California drivers accused of driving under the influence (DUI) offenses have to deal with numerous possible penalties. For example, there will be fines and possibly jail time or probation after a conviction or guilty plea. There are usually also licensing consequences.
The exact penalties you face will depend on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of your arrest, your driving record and whether you caused a collision. Those who injure others or cause property damage can expect more serious charges and penalties than someone pulled over because of erratic driving.
License suspension is a common penalty for DUI offenses and a practical deterrent to driving after drinking. Some drivers will not only lose their license but will also need to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles after a DUI arrest. When does California require an IID for someone to regain their driving privileges?
After a second or subsequent offense
First-time DUI offenses usually mean that drivers won't need to install an IID in their vehicle to regain their driving privileges. Only if a first-time DUI offense involves injury to others will an IID be required for a year.
Those accused of a second or subsequent DUI charge will usually have to install an IID. After a second DUI charge within 10 years, the state might require that you have an IID in your vehicle for two years after regaining your restricted driving privileges. For those with three DUI offenses, the IID requirement will increase to three years.
Not only will you be subject to embarrassment when you have to perform a breath test before starting your vehicle, but you will have to pay for the device's installation and maintenance or calibration. Those expenses, combined with your increased Insurance cost, may make driving prohibitively expensive for you.
A guilty plea may cost more than you think
Even people who firmly assert their own innocence sometimes plead guilty to DUI allegations in California because they think they cannot fight back. Realizing that you will lose your license, be subject to IID requirements and have higher insurance costs can give you a good reason to fight pending DUI charges.