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DUI Punishments While Driving Intoxicated

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DUI Punishments While Driving Intoxicated

Scenario: You’re at a friend’s party full of liquor, beer, and weed. Maybe you don’t smoke, but you’ll gladly take some shots with your friends. Hours pass by, you’re feeling warm and careless, and ready to pass out on your bed. You think to yourself, “I only live 5 minutes away, just a quick drive home and I’ll be good.” You stumble into your car, struggling to get your car key into the ignition. Your car finally starts, you hit the accelerator and start your journey home. Instead of an easy and fast drive home, you end up being followed by a police car. You’re panicking and thinking crap, this is my second DUI. The cop walks towards your car window.


“Excuse me, Sir, but do you know why I pulled you over?”

Defending yourself, you try acting calm and not drunk. Instead, you’re slurring your words and pointing fingers at the cop.

“Sir, you’ve had your hazards on this entire drive. And you’ve been crossing lanes and swerving. I’ve been trying to get you to pull over for 5 minutes now. Have you been drinking?”

You become mute, not sure how to respond. You say a stupid comeback to the cop and the cop asks you to step out and take a breathalyzer test. It’s a .9 and the cop arrests you.

DUI Doesn’t Have to be With Alcohol

A lot of people assume that DUI’s mean being under the influence of alcohol. This is not the case. DUI’s can mean being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It can be with illegal drugs, legal prescription drugs or legal over-the-counter drugs.

DUI’s are different state by state, but in California, here are the laws:

  • .08% or higher: If you are an adult of 21 years of age or older and hold a regular driver’s license, with no other restrictions.
  • .04% or higher: If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), regardless of what vehicle you were driving.
  • .04% or higher: If you are presently on DUI probation for a previous charge.
  • .01% or higher: If you are under the legal drinking age of 21 years old.

Each DUI Offense is Different

1. First Offense

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fees
  • 6-10 months of license suspension
  • 3-9 month DUI program

3. Third Offense

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fees
  • 3 years of license suspension
  • 30 month DUI program

2. Second Offense

  • 96 hours to 1 year in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fees
  • 2 years of license suspension
  • 18-30 months DUI program

Additional Fines

  • A DUI can also result in more fees if you injured someone or caused a felony while driving intoxicated. Injuring or causing a felony can also mean more jail time, longer DUI programs, and a longer license suspension.
Eve Every day, 28 people in the United States die in an alcohol-related vehicle crash.

If you think about that, that’s one person every 51 minutes. Many people assume that drunk driving only happens at night, but it can happen at any time throughout the day. There are people that wake up and start drinking or people who attend an afternoon BBQ and drink more than expected. It’s not just a nightly routine.

Drunk driving is extremely dangerous. Not only are you potentially hurting yourself, you’re potentially hurting everyone who’s on the road with you. Now more than ever, there are cab-related companies that can pick you up wherever you are. If you had too much to drink, or even questioning the fact if you can drive or not, please call someone.

The Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration

.02% Loss of judgment, relaxation, slight body warmth, and altered mood Decline in visual functions (rapid tracking of a moving target), decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)
.05% Exaggerated behavior, loss of small-muscle control, impaired judgment, feeling good, lowered alertness, release of inhibition Reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, reduced response to emergency driving situations
.08% Muscle coordination becomes poor(balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing), harder to detect danger, judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired Concentration, short-term memory loss, speed control, reduced information processing capability (signal detection, visual search), impaired perception
.10% Clear deterioration of reaction time and control, slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately
.15% Far less muscle control than normal, vomiting, major loss of balance Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing

How do you Avoid a DUI?

There are several ways to avoid getting a DUI.

  • Don’t drink
  • Get a DD (designated driver)
  • Drink less alcohol and more water
  • If you plan on drinking, don’t plan on driving
  • If your friend is drinking, don’t let them drive
  • Call the police if you see an impaired driver on the road


Drinking can be dangerous. Drugs can be dangerous. But when you combine it with driving, it can be extremely dangerous. You’re not only risking your life, you’re risking the lives of others. People die every day from car accidents. Don’t let your accident be the cause of someone’s death. When in doubt, Get an Uber, Lyft, call a cab, a friend, a family member, walk home, or stay the night.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol use, New Start can help. Call us at 855-737-7363 or fill out our benefits form here. We want to help you succeed in sobriety.

Posted in Addiction, Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Health and Wellness