Defendants facing a first DUI in California face both criminal and administrative penalties. In addition to fines and license suspension, a motorist may face jail time. Read about the specifics of the penalties you'll face if convicted of a first DUI in California.
If you are charged with your third DUI in California (and you first one was less than 10 years earlier), the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will impose administrative sanctions independent of criminal penalties described below.
Although a DUI is normally a misdemeanor in California, a number of factors can elevate a DUI to a felony, including having three prior convictions, having a prior felony DUI conviction, and causing serious harm or death to another person.
Underage drivers (motorists who are under the age of 21) who operate a vehicle while “under the influence” or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher can be charged with a “standard” DUI and generally face the same penalties as drivers who are at least 21 years old.
California’s open container laws generally prohibit consumption and possession of open containers of alcohol and marijuana in a motor vehicle. Read about the specifics of these laws and the penalties for a violation.
California’s “implied consent” law requires all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to submit to chemical testing to determine blood alcohol concentration. Read about how this law works and the penalties you'll face for an unlawful refusal.
Motorized scooters, electric bikes, and traditional bikes are subject to most of the same traffic laws as regular vehicles. However, it appears the Legislature has recognized that intoxicated operation of a bike or scooter might not pose the same level of risk to the public as operating a car or truck while under the influence.
In some states, it’s possible for a motorist who’s accused of driving under the influence (DUI) to “plea bargain” for a lesser charge. When such a plea bargain is for a reckless driving charge, it's called a "wet reckless." Here's how it works in California.