DUI Penalties Can Increase Thanks to These 5 Things

Any driving under the influence (DUI) arrest in California can carry some significant penalties for an alleged offender. Still, there are certain cases where specific factors can enhance the potential penalties associated with the alleged offense.

Any person arrested for DUI needs to understand that an arrest is different from a conviction, and a prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest legal standard.

Following a DUI arrest in California, you will want to seek the help of an experienced attorney quickly. When you work with Newman & Allen, you get committed defense and a team that wants to help you avoid both immediate and long-term consequences.

Some of the most common reasons people face enhanced DUI charges in California are below.

Multiple DUIs

Whereas a first DUI in California is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a second offense is also a misdemeanor but may be punishable by as much as one year in jail. The minimum sentence for a second DUI is 96 hours in jail, but a third DUI could involve a minimum sentence of 120 days in jail.

Fourth or subsequent DUI offenses become felony offenses punishable by up to three years in prison. You may also receive a revocation of your driver’s license, which can impact your ability to work and complete basic day-to-day tasks.


When a person who leaves the scene of an accident receives a DUI charge, they could face fines of up to $10,000. A hit-and-run causing only property damage could result in up to six months in jail. If the crash involves a minor injury, penalties can increase to as much as one year in jail, and severe injury or death may lead to up to four years in prison.

Excessive Drinking and Driving

When you receive a DUI charge, the premise of the arrest is typically on your breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC), with 0.08 being the legal limit.

People who have BACs of 0.15 or more can have increased penalties that include driver's license suspension for up to 10 months. A restricted license may be available after one month if the alleged offender completes a 9-month DUI education and counseling program. A licensed program must consist of at least 30 hours of activities.

A person with a BAC of 0.20 or more must complete at least 60 hours in the counseling program. These alleged offenders may require installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on all vehicles they own or operate for as much as three years.

Driving a Minor While Intoxicated

Under California Vehicle Code § 23572, a conviction of DUI with a minor under 14 years of age as a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the alleged offense may receive a minimum of 48 hours in jail for a first offense. A second DUI could result in an additional 10-day jail sentence, while third DUI offenses could result in 30 additional days in jail. A fourth or subsequent offense can result in up to 90 additional days of jail time.

Open Containers

A DUI committed while a driver has an open alcohol container in their vehicle can result in additional fines of up to $250. When the alleged offender is a minor, charges may be punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

If you encounter a situation involving a potential DUI charge, it’s crucial to have legal advocacy in your corner. Newman & Allen has been defending both residents of and visitors to California since 1996. We work hard to help you understand your rights and whether the officer in your case was wrong in your arrest. Let us pursue your freedom with committed representation.

Call our firm today at (909) 328-6101.

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