San Diego DUI Laws and Penalties
In the majority of DUI cases, there are two criminal charges:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08% or greater (also referred to as DUI
per se offenseor the B-count)
It is possible to be convicted of both crimes; but the penalties are the same and will only be served for one. If there was a refusal to administer to a chemical test, there would be no evidence for a charge of the
per se offense; however, the penalty for the DUI charge may increase.
For first time offenders, the offense carries a minimum jail term of 4 days and a maximum of 6 months. Depending on where the DUI took place, fines can be in the vicinity of $1600, which includes fees and additional assessments. In addition to the DMV’s automatic four-month license suspension, the court may add an additional six months. Mandatory DUI classes must be taken for three months in order to earn the license back. If the blood-alcohol level exceeded .15%, DUI classes could be extended to six or nine months. Courts also have the discretion to include AA meetings, community service, attendance at victim's panels, and installation of an ignition interlock device (also known as an IID). A probation period of three years is also included.
If there is certain evidence present in the case, the law requires increased penalties. Evidence is included for this requirement is:
- Refusal to submit to a chemical test
- Speeding 20 mph over posted limit on surface streets
- Speeding over 30 mph over posted limit highways (a minimum penalty of a 60-day jail sentence is also included with this offense)
- Committing the offense with a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle
- Having any previous convictions within the last ten years (three or more previous convictions turns the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony).
Failure to request a hearing with the DMV will also cause your license to be suspended. If, during the hearing, the DMV determines you were was driving with a blood-alcohol level of at or in excess .08%, or a refusal to take a chemical test, suspension of your license will take place. (Please see the
Information on Records Clearing is available from the Criminal Law Observer.