DOES CALIFORNIA HAVE THE TOUGHEST DUI LAWS?
Over the years, California DUI laws have become increasingly strict. As the state legislators have passed ever-stricter laws, the moves have reportedly pushed Arizona into the top spot for drunk-driving strictness. According to a report on WalletHub, California was the 21st toughest state for DUI laws. Arizona ranked as the most strict of all states in the country for its drunk driving laws, but California is above average with punishment.
Why California’s ranking is 21st and whether it is deserved
In California, the penalty for a first-time drunk-driving offense brings no minimum mandatory jail sentence, in the practical application of the law in court.
Second and third offenses in California
After the second conviction for drunk driving in Arizona, people may be ordered to serve a minimum 30 to 90-day term in jail. The exact amount sought depends on the facts involved in the DUI arrest. Fourth time DUI offenses in California are prosecuted as felony offenses, which places the state in that category’s top 10.
Fines and California’s rank
The fines for a first- or second-offense drunk driving conviction appear deceivingly low. The fines for the first offense can be $390 plus assessment taxes. These fine amounts are misleading, however. Under the law, California adds a number of additional surcharges, including for such things as lab testing, courtroom security, and alcohol education. When added together, the surcharges significantly increase the amount of the assessed minimum fines. Many Orange County DUI Defense Attorneys can help lower fines and fees wherever possible, including by asking the court to apply credits in your case.
Jail time for Orange County DUI cases and California’s rank
Under California law, there is no mandatory requirement for jail time for first time offenders. An accident with injury, or children in the car, or a hit and run, may cause jail time, but for most drivers facing an Orange County DUI, no jail time will be assessed in their case.
Impounding of vehicles and California’s rank
In other states, the police can impound vehicles if someone is arrested for DUI. California doesn’t have that requirement, but starting next year, in 2019, all DUI offenders will be required to have ignition interlock devices in their vehicle.
Orange County, and California, have made significant progress with increasing enforcement of drunk driving laws in the past few years. More “saturation patrols” are used in Orange County, and an increasing number of law enforcement officers are on the roads and highways, conducting more traffic stops than in the past. There are also simultaneous public campaigns that have been put into place, including the California AVOID program. The current emphasis is to convince people to get sober drivers when they want to go out, or make sure that they are aware of the dangers of going over their limit.
As a result of the increased enforcement of California’s laws and the public campaigns, arrests for drunk driving offenses have been falling. DUI violations may be involving more driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases, or may be stopping entirely due to services like Uber. At the same time, police keep funding and planning Orange County DUI Checkpoints, which in some cases have zero arrests for DUI.
Does California have the Toughest DUI Laws? Insurance premiums and California’s rank
One final factor in California’s rank for its treatment of drunk driving is the cost of insurance premiums in the state. In California, according to the Southern California AAA, those who are convicted of driving under the influence can find an increase in rates anywhere from 30 to 200 percent, depending on the circumstances and your insurer’s policies. In other words, a $100 per month bill could rise to anywhere from $130 to $300.
Even if California’s rank may not be completely deserved, the potential DUI penalties are still severe. People who are facing such charges may want to call what some have termed the best Orange County DUI Attorney for help. The firm of Miller & Associates can help – they have had excellent results in OC DUI cases.