Getting pulled over and ticketed for speeding or running a red light can be frustrating, but being cited for a DUI is a completely different story. After a DUI you may face hefty fines and a suspended license. You could find yourself in an alcohol education program, be at risk of losing your job or even worse facing jail time.
If you completed all of the necessary requirements and get your license reinstated you might think that your DUI is completely behind you. However it is important to know that a DUI can impact you long-term and the effects can be much worse if you have more than one DUI offense.
How do DUIs Impact Your Driving Record?
Depending on the state in which you live, your driving record could be impacted indefinitely because of a DUI. California happens to be one of the stricter states in the country. A DUI will remain on your driving record with the Department of Motor Vehicle for 10 years. This matters because if you happen to get another DUI within that 10-year period it would be your 2 DUI in California, which means the penalties become significantly more severe.
Penalties Under California DUI Laws
California DUI penalties are based on a number of things such how severe the citation was (i.e. someone was injured as a result of your drunk driving) or if you are a repeat offender. Penalties increase as you rack up multiple offenses:
First Offense: The first time you get a DUI you can expect to pay anything from $1,800 to $3,600 in fines. Depending on the severity of the situation you may not face any jail time, but there is the possibility of serving up to 6 months. Your license will likely be suspended for 4 months or longer. A first time offender is required by the state to complete a 3-month, 30-hour alcohol and drug education program. You may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.
Second Offense: With your second DUI you can expect to have your license suspended for up to 2 years and can spend up to 1 year in jail. The fines and fees may be as much as $4,000 and you will also be required to attend an alcohol and drug program for as long as 30 months. An ignition interlock device will be required along with 3-5 years of DUI probation.
Third Offense: The repercussions become more severe with your third DUI. You can be sent to prison for a maximum of 16 months and your license can be suspended for up to three years. The fines and fees for a third offense are up to $18,000 and you will be required to complete 30 months of a drug and alcohol program. An ignition interlock device is required as well as 3-5 years of DUI probation.
Four or More Offenses: If you have had 3 DUI in California you probably cannot imagine the penalties getting worse – that is until you are charged with a 4th California drivers with four or more DUI offenses can expect up to 16 months in prison and possible permanent license suspension. Drivers will have to pay fees of as much as $18,000 again. The other penalties such as DUI probation and the ignition interlock requirement are also required.
How Do I Prevent Getting Another DUI?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, drunk drivers are the cause of one-third of traffic-related deaths in the United States. This is a major reason why laws are becoming stricter for DUI offenses. In order to avoid getting a DUI some tips to remember include:
Identify a designated driver. Select someone each time you go out who will refrain from drinking so they can safely drive home.
Download Uber or a similar app. Ride sharing services can be affordable and convenient when you need a ride.
Limit your drinks and eat! If you plan to have a couple of beers or a glass of wine or two, be sure to space them out over a number of hours and eat food in between.
Don’t “sleep it off” in your car. Even if you are not driving, the state of California allows for a driver to be arrested for DUI if they are sleeping in their car while intoxicated even if the car is not running.
People make mistakes, but don’t make the same mistake twice – the burden of a DUI offense can be difficult to manage, but follow the laws in your state to avoid a second offense.
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI and you’re looking for car insurance that won’t cost a fortune, Freeway Insurance can help. Request a free DUI car insurance quote online or over the phone by calling (800) 777-5620. Freeway can get you insured, even if you’ve been turned down by other insurance companies.