Legal Guide

DUI penalties in San Diego

DUI is included under the category of serious crime, so, its consequences are also serious throughout the United States of America. As DUI is also a serious criminal offense, so, penalties of DUI are also serious. California is one of the States of the U.S.A and San Diego is one of the counties of California. That is why California DUI laws and punishments are also applied in San Diego. If you are arrested with a DUI in San Diego (Police can arrest you under Vehicle Code section 23152(a) or Vehicle Code section 23152(b) then don’t waste time and contact immediately San Diego DUI Lawyer and discuss all perspectives of the case.  

Court Penalties

Your penalties for DUI depend upon charges. There are different penalties for misdemeanor and felony.

Misdemeanor or felony Criminal charges

First DUI, Second DUI, and third DUI are usually misdemeanors. This is true when all these DUIs don’t involve any injury to others. Fourth DUI and all DUIs with injuries to others, death, and property damage are considered as a felony.

DUI conviction for the first DUI can be sent to jail for up to 6 months and all subsequent misdemeanors DUI can put you in jail for up to one year. Fine can be up to $1000. If you are charged with a felony then you can get a state prison sentence and a fine of $1000.

A subsequent DUI after the first one can be considered as 2nd DUI if it happens within 10 years. All subsequent DUIs after the first DUI include jail time.

Compulsory penalties and criminal sanctions

 The majority of DUI offenders are given minimum sanctions but judges can also give maximum sanctions. A judge can decide following for the first DUI offender.

  • The judge can grant probation to an offender
  • The judge can send the offender to jail or state prison
  • minimum fine and restitution
  • Penalty assessment
  • Duration for the completion of treatment program
  • License restrictions, suspension, and revocation
  • Ignition interlock device installation
  • Vehicle impoundment

Jail and prison

A DUI offender can be sent to jail or prison. In case of a first DUI misdemeanor, the judge has the power to change the fine compulsory treatment program or community service. There are some specific conditions when jail or imprisonment is increased. These conditions are discussed below.

  1. Your jail time can be increased up to a minimum of 6 months if you were driving under influence with a speed of 20mph on roadways while 30mph on freeways.
  2. If you refused to go for chemical testing for alcohol or drugs then jail time can be increased up to a minimum of 48 hours.
  3. Your jail time can also increase by the judge if a minor was sitting in your vehicle
  4. If the accident occurs under the DUI which involves injuries to others then increase imprisonment up to one year per victim.
  5. If you hit a victim and runaway involving vehicular manslaughter
  6. If your accident with DUI involves damaging the body the imprisonment can be increased up to by 3 years per victim.

Fine, penalties, and restitution

If you are involved in DUI then have to pay a fine, cost of penalty assessment, and restitution.

  • $390 to $1000 fine in misdemeanor cases
  • $390 to $5000 as fine in felony cases
  • You also have to pay an additional fee of penalty assessment that can be $1800-$2200
  • You have to pay to compensate for the loss of victims. These are called restitution fines. This can range from $100-$10,000. You can further be asked by the judge to pay for medical expenses for the victim

Treatment programs

The court can order defenders of DUI to attend and complete a substance abuse treatment program. This treatment program can be of different duration like 3 months, 9 months, 18 months, and 30 months. If the driving license of the DUI defender is suspended then he has to complete the treatment plan and then his driving license can be reinstated.

Vehicle impoundment

The court can order for the vehicle impoundment if the defendant of FUI is also the owner of the vehicle. The Judge can decide about your vehicle as a forfeited vehicle and also order to sell. Your vehicle can still be impounded if your age is below 21 years. This is implemented whether you were in the vehicle or not and if the driver or passenger below 21 years of age was found with alcohol in the vehicle.

Sanctions upon driving license

The driving license of the DUI defender can be restricted, suspended, or revoked.

  • Restricted driving license

It means you cannot drive but are restricted to drive only for few limited operations like to and from office, school, and treatment program, etc.

  • Suspended driving license

A driving license can be suspended and taken away for a specific duration until you fulfill certain conditions asked by the court.

  • Revoked driving license

The driving license of a DUI offender is permanently terminated he can apply for a new driving license after the revocation period.

The court can order to delay the revocation or suspension of the driving license of a DUI offender and ties up this with the completion of imprisonment. The court can order this delay particularly when the defender is convicted of DUI many times or injury involves multiple victims or the DUI offender was involved in a hit and run away. If you are less than 21 years of age and convicted of DUI your license can be suspended for another year.

Installation of the ignition interlock device

One of the orders of the court can be the installation of the ignition interlock device. If this device is installed then the vehicle will not get started if the driver is drunk. The court can order to install this device for 1 to 3 years after your driving license is reinstated. 


The probation period for a DUI defender can be of 3-5 years depending upon the type of charge. In misdemeanor cases, probation can be of the following 2 types

  1. Summary probation during which no need to report to anyone including the probation officer. You have to fulfill terms of probation only.
  2. Supervised probation during which you have to report to a probation officer on regular basis. The probation officer can ask the defender for the following actions.
  • Drug testing
  • Anger management classes
  • Drug rehab classes

Increase in Penalties

 Penalties can be increased due to some specific conditions which are given below.

  1. When the blood alcohol concentration level of the offender is more than .15%
  2. Jail time can be increased if the defender refuses to go for chemical testing
  3. Penalties can be increased if the defender’s BAC level is 0.08% and the defender was over speeding.
  4. If you are driving with DUI and a minor was sitting along with you when the accident occurred.
  5. If a DUI defender gets an accident involving injuries and property damage then the charge will be increased from misdemeanor to felony

DMV license suspension

The driving license of the defender is suspended immediately after arrest. Your license is suspended if the defender's age is 21 years or above with BAC 0.08% or BAC is 0.01% if the defender is under the age of drinking.  This suspension can be for 30 days. After this defender has 10 to request a DMV hearing. During this hearing, the defender is asked to answer the following questions. . You have to answer the following questions.

  1. Was your arrest legal
  2. Was your BAC 0.08% or higher
  3. Evidence was sufficient for the police officer to confirm that you were driving with DUI

DMV hearing is independent and has nothing to do with criminal prosecution.

You have to face both DMV hearing and Criminal process. You should expect all punishment and penalties of DUI because it is a crime. Your penalties and punishments can be enhanced by the judge in the criminal process. Question asked during DMV hearings are difficult to answer because defenders are usually not ready to answer.  A competent attorney can prepare you to answer questions during the DMV hearing and enable you to reinstate your driving license or manage to reduce the suspension period.  A right and competent DUI attorney can also enable you to fight your case in criminal court. The criminal process is the length and can result in DUI penalties like fines and imprisonment. Your DUI attorney fights to reduce the charge of felony to misdemeanor or reduce the suspension period of a driving license or even reduction in the fines. He may also help you to go for an appeal in appellant court to restart the entire process. He will also enable your expungement if you apply for it. This can help to get jobs because employers usually check criminal backgrounds.

So, keeping in view the importance of a DUI Attorney, it is good to hire him to get fewer penalties and punishment.

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