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California DUI Lawyers

California DUI Laws, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Offense

You Need to Hire an Experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

Los Angeles DUI lawyer, David Chesley, and his team of experienced DUI lawyers are dedicated to providing you with the best criminal defense representation to obtain the best possible outcome in your criminal case.

If you are arrested for or accused of a DUI offense, California has one of the strictest DUI laws frameworks in the country and has imposed severe penalties for DUI/DWI offenses including jail time, monetary fines, suspension of driving licenses, and DUI schooling and/or rehabilitation program. According to the Wallethub study, California ranks on 21st on the scale of overall strictness of DUI laws and 19th position for strictest criminal penalties.

While it is good to research about the DUI penalties in California if you have a recent run-in with the law, information cannot defend you in the court, but a Los Angeles experienced DUI lawyer can. It is difficult to navigate the confusing and challenging police and court system on your own. You need the services of our aggressive criminal defense lawyers that understand the gravity of the situation and leave no stone unturned in resolving it successfully.

Factors Affecting DUI Penalties in California

The penalty for DUI offense is a combination of jail time, suspension of driving license, fines, and DUI schooling. The severity of the sentence for DUI criminal offense depends on two main factors.

  • Do you have a previous DUI/DWI record?
  • Is there any bodily injury, death or property damage in the accident?

A DUI in California is usually charged with a misdemeanor, but in some instances, it can be charged as a felony with more harsh sentences. Even though most of the cases are charged with a misdemeanor, the charges can become a part of your criminal record and will come up in your background check. If you want to come out clean in a DUI situation or want the penalty to be reduced to a minimum, you should consult with one of our Los Angeles experienced DUI lawyers.

When is a DUI charged as a Felony in California?

There are three instances in which the charges are enhanced and DUI is charged as a felony. These three situations include,

  • The DUI accident has resulted in an injury or death of another person.
  • There are 3 or more previous convictions of DUI or wet reckless driving on your driving.
  • There is a previous DUI felony conviction on your record.

Penalties for a DUI Misdemeanor in California

1st Offense DUI Misdemeanor in California

If it is your first run in with law involving DUI and does not involve any serious injury to other or property damage, you are most likely charged with 1st offense misdemeanor. You can face penalties up to,

  • Informal (otherwise known as “summary”) probation for 3-5 years
  • Up to 6 months in a county jail
  • Between $390-$1,000 in fines
  • A 3 or 9-month court-approved alcohol and/or drug education program
  • A 6-10-month driver’s license suspension – it can be converted to restricted driving license*

*A restricted license allows you to drive to and from work, school, or university. However, you will need a well-prepared defense by a knowledgeable lawyer to apply for restricted license.

2nd Offense DUI Misdemeanor in California

A second offense is that when you are facing DUI charges within 10 years of your first offense. A 2nd offense received harsher sentences than a 1st offense, but it is still usually charged as misdemeanor. The following penalties can be imposed for 2nd offense;

  • 3-5 years of summary probation
  • A minimum of 96 hours to a maximum of 1 year in a county jail
  • Between $390-$1,000 in fines
  • Completion of an 18-month or 30-month court-approved California DUI school
  • Your driver’s license suspended for 2 years – after 12 months, it may be converted to a restricted license

*A restricted license allows you to drive to and from work, school, or university.

3rd Offense DUI Misdemeanor in California

A 3rd offense within the 10-year period can lead to strict DUI penalties. If you are convicted for 3rd offense, the penalties can be,

  • Between 3-5 years of informal probation
  • A minimum of 120 days to a maximum of 1 year in a county jail
  • Between $390-$1,000 in fines
  • Completion of a 30-month court-approved DUI education program
  • Your California driver’s license revoked for 3 years – after 18 months it may be converted to a restricted license
  • Designation as an “habitual traffic offender” (HTO) by the DMV

4th Offense DUI Felony (incl. subsequent DUI felonies) in California

A fourth or any subsequent DUI offenses are charged as felonies. The felony is the strictest level of penalties and a person facing DUI felony can face penalties including,

  • 16 months, or 2-3 years in the California State Prison
  • Between $390-$1,000 in fines
  • A 4 year California driver’s license revocation
  • Designation as an “HTO” by the DMV

Circumstances Involving Injury or Death of Another Person

The cases involving death or injury of another person are strictly dealt by California’s DUI laws. A person with DUI with injury can either be convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony based on the assessment and analysis of circumstances. The following sentences are imposed for DUI injury cases.

Misdemeanor DUI with Injury in California

If the DUI resulted in injury of another person and you are convicted of misdemeanor, the sentences can include;

  • 3-5 years of summary probation
  • 5 days to 1 year in a county jail
  • $390-$5,000 in fines
  • A 3, 18, or 30-month alcohol program
  • A 1-3 years driver’s license restriction
  • Restitution to all injured parties

Felony DUI with Injury in California

If you are convicted of a felony in a DUI injury or death case, the penalties are;

  • 16 months to 10 years in the California State Prison and an additional and consecutive 1-6 years prison sentence, depending on how many people you injured and the extent of their injuries
  • A possible “strike” on your record pursuant to California’s Three Strike’s Law
  • Between $1,015-$5,000 in fines
  • An 18 to 30-month alcohol/drug program
  • Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status for 3 years
  • Restitution to all injured parties

Our Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys can help you!

No matter what the circumstances of arrest are, At the Law Offices of David S. Chesley, our aggressive DUI defense lawyers are ready to offer you a free consultation. In a DUI case, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, you need professional legal representation to get charges dropped and ensure minimum sentence.

Contact us for help
A DUI conviction can have devastating impact on your personal and professional life. A conviction will lead to a permanent mark on your criminal record and will also affect your driving record. One of our experienced California criminal defense attorneys will give you an upper hand in avoiding both. At the Law Offices of David Chesley, we invite you to contact us for your free initial consultation. During this consultation we will help you explore all the options available to you when fighting a DUI or any other type of criminal charges.
To set up a free consultation or if you have any questions, contact us through our website or give us a call. One of our expert California criminal defense lawyers will be waiting to speak with you. Call us today at 1-800-755-5174.

DUI Alcohol

DUI Alcohol

According to VC 23152 (a), it is illegal for any person to drive under the influence of alcohol.

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DUI Marijuana

DUI Marijuana

As experienced defense attorneys, we have various instances of the successful defense of DUI marijuana cases.

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DUI Drugs

DUI Drugs

The drug can be any controlled, illegal or prescription substance that can impair a person’s ability to drive a vehicle safely.

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Hit and Run

Hit & Run

A hit and run case is when the driver after hitting another car(s) or damaging the property did not stop and left the scene without notifying other drive or property owner and law enforcement.

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Drunk in public

Drunk in Public

You must consult an experienced defense lawyer for your legal representation in court to avoid conviction or to reduce charges to minimum.

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Driving Without a License

The situation and circumstances of your charges play an important role in determining the conviction and penalty.

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Areas We Serve

Recent Results

  • Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!

  • Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!

  • Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.

  • Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!

  • Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!

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