Whether it’s your first offense or your third, the penalties for DUI in California are steep, and they’re only going to become harsher as time goes on. Understanding the penalties for DUI is important for all California residents.

First Offense

If it’s your first DUI, you might expect the penalties to be lighter, and they are (in comparison to penalties for a second or third offense). However, even penalties for a first-time offender in San Diego are quite stiff. For instance, you will be fined around $2,200 in penalties and fees, with possible public work service for alcohol levels over .15. You’ll also have to pay for and attend a three-month alcohol education program, which costs $500. You will have to attend that program for nine months if your BAC was .20 or higher.

Second Offense

For second offenders (another DUI within 10 years of the first offense), penalties become even steeper. There’s a minimum of 96 hours of jail time, as well as either an 18 or 30 month alcohol treatment program. You’ll have a minimum of a one-year license suspension as well. A restricted license is available after 90 days of the suspension, but you will be restricted to driving to and from work and to and from your program. You will also be required to have an interlock installed on your ignition. Maximum penalties include up to a year in jail, two years’ suspension of your license, and up to $4,000 in fines and fees.

Third Offense

Courts “throw the book” at third-time DUI offenders. Even minimum penalties include 120 days in jail, as well as a three-year revocation of your license. Maximum penalties include the possibility of over $18,000 in fees and penalties and up to a full year in jail. You’ll also have to enroll in a 30-month treatment program, and you won’t be able to drive for quite a long time. Once you get your license back, you’ll still have an interlock device to contend with and pay for.

Avoiding DUI Penalties

The best way to avoid these potential penalties is to never have alcohol if you’ll be getting behind the wheel. It’s hard to estimate your own BAC, and even consumer-available breath testers aren’t guaranteed to be accurate. If you’re facing DUI charges, it’s vital that you have expert legal representation in court and before the DMV. Whether it’s your first, second or third offense, an expert DUI lawyer can provide immense help.

If you’re facing DUI charges, contact Mr. Joshua Price, the most experienced DUI attorney in San Diego. Call (760) 613-5384? to schedule a free consultation to discuss how he can help in your situation.