California DUI Penalties First Offense

Trouble-TipsArrested For Drunk Driving In California?

Driving under the influence has been the most frequently charged misdemeanor in the state.

California Drunk Driving Statute (Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) 23152(b).

Minimum Penalties – Misdemeanor – DUI

Each county has there own variations on the minimum penalties for a first time DUI Offender when it comes to the defendant and prosecutor reaching a plea agreement. Under California’s V.C Section 23152 (a) and 23152(b) however, the penalties are set out with considerable specificity. (Also see the State of California Information Resource on California DUI)

Assuming there is no bodily injury or death resulting from the DUI, no weapons found in the vehicle, no minors as passengers in the vehicle, the minimum terms for a misdemeanor first conviction for Drunk Driving are as follows:


There is a $390 fine plus over $1,000 in ordinary penalty assessments, plus additional DUI-only assessments for a total of approxi­mately $1,800. This amount increases on a yearly basis. The Court however will allow you to pay the fine over time – usually as much as six months.

Jail Sentence (Community Service)

There is a 48-hour jail sentence (Community Service)  or a 90-day license restriction allowing you to drive to and from your work—and for work—if required, and to and from an alcohol treatment program.

Treatment Program (DUI Classes)

Attendance and completion of a $500, three-month alcohol-treatment program (nine months if your blood alcohol level was 0.20% or higher. Completing the program is a requirement for ever being able to drive again following a “per-se” DMV license suspension and for minimizing that suspension to 30 days (plus five or eight months of restricted driving) instead of the six- or ten-month flat suspension that would otherwise be imposed.

Loss Of Drivers Privileges

Loss of your driver’s license for at least 30 days, followed by either a five-month restriction to drive to, from, and for work and to and from an alcohol treatment program, or an additional two-month restriction that allows you to drive only to and from the program.

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