New California DUI Sentencing Laws

California passed several new DUI sentencing laws that began affecting those convicted of drunk-driving on or after September 20, 2005.  The new legislation imposed new rules that regulate sentencing of those convicted of California driving under the influence.  This new legislation affects everything from driver’s license suspension to conditions on probation.

Some of the changes now include restricted licenses for first-time DUI offenders and ignition interlock devices that report whether or not you have alcohol on your breath.  Another new device that can now be imposed by judges because of the new legislation is the SCRAM device.   SCRAM is a GPS device and alcohol detector that DUI offenders must wear around their ankles that reports not only their location, but also their blood-alcohol content (BAC) level by measuring their sweat.  Previously, courts used a benchmark of .20% BAC in order to determine how long a  California DUI defendant would need to attend an alcohol-education program, the new distinction now is .15% BAC.  SCRAM DUI  

Another new change affects California Drunk Driving offenders who decline probation.  Under the new legislation, first-time DUI offenders who decline probation receive a mandatory jail sentence of 96 hours, of which 48 hours must be served continuously, with the remaining 48 hours to be served within a six-month period.  While there isn’t a mandatory jail sentence requirement for  California Drunk Drivers who accept probation, a judge can still choose to send them to jail anywhere from 48 hours on up to 6 months (as an additional condition of probation).   Second-time California DUI offenders (within 10 years) who accept probation face 10 days to 1 year in jail, but second-time DUI offenders who decline probation face a minimum jail sentence of 90 days and a maximum of one year.  Note that CA DUI offenders who are sentenced to one year may be able to serve their sentences in a work-release program or other alternative sentencing program.