It’s easy to think that it won’t happen to you, but getting caught driving under the influence, aka DUI in California can have severe and long-lasting consequences. From fines and jail time to license suspension and increased insurance rates— not to mention harm you can cause to others— being convicted of DUI in California can turn your life upside down.
Today, we’ll look at the consequences and costs of getting arrested for driving under the influence in California— and some strategies to avoid ending up in this situation in the first place.
The Consequences Of A DUI In California
Severe legal and personal consequences are in store for anyone charged with DUI/DWI in California. In fact, the penalties for a DUI conviction in California are some of the toughest in the country. If you’re found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face stiff fines, jail time, license suspension and other serious penalties.
One of the most significant consequences of a conviction for DUI is driver’s license suspension or revocation. This means that you won’t be able to drive legally until your license is reinstated, which can take as long as 3 years for a first offense.
Getting Multiple DUI Convictions in California
If you’re convicted of multiple DUIs in California within a 10 year period, you may also face mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle as well as increased jail time and fines.
On top of legal penalties, getting a DUI almost always impacts your personal life. Your job prospects usually suffer if employers see a criminal record on your background check. You may even have difficulty obtaining housing or loans due to poor credit scores resulting from missed payments related to court fees and fines.
It’s important to understand that getting a DUI in California is not just about facing legal consequences but also impacts all aspects of one’s life significantly.
The Cost Of A DUI In California
Getting a DUI in California can be an expensive mistake. The cost of a DUI conviction is not just limited to fines and fees, but also includes other expenses such as legal fees, higher car insurance rates, and the loss of income due to missed work or jail time.
First, fines for a first-time DUI offense in California can range from $390 to $1,000. This does not include additional costs such as court fees and attorney fees that could add up to thousands more.
Secondly, if convicted of a DUI in California, your car insurance rates will likely increase significantly. In some cases, drivers may even lose their insurance coverage altogether.
Thirdly, if you are required to attend alcohol education classes or treatment programs as part of your sentence this can also add up quickly. These programs typically require payment upfront before attending any classes.
There is also the potential loss of income due to missed work or jail time if convicted of a DUI in California. With all these additional expenses adding up on top of the initial fines and fees it’s no wonder why getting a DUI has such costly consequences.
How To Avoid Getting A DUI In California
Remember that DUI laws in California apply to more than just alcohol. If you are pulled over for a moving violation while under the influence of marijuana or any other controlled substance, you are in just as much jeopardy as if you were drunk. If you’re planning to go out and drink or use marijuana or anything else in California, at minimum, it’s important to plan ahead for your transportation.
Here are some tips on how to avoid getting a DUI:
- Designate a sober driver: Before heading out, assign someone in your group who will not be drinking or using any intoxicants as the designated driver.
- Use public transportation: If available, take advantage of buses or trains.
- Plan for an overnight stay: Consider booking accommodations nearby or staying with a friend if you know you’ll be in no shape to drive. The minor inconvenience could help avert trouble or tragedy.
- Utilize rideshare apps: apps like Uber and Lyft provide a convenient way to get around without worry. There are more than 200,000 Uber drivers in California, so no excuses.
- Monitor alcohol intake: Be aware of how much alcohol is being consumed throughout the night and pace yourself accordingly. Driving with a “buzz” is driving drunk. The best rule is that if you’ve had anything to drink at all, call a sober driver.
Taking Responsibility for Yourself
Remember that even one drink can impair your ability to drive safely. It’s always better to err on the side of safety and make arrangements beforehand rather than risking injury, legal consequences or tragedy due to driving under the influence.
And if you think you may have a problem with alcohol or drugs, treatment is very effective and easier to arrange than you imagine. Sometimes a DUI conviction is the wake up call someone needs to make a change for the better.
Think You May Have A Drinking Problem?
There’s no sense in sugarcoating it. Getting a DUI in California is a tremendous headache. From fines and jail time to the loss of your driver’s license, a DUI conviction will upend your life. But DUI’s don’t just happen. There’s plenty you can do to avoid one.
Always plan ahead before drinking or using anything intoxicating away from home. Make sure not to put yourself in a position where you or anyone else under the influence of drugs or alcohol needs to drive. Not even around the corner for a pack of smokes or some Taco Bell. It isn’t worth it.
Driving under the influence is not only illegal but also dangerous. You can seriously hurt not only yourself but others as well. If you’re not concerned about your own safety, consider that you could destroy the lives of innocent people with one selfish mistake.
The best way to avoid the consequences of a DUI conviction is to never compromise about alcohol or drug use and driving. It only takes one wrong decision could lead to significant legal and financial repercussions for years to come. Stay safe on the roads, never drink or use and drive. If you think you may have a drinking or drug problem, call Transformations Care at (424) 339-0965 and we can help you get sober so you’ll never have to worry about a designated driver again.