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DUI misdemeanor penalties in California

California fines and penalties vary depending on whether a defendant is facing first, second or third DUI misdemeanor charges. The penalties associated with a first-time or subsequent DUI in California are as follows:

First offense:

  • Could serve jail time from 48 hours to 6 months
  • Pay fines between $390 and $1,000, plus “penalty assessment” costs
  • Probation for three to five years
  • License suspension for 6 months
  • Complete a DUI education program lasting 3 or 9 months, depending on the discretion of the judge

Second offense within 10 years:

  • Serve jail time between 96 hours and 1 year (may be eligible to serve time through house arrest or alternative work program)
  • Pay fines between $390 and $1,000, plus “penalty assessment” costs
  • Probation for three to five years
  • License suspension for 2 years
  • Complete a DUI education program lasting 18 or 30 months, depending on the discretion of the judge

Third offense within 10 years:

  • Serve jail time between 4 months and 1 year
  • Pay fines of $5,000 or more
  • Probation for three to five years
  • License suspension for 3 years
  • Complete a DUI education program lasting 30 months, depending on the discretion of the judge

Depending on circumstances surrounding a DUI offense, felony charges may be issued, instead of misdemeanor charges. DUI felony charges may include cases involving injuries or fatalities. Penalties for these charges are often more severe.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI offense, consult a California attorney with a criminal law background for advice on how your situation may be handled best.

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