California, like many states, has a series of escalating penalties for those who become repeat DUI offenders. Under the current law, if a person convicted of DUI is charged and convicted within 10 years of the previous DUI, they face escalating penalties. An example of this would be that a first time DUI might only face a few days in jail. For a second DUI offense, there is a minimum of a 10-day jail sentence, and up to a maximum of one year. The financial penalties escalate as well. For example, a second DUI conviction has fines ranging from $1800 to $4000. The maximum fines for a third DUI charge has fines of up to $18,000. A proposed new law may make repeat DUI penalties even harsher, as CBS Local Sacramento reports.
Under a proposed new California law, repeat DUI offenders could face harsher penalties, including felony charges and a longer impoundment term for their vehicle.
Assembly Bill 401 would make changes to the current penalties under the law, which states:
“If a person is convicted of driving under the influence and the offense occurred within 10 years after 3 or more other violations for driving under the influence that resulted in specified convictions, that person has committed an offense punishable as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and the person shall have their privilege to drive revoked.”
Under the new proposed law, instead of the penalties outlined above, a fifth DUI would be a mandatory felony as long as the most recent DUI conviction occurred within 10 years of the current charge.
The jail time for the offense would be no fewer than 180 days. The fine would range from $380 to $1,000.
The offender’s car would also be impounded at the owner’s expense if there is a past offense within 10 years. The first repeat violation would result in an impoundment of 30-90 days; a second offense would mean an impoundment of 90-180 days.
Currently, the law only requires impoundment of the vehicle if there is a previous conviction within 5 years.