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State Laws - California

Situation Imprisonment License Suspension Fines Ignition Interlock Device Required
1st Offense 4 days to 6 months 30 days to 10 months Up to $1,000 Yes, In some counties
2nd Offense 10 days to 1 year 2 years (can be reduced to 1) Up to $1,800 Yes
3rd Offense 120 days to 1 year 3 years Up to $1,800 Yes
4th Offense 16 months 4 years Up to $1,800 Yes


Category Illegal When
Any driver BAC of 0.08% or higher
21 or older BAC of 0.01% or higher
Under 18 ANY measureable BAC (zero tolerance)
Driver in the vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license BAC of 0.04% or higher
Repeat offender BAC of 0.01% or higher (zero tolerance)


Special Restricted Driver’s License

* DUI-related violations in the State of California results in a license suspension. To be eligible for a special restricted license, one needs to:

  • Pay DUI penalties ranging from $390 to $1,000 and a $15 restriction fee (if applicable).
  • Submit proof of future financial responsibility (SR22).
  • Clear previous driving suspensions and revocations on driving record (if applicable).
  • Serve a prison sentence.
  • Provide proof of enrollment in a driving under the influence program (18 or 30 month program, depending on the availability in the local area).
  • Install a state approved ignition interlock device (if applicable).


Court Order

The Courts will either order an offender to install an ignition interlock device with or without a DMV connection. Court orders provided at the time of the hearing will determine whether or not one needs to be installed and how long it will be needed for.

Installing an ignition interlock device into a vehicle does not automatically restore driving privileges. To be eligible to drive again, one would need to obtain a restricted driver’s license from the California DMV.

Lookback Period: 10 years (period of time that prior DUIs are relevant for sentencing).

* Note the following information only applies for drivers over the age of 21.

For additional information, please contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Disclaimer: While we try to keep information up to date and relevant on our website, we recognize that there are other factors that can affect the way laws will apply to individual cases. Always consult with your attorney, local courts, judges and district attorneys for all relevant legal information.


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