If you are charged with a second DUI in California, you will face both adminstrative and criminal penalties.
Sanctions imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, are independent of any criminal penalties. If you receive your second DUI offense within 10 years, the DMV will suspend your license for a minimum of one year; however, your license could be suspended for up to two years.
The lookback period for a prior DUI in California is 10 years. The period is calculated from arrest date to arrest date. Therefore, if you receive a DUI within 10 years of a prior DUI, then you will be charged with a second DUI. Jail time is mandatory on a second DUI offense. The sentence ranges from 96 hours up to one year (depending on factors including .BAC) and pay a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). In some cases, jail time is converted to house arrest. It is also possible in some counties to have part of the jail time converted to work service. Penalties for a second DUI in California also include three to five years of probation. In addition, you must attend DUI School for 18 months.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor in California
A second offense DUI is a misdemeanor.
Under California’s laws, misdemeanors are crimes punishable by up to one year in local or county jail. More serious crimes (felonies) are punishable by death or imprisonment in state prison. (Cal. Pen. Code §§ 16, 17.) For more information on felonies in California, see California Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Getting Legal Help
If you are charged with a second DUI in California, talk to an experienced criminal attorney who can explain the legal consequences to you and help you decide how to proceed.
Dealing With a DUI?
If you're facing a DUI charge in California, see the following links for more information on what to expect:
- CA DUI Basics: FAQ's
- What are the Penalties/Consequences of a Conviction?
- Should You Go For a Plea Bargain?
- Blood & Breath Tests: How they Affect Your Case
- What Happens if You Don't Take the Breathalyzer or Blood Test?
- Five Things To Know About a DUI Case in California
- What Happens Before the Trial?