The State of California has strict penalties for driving while drunk, including costly fines and jail time. To help individuals who may be facing DUI penalties, American Tri-Star auto insurance in San Diego shares five basic facts about California’s DUI laws.
1. Fines and Jail Time Increase with Each Subsequent DUI Charge
For the first DUI offense, an individual can expect to spend between four days to six months in jail and may be required to pay fines up to $1,000. License suspension from one to ten months is also a penalty, and the driver may be required to take driving courses. By the fourth offense, a person can expect to spend sixteen months in jail, pay fines in excess of $18,000, have their license suspended for four years, and be required to take mandatory driving courses.
2. Drivers Under 21 Years of Age Cannot Have Open Liquor in the Vehicle
The only exception to this is for work related driving. Drivers under age 21 cannot have a blood alcohol concentration of .01 or higher and cannot drive after consuming alcohol of any form, including cough syrup or prescription drugs.
3. Drivers Can Plead to a Lesser Offense Than a DUI in California
Pleading to a lesser offense is referred to as “wet reckless.” This can only be pleaded if it is the driver’s first offense, there was no accident, and the individual’s blood alcohol content is considered borderline over the limit.
4. There are Penalties for Refusing to Take a Chemical Test
California has complied incentive laws, which means that if you choose to drive, you automatically consent to any chemical test law enforcement officials wish to perform. Failure to consent will result in a suspension of your driver’s license, ranging from one year for the first offense to three years for the third offense.
5. There are Increased Reasons for DUI Suspension
As of 2011, California law has increased the number of categories that the DMV can use to immediately suspended driver’s driving privileges if they have been suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
If you have been convicted of driving under the influence, you will need SR-22 insurance in San Diego to regain your license. This type of insurance is known as high-risk insurance that will typically be required for the next three years. Call (619) 325-0326 for more information and speak with one of our experienced auto insurance agents.