It's a pretty safe bet that at closing hour of any bar, you might find
one or two customers debating whether or not they should drive home. If
it has reached the point where someone needs to ask, it's better to
just call a cab.
Some folks try to rationalize whether or not they are drunk based on
the amount of food they had and the number of drinks they consumed. All
the math in the world won't save you in California if your blood
alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher. That is the legal definition of
driving under the influence and the courts really don't want to hear
that you can "handle your liquor."
DUI arrests are treated very seriously in California as they are in the
rest of the country. As a result, you can face some extremely seriously
consequences if convicted of a DUI offense. No matter how many times
you've been convicted of a DUI in California, you'll be required to
carry a SR22 restricted driver insurance policy. The SR22 policy comes
with more expensive premiums and rigorous follow up inspections.
California DUI Convictions
A first time DUI conviction can land you in jail for anywhere between
four days and six months. You can be fined up to $1,000 and forced to
complete a state certified DUI driving program. Your license will be
suspended for six months. With a second DUI conviction that occurs
within 10 years of the first offense, the jail times increase to ninety
days up to one year. The fine can still be $1,000 but the license
suspension goes up to one year.
For a third DUI conviction the possible time behind bars becomes 120
days to one year with a two year license suspension. You may also be
forced to apply for a restricted driver's license. With this type of
license you'll be mandated to install an ignition interlock device
which prevents the driver from being able to start the car if there is
any alcohol in their blood system.
If a fourth DUI conviction happens within 10 years of the other
convictions then you can expect to spend at least 180 days in jail and
have your license suspended for four years.
California Underage DUI Laws
There are many restrictions for California drivers who are under the
legal drinking age. If you are under 21 you are not allowed to drive
alone with any kind of liquor in your car. The legal BAC limit for
drivers under the age of 21 is .01 or higher. There is a zero tolerance
law in place for drivers under the age of 18. This means for them that
any BAC level can lead to a DUI conviction.
California Zero Tolerance for Repeat
California's zero tolerance laws extend to repeat offenders. If a
person is on prohibition for a DUI conviction and is arrested once
again for driving under the influence then their BAC only needs to be
.01 or higher. That's basically what you would get with one beer and
that can mean an automatic second or third DUI conviction with all the
penalties they would carry.