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California First Offense DUI Laws

California DUI

Within the state of California, there are around 20 million licensed drivers. Each of these drivers will have been provided with their license following the belief that they are educated in how to correctly drive an automobile and be well aware of the laws which are enforced upon all road users. However, every single year, many drivers take the chance of getting behind the wheel whilst under the influence of alcohol and in 2007, it was reported that 203,866 people were arrested in California on a DUI charge.

If this is the driver’s first DUI offense in California, they may not be aware of what they will be facing following their charge. Drivers who are arrested for a DUI charge will be dealt with in two different scenarios-at the DMV and in a court.

In the instance that a driver is faced with a first offense DUI in California, they must be aware that the California DMV will firstly attempt to have their license suspended as a result of their offense which is referred to as an administrative per se violation or APS. Any driver who is arrested for DUI will be given just ten days in which to request a hearing with the DMV but in the event that no hearing is requested or takes place, the DMV is then able to automatically proceed with the process of suspending the driver’s license. Should a driver be successful in obtaining an APS hearing, the chances of them being successful within this hearing can be slim.

An unsuccessful APS hearing will be dependent on whether the driver in question has any past convictions for DUI, refused to take a chemical test or were over the legal limit. During an administrative hearing, it is always advantageous for the driver in question to obtain the service of a California DUI criminal defense lawyer who is experienced when it comes to representing clients at a California administrative driver’s license hearing.

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In the event that it is a first offense DUI charge, the pending license suspension which will be enforced by the DMV will be completely dependent on whether the person in question had agreed to take a chemical test and did or did not have a BAC of .08% or greater. A driver who has been arrested for a first offense DUI in California and agreed to take a chemical test can potentially face only a four month long suspension, with the possibility of applying for a restricted license during the suspension.

The DMV will require you to file an SR22 form with them in order to obtain a restricted license or to fully reinstate your license following your suspension period. You can obtain your SR22 insurance policy and filing by entering your zip code below and completing the short form on the following page.

You will be required to maintain your SR22 filing with the California DMV for a period of 3-years from the date of having your license reinstated. Any driver who has been convicted of their first DUI offense in California will also be required to enroll in alcohol awareness classes.

However, drivers facing a first time DUI offense in California who refuse to complete a chemical test will face a much harsher punishment. These drivers will be faced with a one year license suspension with no chance of obtaining a restricted license at any point during the 12 months. Once this suspension period has ended, the driver in question will be required to file an SR22 form with the DMV in order to have their license reinstated.

Following their court appearance any person found guilty of a first offense DUI in California will be required to pay a fine, which can be anywhere from $390 up to $1,000 for a first offense. It is important to be aware that in some cases, a first offense DUI may not result in minor punishments. A driver who is granted a probation period and accepts this punishment from the courts can potentially be placed in jail for up to 6 months, if they violate the terms of their parole or may not face jail at all if they stick to their probation agreement. Driver’s who are not granted a probation period following their first California DUI offense will be facing jail time anywhere from 96 hours to 6 months in jail.

DUI cases are occurring within California every single year but unfortunately in some cases, drivers are not learning from their first DUI offense and are experiencing more serious punishments. By taking your responsibility as a driver to abide by the laws which are in place within the state of California, you will not only spare yourself the issue of potentially facing your first or a subsequent DUI offense, but will also be keeping the roads safe for everyone.

California SR22 Insurance Information & Quotes

Before the California Department of Motor Vehicles will issue you a restricted license or reinstate your license following the suspension period you will be required to file an SR22 form with the DMV. You will be required to maintain your SR22 insurance filing with the California DMV for a period of 3-years from the date of reinstatement or from the date of being issued a restricted license.

Once you become eligible to have your license reinstated you will need to do the following:

  1. Signup for a California SR22 insurance policy.
  2. Take a copy of your SR22 policy to one of the California DMV locations.
  3. Pay the required license reinstatement fee.

It is important that you avoid any lapse in your California SR22 insurance coverage because a lapse in coverage will result in the mandatory 3-year SR22 filing period with the DMV starting all over again. For example, if you were 2-years into your SR22 filing period and had a lapse in insurance coverage, you would have to start the 3-year filing period from the beginning.

To avoid a lapse in coverage it is important to select a California SR22 insurance policy with the lowest possible premium from the start. We have created a competitive quoting environment with the top SR22 insurance providers in the state of California. By entering your zip code in the box below and completing the simple 3-part quote form on the following page you will receive up to 5 very competitive SR22 insurance quotes from the top insurance companies in your area of the state:

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Other California DUI Resources

  • California DUI Laws - A complete overview of California DUI laws including fines, jail time and penalties for each offense.

  • California SR22 Insurance -  Learn everything you need to know about California SR22 filing requirements with the DMV and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your California SR22 insurance.

  • California DUI Lawyers -   Contact one of our California DUI lawyers today.

  • California Alcohol Treatment Programs -   We offer a complete listing of California approved alcohol treatment programs.