Category Archives: DUI Charge

Penalties for Second-Time DUI Convictions in California

If you have been convicted of a DUI charge in the past, then you know how difficult it can be to get your life back on track after being arrested. One of the most important things people want to know when facing second-time DUI charges is what kind of penalties they will face if convicted again. This guide provides information about the consequences of California DUI convictions and how long these penalties last. 

California DUI penalties can be severe, so it is crucial to understand the factors that will affect your case. California DUI penalties can also vary based on how high your BAC (blood alcohol content) is. So let’s discuss the various factors that can affect your DUI case and what you can expect.

Keep in mind that you should seriously consider looking into defense lawyers to represent you in court. Many in California offer free consultations so that you can discuss your options. When you have qualified DUI attorneys in your corner, you stand a much better chance of getting a favorable outcome.

Charged with a Second DUI in California? Here’s What to Expect

If you’re facing your second DUI in California, you are likely familiar with the first-time DUI penalties. Things are much different for your second offense. While it’s true that you can still get an interlock system installed after 90 days if you lose your DMV APS hearing, it must remain in your vehicle for one full year. What’s more, you’re looking at your driver’s license being suspended for two years as a result of the conviction this time around. After the first year, you can have it switched over to a restricted license. If you agree to a DUI interlock, however, you can get driving privileges right away as long as the 90-day APS suspension has passed.

Other likely penalties include:

  • Summary DUI probation of 3 to 5 years
  • Mandatory jail sentence of at least 96 hours or as much as one year
  • Fines ranging from $390 to $1,000 plus penalties assessments of approximately $1,000
  • Complete either an 18-month or a 30-month driver responsibility program approved by the court

Since you will likely be out on probation, court in California always impose the following conditions:

  • You will have to agree to take a chemical test if you are arrested again for DUI
  • You may not commit any new crimes while on probation
  • You must not drive with any measurable BAC

Not only that, but you may also need to take part in additional penalties based on the circumstances of your DUI offense. 

  • Participate in the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Victim Impact Group
  • Attend AA (Anonymous Alcoholics) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings
  • Take part in the ignition interlock devices program for up to three years
  • Make restitution (if you cause an accident while driving intoxicated)

Criminal Record

Although it is certainly disappointing, the second DUI conviction may be expunged.  You can typically get this if:

  • You were put on probation
  • You successfully completed probation

Essentially, the expungement petition is submitted to the court and then reviewed by the judge. If the judge grants the petition, you can withdraw the guilty or non-conviction plea and submit a “not guilty” plea again. Once a plea of ​​“not guilty” is filed, the case should be dismissed.

What is the Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol Content in California?

The legal limit for blood alcohol content in California is 0.08%. This is the standard throughout the United States and most other countries around the world. A person can be charged with a DUI if they are driving while intoxicated, meaning their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or over this legal limit of 0.08%. 

There are many factors that affect how quickly someone’s BAC will increase to this level; these include tolerance levels, gender, weight, age, and more. It’s important to note that it takes time for your body to absorb an alcoholic beverage into your system.

The California BAC limit is .08%, meaning anything at or above this range is illegal. That said, you can still face charges if your BAC is below .08%.. Moreover, most states have zero-tolerance DUI laws for BAC limits of 0.02% or more for drivers under 21. However, California’s zero-tolerance limit for underage drivers is .01%. The same applies to anyone on DUI probation, regardless of age. Moreover, if you are pulled over and pass a breathalyzer test but fail field sobriety tests, you can be arrested and charged with DUI. 

Can DUI Punishment Be Increased?

There are certain circumstances that, if present at the time you are booked for your second offense DUI in California, will increase your county jail or state prison sentence.

The most common of these include:

  • Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15% or higher (less in some counties)
  • Refusing to submit to a chemical test
  • Causing an accident
  • Being a minor under 21 at the time of your DUI offense
  • Driving at excessive speeds
  • Having children under the age of 14 in the car 

What type of enhanced penalty you receive for any of these aggravating factors will largely depend on (1) the exact circumstances of your California DUI arrest, and (2) your criminal history (with focus on your prior DUI history). Clearly, a prior DUI conviction, combined with one of the above-mentioned aggravating factors, makes the pending penalties even more severe.

If you are facing your second DUI in California, it’s important to have legal counsel on your side. When you work with a qualified attorney, they will fight for the best outcome possible and ensure that you can drive to work with minimal restrictions. As long as you complete the court’s requests and don’t get into any more trouble, you can expect a smoother probation period. 

Check for DUI law firms in your area and ask to set up a consultation to discuss the best course of action for proceeding with your case.

Rules for Obtaining a Blood Sample After a DUI Arrest

There is much confusion over the rules for obtaining a blood sample after a DUI arrest. Many people are unclear of the laws regarding DUI cases and what’s permitted in court. Do you have to submit to a blood test? What can affect a blood alcohol test? This blog will answer these questions and more. 

Here, you will learn what your rights are while gaining a comprehensive understanding of the DUI blood test. If you have already submitted to a blood test or you’re facing a DUI case, this article will offer guidance and direction as to how to proceed.

What is a DUI Blood Test?

The term “DUI” is an acronym for Driving Under the Influence. Moreover, DUI means operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with drugs or alcohol. Every state has its own DUI law that dictates it is illegal to drive while intoxicated, whether under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, prescription medication, or illicit drugs. 

What’s more, some states have laws in place that differentiate between the various possible DUIs, such as one involving alcohol and one involving an over-the-counter medication like cough syrup. And it’s because there are so many possible scenarios involving DUIs that blood tests exist.

Blood tests help determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) in persons charged with DUI. If you are pulled over, and the police officer determines that you are intoxicated, blood testing can be ordered. 

But unlike breathalyzers, blood tests are almost never performed at the scene of the arrest. Unless there is a unique situation where a qualified medical practitioner is present at the scene and has the necessary equipment to legally do so, all blood tests take place in a medical facility.

Moreover, blood alcohol testing in hospitals ensures that proper laws regarding chemical testing are followed. Some states have strict regulations in place that dictate who can take a blood sample and test alcohol levels, as well as the manner in which the samples are analyzed and transported.

It’s rare that police officers are trained and equipped to administer blood tests. And even you are pulled over for DUI by an officer that can perform blood draws, your state’s laws may prohibit them from doing so at the scene.

If you discover that someone took a blood sample from you who wasn’t qualified to do so, you can legally challenge the results of the blood test.

What Can Affect a Blood Alcohol Test?

Blood alcohol tests are used to determine the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of a driver suspected of driving while intoxicated. BAC is defined as the amount, by weight, of ethanol in 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath. 

There are a number of factors that can affect the validity of this test. Some things that may cause an inaccurate reading include time from alcohol consumption, having diabetes, taking certain medications, or eating food right before the test. 


Your body absorbs alcohol the moment you consume it, and it does so quite efficiently. However, it can take as much as 60 minutes for your blood alcohol concentration to reach its peak. Therefore, it is very likely that a blood alcohol test conducted 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after the peak 60-minute mark would yield very different results.


This is a very significant factor that can radically change blood alcohol levels. For instance, some medicines can cause a person’s body to respond in a way that limits the effects of alcohol, while other medications can actually make the effects worse.


The more food you have in your body, the longer it takes you to absorb alcohol into your blood. Therefore, if you and a friend have been drinking the same amount of alcohol, but you have an empty stomach, it’s likely that testing you both would should you to have a higher blood alcohol level.

What is the Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol Content?

In every state, the legal limit for BAC is 0.08%. However, the limits vary when it comes to increased penalties. For example, the California BAC limit is 0.08%, with penalties increased for anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.15% or higher.

If you are facing DUI charges, it is important to secure the legal counsel of a qualified DUI attorney. Your lawyer will ensure your rights are not violated.

For your blood test to count as evidence in court, prosecutors must follow what’s called the “chain of custody.” This means that they must establish the following to the court in order for the blood test to be accepted as evidence:

  • Who performed the blood draw
  • Whether they were qualified
  • Where it was taken
  • How it was taken
  • Who analyzed it
  • Their qualifications
  • Protocols in place to ensure your sample was constantly accounted for
  • Protocols in place to ensure testing equipment was constantly accounted for
  • The use of a common testing method
  • Proper storage and transport of sample

In addition, there is special documentation in place that must be signed and dated every time a blood sample changes hands. In DUI defenses, attorneys carefully research and review the above requirements and make sure the proper paperwork was used throughout your testing.

If anything was ignored, overlooked, or protocol wasn’t followed correctly, your attorney will fight to have your sample disqualified as evidence.

Penalties for Refusal of a Chemical Test

Each state has its own implied consent law, which can result in penalties for refusing to take a chemical  test- whether a breath or  blood test- when authorities have a basis for believing you are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. What type of penalties you might face depends on the state in which you are pulled over. However, while you can face additional penalties for refusing to take a blood test and the refusal can be used as evidence of guilt at trial, you cannot face a separate criminal charge for refusal of a blood test.

Blood Test Administration: How It Works

If you do anything to purposefully delay the test, the police may deem you a refusal. With that said, you can request that a different type of test be administered to you, such as a breath test if it is available.

Just be aware that if alternative tests aren’t available, you must agree to the blood test. Upon administration, a qualified person will use a syringe to draw blood from a vein. That sample is stored in a vial that is then sent off for analysis.

If you are concerned about the way your blood test was handled or you want to ensure that you are fairly represented, contact a trusted DUI attorney today.

Penalties for First-Time DUI Convictions in California

The penalties related to DUI offenses vary depending on how many times you have previously been charged with DUI. If you are facing a first-time DUI California conviction, it’s essential to understand the laws surrounding DUI charges and the penalties they bring. 

Here, we’re focusing on a first-time offense DUI conviction and what that means to you. We will also discuss what you can typically expect in DUI cases in California.

California DUI Penalties

To understand the penalties that come with first-time DUI in California, we first need to discuss the laws regarding driving under the influence. For example, DUI means Driving Under the Influence by operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with drugs or alcohol. Every state has its own laws dictating what happens when you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In California (and every other state), the legal limit is .08% BAC. BAC is your blood alcohol content, and some tests can determine this level in people. The most common is a DUI breathalyzer test, and another is a blood test.

So if you are charged with DUI in California, you will have submitted to testing that checked your blood alcohol content. California DUI checkpoints regularly check drivers to ensure that everyone is driving sober. 

This is an easy way to set up a web that checks in on everyone who drives through a particular area. Of course, you can also be tested if a police officer believes you are driving recklessly. Whatever the case may be, if it’s your first time getting arrested for drinking and driving, it’s only a misdemeanor DUI.

Now that we have a basis for how DUIs are determined, let’s examine the ramifications that come with them. The penalties for your first DUI conviction may include:

  • 3 to 5 years of informal misdemeanor DUI probation (usually three years)
  • DUI school 3 to 9 months (usually three months)
  • Fines and fees that total $1,500 to $2,000 (depends on county)
  • The driver’s license will be suspended for six months due to DUI conviction plus four months if you lose your DMV hearing (although people may be able to obtain a restricted driver’s license or drive immediately as long as there is a DUI interlock installed in the vehicle)
  • Jail time of up to 6 months
  • Participate in a victim impact group
  • Indirect consequences such as increased  insurance premiums 

Court and DMV Hearing

Drivers arrested for drunk driving or drug use will face two sets of legal proceedings in California. The first is a jury or bench trial in criminal court, and the other is a DMV hearing to set your license suspension.

The California DMV cannot impose a fine on you or put you in jail. It can only revoke your license. And unless you make a request in time and win the hearing, the DMV will automatically suspend your license.

Moreover, getting a DMV hearing is not automatic. Instead, you must request within ten days of your arrest. In addition to the DMV suspending your license, the court can also order it so. What’s more, the court can do this even if you request a DMV hearing and win the appeal to keep your license from getting suspended.

While it’s understandable if it sounds like you have an uphill battle ahead of you, know that you can fight your arrest and suspension. When you have a qualified DUI lawyer in your corner, you stand a far better chance of getting a more favorable outcome.

What to Expect When You Drive Under the Influence

As we just mentioned, getting arrested for drunk driving in California will result in at least a court hearing and DMV hearing. If the DMV suspends your license, that’s the only penalty they can impose upon you.

What’s more, the DMV’s actions do not affect any criminal penalties from the court. Please keep in mind that obtaining a DMV hearing does not happen automatically (nor is it required). So if you want to challenge the automatic revocation of your license after your first drunk driving conviction, you must request a hearing.

On top of that, you only have ten days to request a DMV hearing after your arrest. If you do not request a hearing within ten days, your driver’s license will be revoked for four months. This is true if you lose at the hearing and fail to prevent your suspension — you’re still looking at four months.

Just note that if you do win your request, the court can step in and impose its own suspension. To stop this from happening, you need an experienced DUI attorney to show you aren’t guilty, or you can plead no contest. 

You Must Show Up to Court

Unlike DMV license suspension hearings, criminal court cases are not optional. The prosecutor decides whether to charge the defendant and the crime. Once the defendant is charged, their lawyer must participate in all proceedings. This includes subpoenas, where the defendant will plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

Some other notable differences between the DMV’s hearing and the court’s hearing. For starters, unlike the DMV and in addition to revoking the license, the court can also impose criminal penalties. Such penalties may include:

  • Imprisonment
  • Probation
  • Fines

Moreover, as mentioned above, the victory (or failure) at the DMV hearing has no impact on criminal court proceedings. The reverse, however, is usually true. For example, let’s say the DMV suspends your license, but you are later found not guilty in court.

The DMV should then unsuspend your license once it gets the results of your trial. Please note, though, that the DMV will look to see whether you won on an acquittal and not a technicality.

Could You Get Probation Instead of Jail Time?

As a first-time offender, this is very likely. The repeat offenders and those who have increased BAC above reasonable levels tend to face imprisonment. But there are conditions to probation that you must follow if you want to ensure that you stay out of jail. For example:

  • You will have to agree to take a chemical test if you are arrested again for DUI
  • You may not commit any new crimes while on probation
  • Install an interlock in your vehicle for six months
  • You must not drive with any measurable BAC

What Is the Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol Content?

In every state, the legal limit for BAC is 0.08%. However, for certain drivers, stricter BAC standards apply. Commercial drivers can be arrested for a DUI for driving with a BAC of .04% or more. And California has “zero tolerance” laws making it illegal for underage drivers (those under 21 years old) to get behind the wheel with a BAC of .01% or more.

The fines also differ from state to state. Examine the examples below to get an idea of the penalties each state imposes for DUI.

DUI Fine Alaska: Jailed for at least 72 hours + a minimum $1,500 fine + 90-day driving suspension.

DUI Fine California: $390 to $1,000 fine + possible jailing for 48 hours to 6 months.

DUI Fine Maryland: Up to $1,000 fine + up to 1 year in jail.

DUI Fine Texas: Up to $2,000 fine + up to 180 days in jail (3-days mandatory) + suspension up to 1 year. 

Please note that these examples are for first offenses and under the “increased penalties” limit. As discussed above, your fines and jail time will increase exponentially if you become a repeat offender or show a higher blood alcohol content.

As you can see, the drunk driving laws vary wildly by state. If you are facing DUI charges, it is vital to secure the legal counsel of a qualified DUI attorney. Your lawyer will ensure that you get the representation you deserve.

What Happens to Your License Following a First-Time DUI?

After being arrested for drunk driving, the arresting police officer will confiscate your driver’s license. The official will then give you a 30-day pink temporary permit while your original license gets returned to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. And as detailed earlier, the DMV will suspend your license. 

You then have ten days to request a hearing to challenge the suspension. As long as this request is made promptly, the DMV may place a temporary hold on your license suspension. If you don’t ask for a hearing, the DMV will automatically suspend your license.

However, you should keep in mind that you might be able to obtain a restricted license to commute to and from work or an IID license to drive elsewhere on a limited basis. 

How Do California Police Officers Test for Marijuana?

Just as driving drunk is illegal, so is driving under the influence of marijuana. Essentially, any impaired driving can get you into trouble. If you’re pulled over by a police officer who suspects impairment, tests can detect THC if necessary.

While it’s true that recreational marijuana use is legal in many states, including California, it’s still against the law nationwide to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol of any kind.

Thus, law enforcement agencies can legally request that you consent to a weed DUI test. But what are these tests, and how do police officers detect THC? To answer this question and more, we first need to define what it means to drive under the influence of marijuana.

Marijuana Use While Driving

Drivers are affected by marijuana and thus under the influence when consumption causes physical and mental impairment to the point where the driver can no longer safely operate a vehicle. But to determine whether the driver in question is under the influence, a judge or jury will have to decide.

This is because California law doesn’t have a set legal limit for marijuana in one’s system. What’s more, there is much debate surrounding the effects of marijuana while driving. Some proponents argue that cannabis use actually makes you sharper and more aware of your surroundings.

Others, however, claim it to be just as dangerous as drunk driving. If a driver is under the influence of marijuana at the time of arrest, a prosecutor must convince the judge or jury in court.

DUI cases regarding marijuana driving pose a serious challenge to prosecutors. As stated, California doesn’t set limits on how much cannabis a person can have in their system while driving. Thus, prosecutors have to prove that however much a person had present in their body was enough to cause impairment behind the wheel. 

THC vs CBD: Knowing the Difference

THC is short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and is the primary ingredient in cannabis that causes psychoactive effects. It’s also what makes cannabis users feel “high.” Some weed contains minimal THC content, but the CBD (cannabidiol) content might be high. CBD is a non-psychoactive substance found in hemp. 

In fact, many medical marijuana users choose high CBD strains to get the health benefits of marijuana without the intoxicating effects. This can ensure that they don’t fail a drug test for work, for example.

Chemical Testing: Does It Work?

Chemical testing is available for checking a person’s THC levels. However, these tests are unreliable. To make matters worse, experts disagree on how much THC is safe. As such, this division and unreliability present problems for convicting a driver of a DUI charge.

With that said, the test results from chemical testing aren’t needed for conviction. This is often confusing to drivers in California. But if there is enough evidence elsewhere to show that you were impaired, test results become unnecessary.

Also, it’s important to note that if all the prosecution has is a positive chemical test and there’s no other evidence, the test usually won’t be enough for a conviction. At the end of the day, it often comes down to other forms of evidence that prove you were under the influence and unsafe to drive a motor vehicle.

Other Evidence

So, what are the other forms of evidence that you might need to be worried about? Examine the examples below to better understand the evidence that can result in a DUI conviction.

  • Your driving pattern
  • The statement you gave to the police
  • Your performance in Field Sobriety Tests
  • You had marijuana on you or in your vehicle
  • You had drug paraphernalia on you or in your vehicle
  • There’s evidence that shows you’re addicted to cannabis

Moreover, if there is a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) at the scene, they will make a note of your appearance and actions. People who are intoxicated will exhibit the following traits:

  • Delayed/slow reaction time
  • The smell of weed
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes

Most of the time, when there is suspicion of drug use, the attending officer will call in a DRE to examine the suspect. If the case goes to court, the DRE can testify on the arresting officer’s behalf, thus providing potentially damaging evidence against the suspect.

Testing for Marijuana: How It’s Done

If the officer suspects drug use in a person who chose a breath test, a blood test may be ordered. However, a blood test can only be requested if the officer believes the following: 

  • The driver is under the influence of marijuana or other types of drugs
  • The blood test will show that drugs are present

Moreover, blood tests usually come up in the following scenarios: 

  • The breath test came back negative, or the alcohol content was very low
  • The police officer smells marijuana on the driver
  • The police officer observes physical signs revealing intoxication
  • The police officer found drugs in the driver’s vehicle
  • The police officer found drug paraphernalia in the vehicle

If a blood test is not possible, such as if a medical condition prevents it or a blood test isn’t readily available, a urine screen will be presented instead.

Chemical Tests and Reliability

Using chemical tests to prove that someone is driving under the influence of marijuana has three fundamental problems:

  • There is no consensus on the extent to which cannabis can cause driving problems
  • Chemical tests cannot reliably indicate when someone used marijuana
  • They cannot reliably indicate how much has been used

Test results may also vary based on the type of test used. When you secure the services of a trusted DUI attorney in California, you can look forward to comprehensive research and representation that fights for your rights.

Your lawyer will carefully examine all evidence to make sure that proper protocols are followed at all times. So if you are facing DUI charges, consider getting legal counsel. You will have the guidance and direction you need to ensure that nothing is overlooked in your case.

Blood Testing

The most commonly used chemical test in cannabis DUI cases is a blood test. The blood test directly looks for the presence of THC. But unlike alcohol, the rate of metabolism of THC is not stable, especially when smoking. Conversely, the THC level in the blood can reach a peak in just ten minutes and then drop rapidly.

When someone’s arrested, and blood samples are taken, most of the THC will likely be gone. Furthermore, THC can be detected within one month after smoking marijuana.

But the bigger problem with THC blood testing is that, unlike water-soluble alcohol, THC is fat-soluble. This means that once ingested, it will be stored in the body’s fat tissues.

These fatty tissues can filter stored THC back into the blood for up to a month or more. Therefore, even if the driver has not smoked or used marijuana recently, the THC blood test may be positive. 

In addition, low THC levels in the blood may be due to relatively recent use or long-term use. So even if a person didn’t recently consume cannabis, it could still show up. As such, a positive blood test does not factor in as well as one might think.

Urine Testing

The urine test does not directly check for the presence of THC. Instead, it detects the presence of inactive metabolites found in cannabis. These inactive metabolites can be detected in the urine for a long time after using cannabis. Some estimates indicate that they can be detected in long-term users for up to 4 weeks.

Since these substances do not cause harm by themselves, a positive urine test does not prove that someone is “affected” by marijuana. It only indicates that the person had smoked marijuana at some point in the past month or so.

It’s also worth noting that strains high in CBD can trigger false positives. With so many variables, it’s difficult for prosecutors to paint a clear picture of factual use in a suspect. This is why it’s so important to have a qualified DUI attorney in your corner. 

Your lawyer will focus on the inaccuracies of the testing methods used and fight to prove to the court that you weren’t impaired while driving. Moreover, your attorney will carefully gather evidence and make sure that proper procedures are followed at all times. 

To ensure that you receive the representation you deserve, contact a California DUI attorney today.

Guide to California’s DUI School

Residents of California charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or “buzzed driving” must attend DUI classes. What’s known as DUI school serves to provide education and help prevent future DUI offenses.

Here, you will learn what to expect if you’re ordered by the court to attend a DUI education program in the state of California. 

What is DUI School?

DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. As such, a DUI charge means you were illegally operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drug use. Although every state is different in terms of the legal ramifications regarding DUI convictions, drunk driving laws are prevalent nationwide.

And in the state of California, DUI offenders must enroll in a driver responsibility program. Some of the notable offenses include:

When you enroll or are ordered to enroll in a DUI California program, you must attend one licensed by the state of California. Due to the pandemic, California now allows virtual meetings for DUI classes but the program must be licensed by the state.

What to Expect

How long your courses take and how much they cost depend on the nature of your offense. For example, a first-time DUI California offense for drivers under the age of 21 requires 12 hours of classes and a fee of $270 (approximately).

But an offender with prior DUI convictions could be looking at 2 ½ years of classes and a fee of $3,000. Your blood alcohol content (BAC) also plays a role in the frequency and cost of your classes. 

First-Time DUI (Under 21)

The DUI program for California minors under 21 years of age is known as AB 803. It includes six two-hour lessons per week. Under the following circumstances, underage drivers must complete a 12-hour DUI course:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 20
  • A first conviction for DUI

Wet Reckless

Anyone convicted of California’s wet reckless offenses for the first time must complete a 12-hour drunk driving program. Such programs are known as SB 1176. Drivers cannot be arrested for wet reckless violations.

Moreover, wet reckless is an offense that’s been reduced in a plea bargain. Essentially, the driver admits that their blood contains a certain amount of alcohol (wet) and that they drove recklessly as a result. The 12-hour DUI school program for “wet reckless” defendants includes six two-hour classes per week.

First-Time (Under .20 BAC)

Drivers will be required to participate in the three (3) month DUI education program if: 

  • This is the driver’s first DUI or “wet reckless” conviction in ten years
  • The driver’s BAC is less than 0.20%

This three-month course is the most common first DUI school and is known as AB 541. It covers people convicted of driving under the influence and people convicted of DUID, or DUI on drugs. If the driver is ordered to participate in the three-month DUI program, attendance and completion will become a condition of the driver’s DUI trial period. 

Moreover, the three-month driving plan includes 30 hours of learning. The exact courses and programs vary depending on the provider of the alcohol or drug education program. Typically, though, drivers take between 10 and 15 lessons. This is usually a once-a-week meeting that lasts three to four months and consists of the following:

  • Enroll and intake
  • 12 hours of education classes
  • 18 hours of group counseling
  • Three individual counseling sessions

First-Time (Over .20 BAC)

A judge will order the DUI offender to attend a nine-month program, known as AB 1353, under the following circumstances:

  • First-time offense with BAC of .20%+
  • Refusal of chemical testing following DUI arrest
  • Plead guilty to wet reckless and has additional DUI charges in the last ten years

Most nine-month DUI courses include 60 hours of class time and the following:

  • Six 2-hour classes
  • Twenty-two 2-hour group counseling sessions
  • Sixteen 15-minute individual interviews
  • Agreement to attend 36 AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings

Repeat DUI Offenses

The second drunk driving conviction within ten years of the last drunk driving or wet reckless conviction will result in an 18-month to a 30-month drunk driving education program. Most second-time DUI offenders need to participate in the 18-month program, known as SB38.

The judge may also allow certain third or subsequent DUI offenders to attend this 18-month DUI school instead of the 30-month course. But to be eligible, the driver must not have previously completed the 18-month program. 

The 18-month program also includes what’s known as community re-entry monitoring, which helps transition the driver to everyday living. As such, it helps the driver break free of DUI school requirements and enter self-help programs such as AA. 

If necessary during this period, the plan provider can also help participants arrange work. What’s more, the 18-month DUI school includes:

  • A personal interview every two weeks in the first year
  • 6-hour community re-entry monitoring
  • 12 hours of drug or alcohol education
  • 52 hours of group counseling

Class Costs

If you cannot pay for your DUI classes, fee waivers are available through the program provider. Moreover, a sliding scale dictates the reduced course costs. If you qualify for a fee waiver and cannot pay the total amount, you can’t be denied service to the program.

What’s more, you can’t be put on a waiting list or referred to another program provider, nor will you be required to make a down payment to attend classes. As someone who qualifies for general assistance, you also can’t be charged more than $5.00 a month in missed class fees or rescheduling fees, and this includes a $10 reinstatement fee.

If you receive general assistance, you should bring with you documentation stating as much. After you present it to the provider, they will verify it and determine an appropriate payment schedule at a reduced cost.

As you can see, there’s a lot involved when you are charged with a DUI. As such, it’s essential to consider reaching out to law firms in California to assist you. When you have a qualified DUI attorney in your corner, you can look forward to experienced legal advice and direction.