI

If you are convicted of a DUI, you’ll have a permanent criminal record unless you have it expunged. Expungement is the court process of having your conviction removed or erased from your record. You can only get your first DUI conviction cleared, but that may affect how subsequent charges are handled.

Handling a DUI Conviction License Suspension


A DUI conviction license suspension can be a significant inconvenience that might make it difficult for you to travel to work or school or to run errands. If you face a six-month driver’s license suspension, you have a couple of challenges to overcome, such as the DMV hearing and DUI hearing.

If you have been convicted of a DUI, each has the power to suspend your license, after which it is a misdemeanor offense to drive. California Vehicle Code § 14601(a) addresses driving with a suspension or license revocation. DUI offenders may apply to have their license reinstated. Anyone facing this should contact a local law office to learn more.


After How Many Drunk Driving Convictions Will Your Driver’s License Be Revoked?

According to the DMV, your CA state driver’s license will be revoked after your fourth DUI conviction or second offense if you have a CDL. Other DUI arrests that may result in a permanent revocation of your license include:

  • DUI Murder
  • DUI Manslaughter
  • DUI with Significant Bodily Injury

If you are charged with a DUI offense that involves wrongful death or severe injury, you should immediately contact a reliable criminal defense lawyer.

What Happens to First-Time DUI Offenders in PA?


When considering the overall cost of a DUI conviction, you should remember that it is more than a mere financial consequence. The repercussions also depend on several factors, including your BAC, the facts involved in the offense, and the number of prior convictions.

Generally, if you are convicted of DUI in California, fines range between $390 and $5000 in addition to other fees for attorneys, court costs, and possible damages. The total may be as much as $18,000. The standard sentence for a first DUI conviction includes penalties such as the following:

  • Fines from $390 to $1,000
  • Ignition interlock device 
  • Jail time ranging from two days to six months 
  • Loss of driving privileges for six months
  • 90 days of DUI probation

For a second DUI conviction, third offense DUI, or any subsequent DUI, you will likely be required to attend and complete a Mandatory California DUI School. The number of prior DUI convictions an offender has had, as well as their blood alcohol level, will determine how long they have to attend, from 10 hours to 30 months.

Your DUI attorney may be able to get your criminal penalties reduced by offering community service.

Are There Any DUI Conviction Travel Restrictions?


After a criminal offense of drunk driving has been established, there are many additional elements that a person may be unsure of, such as DUI conviction travel restrictions.

Those with a DUI on their records typically can freely travel between states. However, those who have been granted a restricted license, also known as a hardship license, so they can continue driving to work or school can not.

Since your criminal record follows you, it would behoove you to deal with all your charges, upcoming court dates, and licensing before traveling.

What Are the 3 Types of DUI Charges


When people discuss DUIs, they frequently don’t distinguish between the various charges that a defendant might face. If you face DUI charges, it is essential to understand whether you are being accused of one of three distinct offenses. These are generally categorized as follows:


Misdemeanor DUI

Generally, misdemeanor DUI charges result from a basic or standard DUI offense. This usually entails a first or minor infraction.

However, the circumstances of your specific first offense, DUI, might lead to misdemeanor charges. This generally does not involve any injuries or accidents.

A misdemeanor first DUI offender should expect to serve up to six months in county jail, as well as pay fines of around $1,000. A habitual offender will also face increased penalties, higher fees, and longer jail sentences.


Felony DUI

Although most DUI offenders are charged with misdemeanor offenses, there are possible felony charges. Generally speaking, DUI felonies involve exceptional circumstances in the event. A DUI felony charge usually involves injuries or death in a DUI accident.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving three times in the past ten years, you will be charged with a felony. Felony DUI cases are typically punishable by five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.


DUI Manslaughter

DUI manslaughter is considered a severe offense, generally befitting harsher charges than DUI felonies. DUI manslaughter typically involves death due to the accused’s intoxicated driving.

Depending on the circumstances of the crime, DUI manslaughter is punishable by fifteen years in prison.

If another felony was committed in conjunction with the DUI manslaughter conviction, such as fleeing the scene, the DUI penalties might be more severe. In some cases, the DUI criminal court sentence may be as harsh as life in prison.


Hiring an Attorney Well-Versed in DUI Offenses to Avoid DUI Offenses


To get definitive answers and a solid defense strategy to avoid having any convictions on your record, you should contact a reputable attorney when you are arrested for DUI. Getting pulled over, performing field sobriety or breath test, then going to the police station to determine your blood alcohol content can be a traumatic experience.

Develop an excellent attorney-client relationship to reduce stress while you place your future in the capable hands of a professional lawyer. Get a free consultation from the Law Office of Christopher Chaney to avoid maximum possible jail time and other penalties. 

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