The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in California depend on how many prior convictions the driver has. This article covers the basics of California's DUI laws and the penalties and consequences for a second DUI conviction. (Also, read about the consequences of a first and third DUI conviction.)
For most purposes, a DUI is considered a "second offense" if you have one prior DUI conviction that occurred within the past ten years. Typically, out-of-state DUI convictions are also counted.
A second-offense DUI is typically a misdemeanor criminal offense. A conviction normally carries possible jail time, fines, license suspension, and a few other consequences.
A second DUI generally carries 96 hours to one year in jail. However, in some cases, jail time can be converted to house arrest or work service.
The fines for a second DUI conviction range from $390 to $1,000. However, various fees and "penalty assessments" will significantly increase the amount the offender actually pays for a DUI conviction.
Penalties for a second DUI in California also include:
However, the administrative and criminal suspension periods are allowed to overlap, so the total suspension time won't exceed two years.
A second offender can apply for a restricted ignition interlock license for driving to and from places like work and school. For drug DUIs, the person must complete 12 months of the suspension before being eligible for a restricted license.
Whether as part of a restricted license or following the suspension period (where the person does not apply for a restricted license), all second offenders are required to have an IID for at least 12 months.
For most crimes, there aren't any formal penalties unless you're actually convicted of the offense (either by entering a plea or being found guilty at trial). With DUIs it's different. If you're lawfully arrested for drunk driving, there can be administrative consequences—such as license suspension and fees—regardless of whether you're ultimately convicted of a DUI.
If you've been convicted or had your license suspended for a DUI within the past ten years the administrative license suspension will be:
These administrative consequences come from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) rather than a court.
It's basically never a good idea to represent yourself in a DUI case. If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, get in contact with a DUI attorney who can help you navigate the legal system.