California is a pretty laid-back state, except when it comes to drinking and driving. Last year, the state passed a new law that expands access to ignition interlock devices for all drunk drivers. Currently, interlocks are only required for some first-time DUI offenses, but everyone with a second California DUI needs to install the device. On top of that, there are plenty of other consequences for a second drunk driving offense.
The look back period for drunk driving and DUI convictions in California is 10 years, so any second DUI or subsequent offenses are counted if they occurred within a decade of each other. As such, a second California DUI offender is subject to:
- Jail time, the minimum time required varies by jurisdiction or county, but at least 96 hours (one year, maximum).
- Alcohol education program enrollment for 18 months.
- Two-year license suspension (highly restricted after the first year of suspension), but the offender is eligible to reinstate privileges after three months if an ignition interlock device is installed.
- $2,800 in fines, minimum, not counting other associated costs for insurance, SR-22, administrative (DMV) costs, etc.
- Probation for a minimum of four years, with strict guidelines for behavior while driving (once a license is reinstated).
Once you have obtained your freedom to drive, no matter how many DUI offenses you may have, you will want to have an interlock installed on all of your vehicles. The penalties for a second California DUI are strict, and they only increase in severity from there. Any subsequent offenses could even mean a felony conviction on your record, where you are no longer given the civil rights that most others enjoy. Keeping the streets safe is a priority in California and across the U.S., as we see in each year as more states increase penalties and expand interlock access. You have a choice about how you get home when you are drinking, so be sure to have a safety plan before you head out.