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What You Need to Know about California DUI Laws

Is a DUI a Felony in California?

Police DUI Nigh Time Checkpoint. Police Cruiser Lights Closeup Photo.

If you’ve recently gotten a DUI, you may be wondering: Is a DUI a felony in California? Well, it depends on the situation. There are three ways a DUI in California can result in a felony:
  • If you cause an accident that causes great bodily harm to someone else.
  • If you get four or more DUIs in a one-year period.
  • If you’ve had another felony DUI conviction already.
A DUI that does not fall under any of these three circumstances is considered a misdemeanor. In either case, there is legal work and consequences involved. Keep reading to learn more about the charges and defense, according to California DUI laws.

First-Offense DUI California

If it is your first offense of a DUI in California, you won’t be charged as harshly, but you will still have to deal with a lot of legal work and a note on your record. 

What Charges Could You Face?

Charges for a DUI depend on the circumstances of the case. The penalties broadly range in their severity, and the DUI conviction will stay on your record and count as a prior DUI for 10 years. The following list outlines the fines and other penalties that come from a DUI:
  • First Offense:
    • Jail time up to 6 months
    • Fines of $390-$1000
    • License suspended for 6 months
    • Interlock ignition device for up to 6 months or 12-month restricted license
  • Second Offense:
    • Jail time of 96 hours-1 year
    • Fines of $390-$1000
    • License suspended for 2 years
    • Interlock ignition device for 1 year
  • Third Offense:
    • Jail time of 120 days-1 year
    • Fines up to $1,800
    • License suspended for 3 years
    • Interlock ignition device for 2 years

What Defense Can You Use?

If you’re charged with a DUI in California, there’s a chance the charge could be dismissed. More likely, the DUI may be reduced to a “wet reckless,” which involves less severe punishments than those of a DUI conviction. Some common drunk driving defenses include:
  • Claim that the officer didn’t have probable cause to make the traffic stop.
  • The sobriety test delivered inaccurate results.
  • The portable breathalyzer test may be inaccurate.
  • Blood test may have been mishandled.
  • The blood alcohol concentration was below the legal limit while driving, then increased right before the breath test.

Contact Us Today

If you’re looking for a reputable lawyer to defend you in a DUI case, contact The Law Office of Bradley Corbett. We’re here for your emergencies and will do everything we can to get you the best possible outcome. Learn more today.

Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.

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Don’t wait until it is too late! Delaying or even denying yourself the counsel and strength we can provide you could have life changing consequences. Call us today and let an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney help you protect your freedoms, life, and family.

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