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California DUI Laws

California is one place you never want to drink and drive. Operating any vehicle under the influence of alcohol is pretty stupid however California is one state with very strict laws for anybody driving under the influence.

Any driver charged with driving under the influence and convicted of a California DUI will be subject to heavy penalties, fines and almost always much more expensive car insurance premiums. California DUI laws are regulated by the California Department of Motor Vehicles and currently (2010) California DUI law reads:

  • It is ILLEGAL to drive under the influence or combined influence of any drug or alcoholic beverage
  • It is ILLEGAL to drive with higher than an 0.08 percentage or more (by weight) of alcohol in your blood
  • It is ILLEGAL for any person who is addicted to the use of any kind of drug to drive a vehicle (excluding those persons who are actively participating in a drug treatment program approved by CA State law)
  • It is ILLEGAL for any person to operate a commercial vehicle with a 0.04 percentage or more of alcohol in their blood (by weight)

Operating a vehicle in violation of California DUI laws is not only a socially irresponsible action endangering the lives of others but also a very serious offense. We are not a licensed California DUI law firm nor a government website so these laws may not be entirely accurate currently and certainly do not contain all the DUI laws in California. Our goal is to cover how car insurance is affected by a California DUI conviction and you can be sure to see higher car insurance rates after any kind of DUI conviction … possibly even the denial of coverage by many car insurance companies.

How will a CA Car Insurance Company know I have a DUI charge?

Many times a car insurance company will never know you were charged with a DUI since this country is still based on “innocent until proven guilty” laws however once convicted its very likely any auto insurer will find out. Most people charged with a DUI conviction are subject to a mandatory filing of an SR-22 form and since the only people who can file this form are car insurance companies its quite logical they will get notification of your DUI conviction. Failure to file the SR-22 form could bring further charges. Obviously, the first step you want to do is contact a California DUI lawyer as soon as you are charged.

How long will a California DUI conviction stay on my DMV record?

Most DUI convictions will stay on your driving record for 10 years however with a good attorney (and some good luck) its rumored to have a DUI conviction fall off sooner.

What is an SR 22 form?

The SR-22 form is a standard form nationwide which provides proof of financial responsibility to the State. Basically the SR-22 form tells the state (with proof) that you have met the financial requirements for minimum car insurance liability laws as any other driver. This could be in the form of a car insurance policy, a CD deposited with the State or other options allowed by law.

Will a California DUI conviction increase my car insurance rates?

Let’s face it – anyone charged with a DUI conviction is a socially irresponsible driver and if you don’t expect your car insurance rates to increase after a DUI conviction maybe its time to go back to the school of “Mommy will always forgive you”. Driving under the influence is illegal and dangerous. You’re lucky you never killed anyone so yes; expect to pay more as when it comes to high-risk drivers you pretty much are the highest risk. Not only will you most likely face a 50% or higher increase in car insurance premiums but also be responsible for the SR-22 fling fee which can be $350 annually or more.

What if am I denied car insurance coverage?

California car insurance is mandatory for all drivers so the State also an obligation to make car insurance available for everyone. Many people with a DUI conviction find it impossible to get car insurance right away so if you are denied auto insurance though the voluntary market contact the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan which is a state program created to require car insurance companies to insure high risk drivers. View our complete DUI/DWI guide and high risk car insurance guide here.

Driving any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous. Not only does this expose others around you to harm but also puts your personal assets and liability at great risk. While car insurance rates will be higher for anyone convicted of a California DUI its also one of the lowest expenses that come from being charged with a DUI.

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