Attorney David Chesley's Criminal Defense Blog

DUI penalties

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In the United States there is a DUI-related fatality every hour, because of this most states have made their laws and penalties regarding DUIs more severe, especially when dealing with repeat offenders.

Here we have an overview of the most common penalties you will face when charged with a DUI


Fines for DUI cases vary widely, depending on the circumstances of the case, fines can range from $300 to $10,000.

License Suspension:

If you are charged with a DUI, a license suspension is almost guaranteed. On a first offense, license suspensions may last anywhere from a month, up to a year. For a repeat offender, a suspension may last anywhere from six months, up to three years.

In California you will be required to file an SR-22 form in order to regain your license after a suspension. This form is obtained from your auto insurer, filing an SR-22 will usually make your car insurance rate go up, because you will be labeled as a high risk driver.

If your current insurance company does not offer an SR-22 form, you will be forced to switch insurance companies in order to remain covered.


Many first time DUI offenders do not face any jail time, unless they injured or killed someone while driving. Repeat offenders are more likely to face jail time, how much will depend on the circumstances of the case.

Facing jail time for a DUI can have drastic consequences in your life. Any jail sentence will permanently affect your record, this can lead to difficulties gaining employment in the future.


DUI prevention programs, alcohol education class, or other medical treatments can be made mandatory by the court, but are more commonly used as a way to avoid jail time and large fines.

Community Service:

Community service may be mandatory as part of your probation. Failure to complete the amount of hours assigned to you risks violating your probation, which can have very serious consequences, including jail time.

Vehicle Impoundment:

A DUI offender’s vehicle can be confiscated and impounded for up to 90 days at your expense. This usually only happens to repeat DUI offenders.

Ignition Interlock Device:

As part of your probation, the court may order you to install an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle. This will require you to test your breath before you can start your car.

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