What Are the New DUI Laws in California 2024?

What Are the New DUI Laws in California 2024?
Christopher J. McCann

Driving while under the influence in California comes with some pretty stringent consequences. In some places, driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol seems to be on the rise in some places and California is responding with its own severe penalties. Some drivers may be unaware of the laws, as they are constantly evolving. Fullerton DUI lawyers may be able to help clarify what the new laws are.

What Is Considered a DUI in California?

In California, if a person is driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or more, they are outside of the legal limit and can be charged with a DUI. Anyone under the age of 21 is legally not allowed to drive with a BAC of 0.01% or more. This is the same if you are on probation for a previous DUI. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, such as a mail truck or a cargo van, the legal limit is 0.04.

DUI also covers marijuana usage. Although it is now legal, when it comes to DUI, the law makes no distinction between illegal and legal drug use. Any drug or substance (including something such as cough syrup) that inhibits a person’s abilities while driving is considered to be under the influence.

California Implied Consent Law

California adheres to the implied consent law. This law states that drivers inherently agree to take an alcohol breath test if they are legally pulled over under suspicion of DUI. Some drivers are unaware of this law and believe that refusing the test will be better for their case or that it will incriminate them.

However, if the driver refuses the test, they will likely have their license immediately suspended for a year or more if it is their second or third offense. This suspension remains in effect regardless of the outcome of any future court case regarding the DUI.

California DUI Fines

Fines for DUI depend on a number of factors. They can range from $390 to thousands of dollars or more. Generally speaking, base fines are determined by whether it was the first, second, or third offense. Additional fines are added based on other factors. These can include

  • The DUI caused an accident
  • There was a minor in the car
  • The DUI caused property damage
  • The DUI caused the death of another person

California DUI License Suspension

When someone is charged with a DUI, they are likely to face license suspension as one of their penalties for at least a year. The suspension will be longer if it is their second or third offense. Depending on the circumstances and the driver’s eligibility, they may be able to apply for license reinstatement or a hardship license.

In the case of a license reinstatement, the driver will be required to complete certain requirements, such as DUI-related course completion and fines. A hardship license comes with restrictions. A person may be allowed to drive if their life requires them to do so, such as taking their children to school, driving to or from work, or driving to DUI-related requirements, such as an alcohol class.

California DUI Jail Time

For most first offenders, they will likely receive probation in place of jail time. Exceptions include severe circumstances such as the death of another person, driving excessively over the speed limit, and having a minor in the vehicle at the time of arrest. Generally speaking, for any second or higher offense, a person can anticipate spending between 96 hours and three years in jail.

Under 21 Laws in California

California has a no-tolerance stance when it comes to underage DUIs. The legal BAC limit for anyone under 21 is 0.01%, meaning they are not allowed to have any traceable amounts of alcohol in their system while driving.

Underaged drivers are not allowed to have any alcohol in the car with them unless there is someone 21 or older in the vehicle. Any alcohol must be sealed and unopened. If the container has been opened, it must be kept where there are no passengers, like the trunk.


Q: What Is the Penalty for DUI in California?

A: DUI penalties range in California. They are based on a number of factors. These include whether it was the first, second, or third (or more) offense and how the DUI affected other people, such as – did it cause an accident, was the accident severe, were other people injured, did anyone die as a result. The court will also consider how high the driver’s BAC was and how recklessly they were driving.

Q: What Is the New DUI Law in California?

A: Probably the newest law in effect for DUIs includes the interlock ignition device (IID). This device is required on cars for those convicted of a DUI. The driver will have to take a breath alcohol test any time they get in the car. If their BAC is over the legal limit, the car will not start. This law was originally only given to a few counties in California. Now, it is a statewide law.

Q: How Strict Is the DUI law in California?

A: DUI laws in California are pretty stringent. Even for a first DUI that resulted in no accident, the driver can still face extensive penalties. These include fines, probation for an average of three years, the use of an interlock ignition device on their car, and a suspended license. It can usually take a few years until a DUI driver can drive as before again.

Q: How Many Drinks Is .08 for a Man?

A: Generally speaking, it takes an average of four drinks to reach a 0.08% BAC. Each drink takes your BAC up 0.02%. Of course, these factors depend on the size of the man and the strength of the drinks. This number is average for a man of about 140 pounds. But for a man that is 220 pounds, the number of drinks needed to reach 0.08% can potentially increase to six instead of four.

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Contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC if you have been involved in a DUI. We can help you understand your rights and options today.

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