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What are the penalties for drunk driving in California?

Now that summer is in full swing, many Californians are going to the beach, barbecues, ballgames, and block parties. This also means that many Californians will have a drink or two at these events. However, police in California will be on the lookout this summer for those who they believe are drunk driving. This means that even if a person has only had a couple beers, glasses of wine, or cocktails, they could find themselves facing DUI/DWI charges. Therefore, it is important to understand what the penalties are for those who are convicted of drunk driving in California.

California laws against drunk driving are some of the strictest in the United States. For a first DUI conviction where no one was injured, a convicted person could be fined almost $2,000, incarcerated for two days, face a six month driver's license suspension, and undergo an alcohol education program.

The penalties are even worse for subsequent DUIs. If it is a person's third DUI within 10 years, then he or she may be fined as much as $18,000. Additionally, such an individual may have to undergo an alcohol treatment program lasting for 30 months. That person may also have their driver's license suspended for as long as 10 years. It is also mandatory for these convicted individuals to have an ignition interlock device installed in his or her vehicle.

As this shows, being convicted of a DUI in California can have very detrimental consequences. Without being able to drive, in addition to having to spend time in jail, could cost a person his or her job, and possibly make it difficult to obtain future employment. Moreover, the high fines associated with a drunk driving conviction can spell financial ruin. Therefore, those facing DUI charges should make sure they develop a solid defense strategy in hopes of avoiding a conviction.

Source: FindLaw, "California DUI Laws," accessed on June 20, 2017

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