If you have a California driver’s license you should know California’s drunk driving laws. You should know what could get you in trouble, and more importantly, how to stay safe.

But if you find yourself facing charges under California DUI laws you need to call the Law Office of Mark Greany at (858) 531-6387 right away.

Mark Greany is an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney who knows how to successfully defend against DUI charges.

Current Laws About Drunk Driving in California

The California DUI law is complex, and there are numerous technical and legal components to understand, including the legal limit, implied consent, aggravated penalties, and ignition interlock devices. If you have questions, reach out to our law office right away.

The Legal Limit

Under the California Vehicle Code §23152, it’s illegal to drive while under the influence of:

  • – An alcoholic beverage;
  • – Any drug;
  • – A combination of alcohol and drugs; or
  • – When your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.

If you have a commercial driver’s license and are in a commercial vehicle, your legal limit is 0.04% BAC.   

Read this law carefully. Most people assume you must be over the legal limit to face a DUI. But that isn’t true. Even if you’re under the legal limit or have no alcohol in your system, you could still be convicted of a crime under the DUI laws in California if drugs are found in your system.

Wet Reckless

California has a lesser charge that is often referred to as a “wet reckless.”  As an experienced defense attorney, Mark Greany knows how to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce charges and penalties.

In many cases, a DUI can be reduced to a “wet reckless.” This means that your record would show that you were convicted of a reckless driving charge. However, it is “wet”  because if you are ever arrested for a DUI again this conviction will count as a prior conviction for a DUI.

Implied Consent 

California’s implied consent law means you’re required to take a breath test if an officer arrests you for drunk driving. There are penalties if you refuse.

The civil penalty is an administrative per se license suspension. You’ll receive a 30-day temporary license, and you’ll have 10 days to request an administrative hearing to object to the suspension.

Otherwise, a civil license suspension goes into effect for four months for a first-time offense or one year for a subsequent offense within 10 years.

You could also face additional criminal penalties if convicted, including mandatory jail time.

You aren’t required to take a pre-arrest breath test. You can refuse a roadside breath test without penalty unless you’re under 21 years of age or on probation for a previous DUI. If you take a roadside breath test, the results can be used against you in court.

DUI Penalties

The DUI laws in California provide for different sentences based on your BAC level, previous DUI convictions, and whether you refused a breath test.  

First-Time DUI

  • – Up to five years of summary probation;
  • – Up to six months in jail;
  • – Fines and assessments up to $2,300;
  • – A three or nine-month alcohol or drug education program;
  • – Possible ignition interlock device for up to three years; and
  • – License suspension for up to six months.

Second DUI

  • – Up to five years of summary probation;
  • – Between 96 hours and one year in jail;
  • – Fines and assessments of up to $4,000;
  • – An 18 or 30-month DUI school;
  • – Ignition interlock device for one year; and
  • – License suspension for up to two years.

Third DUI

  • – Up to five years of summary probation;
  • – Between 120 days and one year in jail;
  • – Fines and assessments of up to $18,000;
  • – A 30-month DUI school;
  • – Ignition interlock device for two years;
  • – “Habitual traffic offender” designation; and
  • – License suspension for up to three years.

It helps to speak with a San Diego criminal defense lawyer about the minimum and possible maximum penalties.

Felony DUIs

Under California DUI laws, most DUIs are misdemeanors. But a DUI becomes a felony under certain circumstances.

  • – A fourth DUI within 10 years;
  • – A DUI after a previous felony DUI conviction; and
  • – A DUI that caused someone else injury or death.

In these situations, you can face higher fines, a longer jail or prison sentence, and a longer driver’s license suspension.

Do You Have Questions About California Drunk Driving Laws?

Always keep in mind that a DUI charge is not a conviction. You can and should defend yourself with the help of a San Diego DUI lawyer. Mark Greany knows California DUI laws and defenses.

He’s ready to investigate the charges, build an effective defense strategy, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

If you’re ready to talk about your situation, contact the Law Office of Mark Greany or call (858) 531-6387 to set up a free initial consultation. 

Author Photo

Mark Greany

Mark Greany has been practicing law since 1995 and is the founding partner of the Law Office of Mark Greany. You can learn more about Mark and his accomplishments by clicking here.

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