What Are the New DUI Laws in California?

California DUI Laws
Under new California driving laws in 2021, a person convicted of a second DUI offense within 3 years of a first-time DUI offense in CA, is punishable by a fine of $390 to $1,200 plus mandatory penalty assessments, 90 hours to 1 year of jail time on average, installation of ignition interlock device requirement for up to 3 years time, and a strict 2 year DUI license suspension. However, a qualified DUI defendant is eligible to get a restricted license for going to work or school, upon court and CA DMV approval.

In California, the DUI law is expanding to not just drunk driving, but also drugged driving. In its simplest terms, driving under ANY type of influence will land you in court defending yourself against DUI charges. On January 1, 2021, two new sections were added to the DUI law, section 23152 and section 23153. The recent changes in state law were specifically aimed at the rising driving under the influence of drugs in California (DUID).

The new sections make it illegal for the operator of any vehicle to be under the influence of any type of drug, this would include prescription drugs, which can affect a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Section 312 of the California Vehicle Code states that a drug is, “… any substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, which could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious man, in full possession of his faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions.”

California is seemingly seeing a significant rise in vehicle operators abusing both alcohol and drug combinations (including prescription medication). This abuse has led to an increase in accidents and fatalities involving motor vehicles. This growing DUI issue has been a problem for several years now, hence the urgency of legislators to introduce these new laws and the best California DUI lawyers finding new winning legal defenses that work to get charges dropped in court.

Because of this ongoing problem, California is become proactive in educating its officers on the signs of DUID. The state is hoping the extra education will not only make its officers more able to recognize drivers under the influence of drugs, but also that public knowledge of these programs will serve as a deterrent to those individuals abusing their driving privileges.

As far as actual DUI law, the state remains one of the strictest in the country. Below you will find the new DUI laws California 2021 fines and penalties for all offenders:

1st Time Offenders

  • $1,400 to $2,600 in fines and penalties
  • Mandatory 4 days to 6 months jail sentence
  • Suspension of license from 30 days to 10 months
  • Some counties require the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

2nd Time Offenders

  • $1,800 to $2,800 in fines and penalties
  • Mandatory 10 days to 1-year jail sentence
  • 2-year suspension that can be reduced to one year
  • Mandatory IID installation

3rd Time Offenders

  • $1,800 to $18,000 in penalties and fines
  • Mandatory 3-year license suspension
  • Mandatory 120 day to 1-year jail sentence
  • Mandatory IID installation

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