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What penalties can a DUI charge lead to?

Most people here in California try very hard to keep a clean criminal record their entire life. But as so many of our readers know from personal experience, everyone makes mistakes -- even ones that can lead to criminal charges.

Let's take for example drinking and driving. In states across the nation, including here in California, many people assume that they will not be arrested for drunk driving unless their blood-alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. If you're under the age of 21, 0.01 percent or higher can lead to a DUI charge. If you're driving a commercial vehicle, 0.04 or higher can lead to criminal charges.

It's worth noting though that DUI penalties can vary depending on the charge. A first-time offender would likely see less severe penalties compared to a person with previous DUI convictions. Penalties may include:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • License suspensions
  • Ignition interlock device installation
  • DUI school

A DUI conviction can also impact your insurance as well. A driver may see their rates increase because they are now considered a liability by their insurance provider.

Even though the California Department of Motor Vehicles does have a page that outlines DUI penalties for specific situations, it's important to remember that not every case is the same, meaning you may have questions about how the law applies to your particular case.

These questions may be answered by a criminal defense lawyer who has experience with drunk-driving cases. They can not only explain how the law applies to your case but they can help you through the process and protect your rights as well.

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