California DUI Laws and Penalties

If you have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence within the last 10 days and haven’t consulted with any Southern California dui attorneys, you must act quickly to attempt to save your license from suspension from the DMV. Find out how by taking advantage of a prompt, free and confidential initial telephone or office consultation with Southern California dui attorney Joel B. Hoffman. Specialzing in DUI cases, Mr. Hoffman will fight to save your license, your freedom and your clean record!

If you are facing DUI charges in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino or Riverside Counties, you need an experienced and assertive Southern California DUI Attorney who will keep you out of jail, make sure your rights are protected, who will see to it that you’re treated in a fair and just manner under the law…and who knows how to obtain the best results for your case. Mr. Hoffman stands above other Southern California dui attorneys

“I understand your feelings of confusion, anger, and fear about what has happened, and the uncertainty of the future outcome of your case. The whole arrest process, from being fingerprinted and photographed to being held in jail can be very degrading. Unfortunately, you’re now facing a serious charge which can have negative long-term consequences. If your case is not handled properly, you could lose your license, your insurance could go up by 3 times or more or canceled entirely, you may have to pay thousands of dollars in fines and mandatory program fees, and you could even go to jail. A DUI conviction could even work against you when applying for a job. After a DUI arrest, it’s common to feel uncertain about what lies ahead but rest assured, I’ve helped thousands of clients in the same situation and there’s a good chance I can help you keep your license and your freedom!”

Joel B. Hoffman
Attorney At Law


Sure, any lawyer can just go through the motions and speak to the District Attorney, but the DA is more likely to negotiate in good faith with a lawyer who he knows can put up a good fight. Mr.Hoffman is known by the prosecutors to be an assertive, and extremely capable lawyer, who fights very hard for his clients.

Our team of professionals at Hoffman and Associates will strategize a defense in your case to resolve your legal problem. After doing thousands of court cases of this type, we understand the complexities and can avoid or minimize the penalties you may be facing from the court. And we don’t believe in charging you unnecessary legal fees like many law firms do but only the minimum required to effectively resolve your case. We have different payment plans available to best suit your needs. During your free consultation, you will speak to Mr. Hoffman directly who will be happy to answer any questions you may have involving your case and Mr. Hoffman oversees every case personally.

DUI charges are the most common criminal charges filed against individuals in the State of California (not including simple traffic tickets, which are technically “criminal” violations). California has some of the nation’s toughest laws for driving under the influence (DUI). DUI law punishes offenders for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Even for a first offense, the penalties can be serious-including license suspension, fines of almost $2,000, mandatory attendance at State or DMV Approved alcohol programs, and potential jail time. In addition, a DUI conviction stays on your DMV record for at least 10 years, and may result in higher insurance premiums. Furthermore, you may become ineligible for credit, and even lose your employment. If you have prior convictions, stopped for speeding, or had an accident while driving under the influence, the penalties may be far worse.


The California Vehicle Code, specifically, VC section 23152(a) and 23152(b), sets the law on DUI cases, and states as follows:

VC 23152. “(a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person’s blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

The two sections above are typically charged together. The first has to do with your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, irregardless of your blood alcohol level. The second, or (b) count, requires that you have a .08% blood alcohol content, or BAC, by weight, California’s “legal limit”. The term “alcoholic beverage and drug” or “alcoholic beverage or drug” in the (a), or first count, does not mean that you were driving with drugs in your system, but that either alcohol or drugs, or both, were found at the time of driving, not that you in fact did have both in your system.


Typically, each court has a different policy and procedure for DUI cases. You truly should talk to someone that knows the court rules. In general, the maximum penalties for a First Time DUI, below .20% blood alcohol level, no accident, misdemeanor, drunk driving case includes all of the following:


    • Informal, or summary, probation for three to five years


    • Six months in the county jail (Or no jail at all!)


    • Six months license suspension (Optional?)


    • A fine of $1,000 plus penalty assessment, or a total of $2,710, (the minimum is $390 plus penalty assessment.The “penalty assessment” is a state tax created by statute in the late 1960s, and is 200% of the base fine amount).


    • Contribution of $100 to the California State Restitution Fund


    • Proof of enrollment in, and proof of completion at, a Level 1, or AB-541 Alcohol Education Program


    • An “Alcohol Abuse Prevention” fee of $50.00


    • A “Blood Alcohol Content” testing fee of $37.00


  • A $20.00 Court Security Fee

In addition, there are additional penalties for being above a .20, being involved in an accident, or having a child in the vehicle.

Second time DUI:

The potential maximum, and all other penalties increase, in addition to all of the above, to up to one year in the county jail, having your car impounded for 30 days and an 18 months license restriction. The minimum includes 4 days minimum to 1 year maximum in jail or another option such as community service or house arrest.

Third or Fourth time DUI:

The potential maximum and all other penalties increase, in addition to all of the above, to a mandatory license revocation for up to 3 years by the DMV. Even after the revocation, you still cannot get a license until you’ve completed a 30 month long alcohol treatment program. As mentioned above, a fourth or higher DUI can be prosecuted as a felony, and the minimum of 120 days for third offenses, or more than one year for a fourth offenses since the laws governing felonies would then apply.

Failure to do ANY of the above terms of your sentence is a probation violation.


Hoffman & Associates Riverside location
100 Oceangate Blvd, Suite 1200
Long Beach, CA 90802
Phone: (562) 628-5541
Fax: (562) 628-5509
North Jefferson Business Park
41593 Winchester Rd., Suite 200
Temecula, CA 92590
Phone: (888) 377 9770
San Bernardino location Premier- Spectrum
The Executive Suite At Haven
9431 Haven Avenue, Suite 100
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Phone: (888) 377 9770
7700 Irvine Center Drive, Suite 600
Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: (888) 377 9770