California DUI Laws – Multiple DUI's
A DUI is a traffic ticket and a criminal charge rolled into one. Like for any criminal charge, the sentence for a DUI can include jail; and like any traffic ticket, once you get a ticket, the citation/ticket will stay open on your record until resolved. Also, like any criminal charge, the more prior offenses, the harsher the punishment by the Court.
California Vehicle Code Section 23152 states it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance. California Vehicle Code Section 23536 lays out the facets of the punishment for a first offense DUI. If arrested and convicted for a DUI and it is a first offense the punishment is: confinement to county jail for a period of at least 48 but no more than 96 hours; suspension of driving privileges for a period of up to one (1) full year; and a fine of up to $1,000.00.
These penalties can be much harsher if charged with a second DUI offense within ten (10) years of the first offense. California Vehicle Code Section 23540 states "that a person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 90 days and no more than one (1) year and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars($1000)." Furthermore, "the person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended" for a period of up to two (2) years.
Should the court grant probation to a driver punished under Section 23540, the driver would have to enroll in a treatment program for a period of at least 18 months up to a period of 30 months per California Vehicle Code Section 23542(b)(1) & (b)(2).
A third DUI offense within a ten year period results in at least 120 days of county jail, but the sentence could be as long as one (1) full year, per California Vehicle Code Section 23546. The fines are the same amounts as Section 23540 and the driver's privilege to operate a motor vehicle may be suspended for a period of up to three (3) years. If granted probation by the Court, California Vehicle Code Section 23548 stipulates that the driver participate in a driving-under-the-influence program for at least thirty (30) months.
Furthermore, if convicted and punished under this section, the driver is designated a "habitual traffic offender" for a period of three (3) years. Such a designation may not seem like much, but the penalties attached are very serious. If caught driving with a suspended license and the driver is designated as a "habitual traffic offender", the sentence is an automatic thirty (30) days in county jail and a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) per California Vehicle Code Section 14601.3.
Any subsequent DUI offense within a ten year period is punishable under California Vehicle Code Section 23550. The driver faces a county jail term of at least 180 days but no more than one (1) year, the fines remain the same, but driving privileges may be suspended for up to four (4) years.
In the Inland Empire as well as across the San Bernardino area driving is a necessity not just a privilege. It is also a huge responsibility, so please take care while driving and do not drink and drive. As you can see above the penalties are severe and the danger to yourself and others on the road is not worth the risk.
However, should you find yourself facing a DUI charge, the best course of action is to have someone with experience on your side. The Law Offices of Kirk M. Tarman have over 14 years of experience handling DUI defense cases and is at your side from beginning to end. www.tarmanlaw.com