New 2012 Sentencing Guidelines For California DUI Offenses

Every year California adds new penalties for Drunk Driving convictions.  The following is a summary of the most common punishments set forth in the CA Judge’s Benchguide.  It is important to understand that these sentencing guidelines can be imposed, however, there are ways to avoid them in appropriate cases where an offense is reduced or a negotiated sentence is worked out with the District Attorney.  According to one Torrance DUI Attorney, there is a range of discretion that can be exercised in certain cases, particularly when the facts and evidence warrant a reduction in the substantive charge.

For a First Time Conviction of 23152 a or b, here are the sentence guidelines:

(1) Jail time: Court may impose minimum 48 hours to maximum 6 months (2) Fine: minimum $390 to maximum $1,000, plus assessments; and (3) 6-month license suspension, and immediate surrender of license to court. 10-month license suspension if 9-month treatment program is ordered. DMV will not reinstate license until the defendant provides proof of financial responsibility and proof of completion of 3-month or 9-month licensed driving-under-the-influence program approved by the state of California.

In all DUI cases: (1) Court may disallow issuance of a restricted driver’s license if it determines that defendant would present a traffic safety or public safety risk.

(2) Maximum $50 alcohol abuse education and prevention penalty assessment unless defendant is unable to pay

(3) If defendant’s blood-alcohol concentration was less than .20%, by weight, court must order participation in a licensed alcohol or other drug education and counseling program for minimum of 3 months;

(4) If defendant’s blood-alcohol concentration was .20% or more, by weight, or defendant refused to take a chemical test, court must order participation in a licensed alcohol or other drug education and counseling program for minimum of 9 months.

(5) Additional mandatory probation terms and conditions under Veh C §23600(b)(1)–(4): • Probation for minimum 3 years and maximum 5 years; • Defendant may not drive vehicle with measurable amount of alcohol in blood, and court must revoke probation under Veh C §23600(d) if blood alcohol of over .04%; • If arrested for DUI, defendant may not refuse to submit to blood alcohol test; and • Defendant may not commit a criminal offense.

Additional DUI penalties and enhancements: (1) If chemical test was refused, license restriction may not be imposed instead of minimum 48 hours’ imprisonment.

(2) If alcohol concentration of .15% or more or chemical test was refused, court must consider as a special factor in determining additional or enhanced terms and conditions of probation. (In Torrance Court, for example, it is common for the Court to require a 6 month DUI school for offenders between .15 and .19 BAC)

(3) If vehicle involved required class A or class B driver’s license, court must order the DMV to suspend license for six months.

(4) If minor passenger under 14 years was in vehicle, enhanced mandatory imprisonment of 48 continuous hours unless defendant also convicted of Pen C §273a. (PC273a is a serious criminal offense of child abuse/endangerment.  Should a person be facing this charge it is imperative to fight the case differently than a standard DUI, according to one Torrance Criminal Attorney, the long-term consequences of a PC273a conviction can be devastating.)

(5) If defendant is under age 21, additional 1-year license suspension or delay and immediate surrender of license to court.

(6) If defendant drives 30 mph over limit on freeway (20 mph for other roads) in manner prohibited by Veh C §23103 during commission of DUI, additional and consecutive term of 60 days, except in unusual cases with specification of reasons on record;

(7) Court must order defendant to attend and complete county alcohol and drug problem assessment program if defendant has a prior conviction of Vehicle Code §23152 or §23153 that occurred more than 10 years ago, or has been previously convicted of Pen C §647(f) (public intoxication). If assessment recommends additional treatment, the court may order the defendant to enroll in 18-month or 30-month driving-under-the-influence program in lieu of the 3-month or 9-month DUI program described.

(8) Court may order vehicle impounded for 1–30 days if defendant is registered owner.

(9) Court may require installation of a functioning, certified ignition interlock device on any vehicle owned or operated by defendant and prohibit defendant from operating any vehicle unless equipped with such device.

Moreover, The counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare are participants in a pilot program in which the DMV requires a defendant convicted of DUI, 23152 or 23153 to install and maintain an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle owned or operated by the defendant for a specified term as a condition of being issued a restricted driver’s license, being issued a driver’s license, or having the privilege to operate a vehicle reinstated.  In the nonpilot counties, repeat DUI offenders may apply for and receive a restricted license from the DMV if they install an IID and comply with other requirements.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV.
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15 Responses to New 2012 Sentencing Guidelines For California DUI Offenses

  1. Lisa says:

    So my boyfriend got his first dui he was barley over cause he stopped drinkin maybe 3hrs before he got pulled over but he has no license hes currently employed so therefore my question is will he get jail time?

    • Robyn Moore says:

      Wow drunk driving AND No license My daughter was killed by a drunk driver adn a friends so n was killed by a UNlicensed driver ( not drunk) sad you are worried about jail time rather tahn the fact he could have killed someone or a whole family. It’s obvious he has no regard for rules let alone respect for the law. With over crowding he wont do much time or system is a JOKE the UNLICENSED driver that killed my friends son did 45 days!!!

  2. Since it is your boyfriend’s 3rd DUI the Law does require jail time if he is convicted. However, in some cases it may be possible to have the charge reduced to avoid the mandatory incarceration, also, it is possible to have the time served in a rehab facility or he can request what is called the 30/30 program which means he only does 30 days in jail and does a 30 month DUI school.

  3. chris says:

    I got pulled over for being on a cell phone , asked were i was coming from , told them a bbq and swiming had my last beer 2hrs ago ,, did 4 field test and then was asked to submit a breathe test and did , 1st was a .084 2nd was a .088 went to chp station and with in 1hr took another breathe test there , 1st was a .06 and the 2nd .06 , I got pulled over at 10:24pm and was released between 11:50pm & 12:10am less then one hour and forty five minutes , the officer said she would not be surprised if the charges were droped , my ticket read misdumeanor dui ? Was my first time and car was not towed , offcer said the test at the station is the one that they go by ? Can this be fought ?

  4. Yes Chris, this is a good case to fight. The fact that your breath test was .08 alone is reason to not roll over on the DUI, most breath machines have a margin of error of.02 and that would put you at a .06 BAC. In addition, the .08 results were taken from a PAS device which are generally not admissible in Court as a person’s true blood alcohol level. Good luck and I would not be surprised at all if the charges are dropped by the District Attorney.

    • chris says:

      Thats awsome and I thank you so very much for ur time and ur quik responce back to me , so very grateful there are people like you God bless !

  5. Richie says:

    Hello. This is my second d u I within an 7 year period. I am currently on probation for a non related case. I spoke with my p o and he has chosen not to violate me . Anything u can tell me about my case ?? Thanks

  6. Nicole says:

    Hello,
    My 24 year-old son was arrested for a DUI while on probation for a previous DUI. This is his 4th and has already been to prison for the last one. He is now in a country jail awaiting a preliminary hearing and the D.A wants to send him to prison again for two years. He does not have a criminal past and only has DUI’s. He needs help and I don’t know what to do. I do not think it is fair that he end up in prison again for a DUI where there was no accident or injuries, he was just stopped for a supposedly broken break light.
    We have hired lawyers in the past, but none have done more than what a public defender would be able to do. Are there any valid and competent lawyers anywhere?

    • Robyn Moore says:

      So you don’t think he should go to jail or prison UNTIL he kills someone or disables them for life?? WOW Yes h eneeds help he needs to wake up and see he could KILL someone. My daughter is dead b ecause of a selfish drunk driver she is nevr co ming back.. yet teh drunk who killed her gets visits, calls, letters, even access to facebook and he will be out in maybe 2 years for killing my child !!

  7. Mars says:

    I got my first dui and my BAC .17 and .16 i want to know what is my enhancements penalties?

  8. tommy says:

    i got pulled over for dui for the first time ever.
    I’ve been reading the suspension is only for 4 months on certain websites, others state 6 months…
    which is true?
    and the sr22 insurance? is that a necessary bond to purchase?

  9. Nita says:

    Hello TorranceAttorney,
    Is it possible to argue under 1203.3 early probation termination if 3 years probation was given and 2 years and 6 mos has been served.

    • Nita says:

      I’m sorry, above I’m referring to a first time conviction for 23152 b where the mandatory probation period is 3 years.

  10. dui attorneys Huntington Park says:

    That is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing
    this one. A must read article!

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