Your Comprehensive Guide to DUI Convictions in California


DUI convictions can bring serious consequences in California, including jail time, license suspension, and fines. Learn more.

Navigating the Legal Complexities of DUI Convictions


Living with DUI 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, 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 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 are wondering what the DUI conviction meaning is, the simple answer is that a conviction involves repercussions for being found guilty of breaking the law. DUI offenses have severe penalties like license suspensions, enrollment in a treatment program, and perhaps a mandatory minimum jail sentence. 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 over the 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 the labels and drug information packets from your pharmacist.


Do DUI Convictions Transfer From State to State?

Some drivers are unaware that DUI 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 DUI conviction, you need to work through your DUI charge in California before attempting to get 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 DUI Convictions Stay on Your Driving Record?


You probably wonder how long DUI 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, it remains on your criminal record permanently 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 any subsequent charges are handled.

Handling a DUI Conviction License Suspension


A DUI conviction license suspension can be a major 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 DUI Convictions Will Your Driver’s License Be Revoked?

After how many DUI 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 Is the Cost of DUI Convictions?


When considering the overall cost of DUI convictions, 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 offense DUI 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 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 convictions a DUI 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 fines or jail time 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. 


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

To get definitive answers and a solid defense strategy to avoid having any DUI convictions on your record, you should contact a reputable attorney when you are arrested for DUI. Getting pulled over, performing a 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 unsavory consequences. 

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