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What Happens When You Get A DUI in Sacramento CA?

Posted by John Campanella | May 10, 2023 | 0 Comments

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense with severe consequences that can have a lasting impact on your life. If you find yourself facing a DUI charge in Sacramento CA, it is essential to understand the legal process and the potential ramifications. This article will guide you through what happens when you get a DUI in Sacramento CA and provide valuable information to help you navigate this challenging situation.


DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, refers to operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. It is a criminal offense that can lead to legal penalties, financial repercussions, and various other consequences. In Sacramento, DUI laws are strictly enforced to ensure public safety and deter individuals from driving while intoxicated.

Understanding DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

Driving under the influence means operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level that exceeds the legal limit. The legal BAC limit in Sacramento, as in most states, is 0.08%. If your BAC exceeds this limit, you can be arrested and charged with DUI.

Overview of the Consequences of DUI

Getting a DUI in Sacramento can have far-reaching consequences. Beyond the immediate arrest and legal proceedings, it can impact your driving privileges, financial stability, and even your professional and personal life. Understanding the potential consequences is crucial for making informed decisions and taking the necessary steps to mitigate the impact.

DUI Laws in Sacramento

To effectively

comply with DUI laws in Sacramento, it is essential to be familiar with the specific regulations and legal requirements. Here are some key aspects of DUI laws in Sacramento that you should be aware of:

Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits

The legal BAC limit for drivers aged 21 and above in Sacramento is 0.08%. If your BAC level exceeds this limit, you are considered legally impaired and can be charged with DUI. For drivers under the age of 21, a BAC level of 0.01% or higher can lead to DUI charges due to zero tolerance laws.

Penalties for DUI Offenses

If you are convicted of a DUI in Sacramento, you can expect to face a range of penalties. The severity of the penalties depends on various factors, including your BAC level, previous DUI convictions, and any aggravating circumstances. Common penalties may include fines, probation, mandatory DUI education programs, community service, and even jail time.

Repeat Offenses and Enhanced Penalties

Repeat DUI offenses in Sacramento carry more severe penalties. If you have prior DUI convictions within a certain time frame, your penalties will be enhanced. These may include longer license suspensions, increased fines, mandatory jail time, and the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle.

Immediate Consequences of DUI

When you get arrested for DUI in Sacramento, several immediate consequences follow. These consequences can impact your personal life, finances, and freedom. It's crucial to understand what you may face during this initial phase:

Arrest and Booking Process

After being pulled over and suspected of DUI, you will likely be arrested and taken into custody. The arresting officer will read you your rights, and you will be transported to the local police station or jail for booking. During this process, your personal information will be recorded, and you may be fingerprinted and photographed.

Suspension of Driver's License

Upon your DUI arrest in Sacramento, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will initiate an administrative license suspension. This is separate from the criminal proceedings and can lead to the suspension of your driver's license. It's important to request a DMV hearing within a specific timeframe to contest the suspension and retain your driving privileges.

Bail and Release Options

After the booking process, you may have the option to post bail or be released on your own recognizance. Bail allows you to secure your release by paying a specified amount of money, ensuring your appearance at future court hearings. Alternatively, you may be released on your own recognizance, which means you promise to appear in court as required without paying bail.

Legal Proceedings

Once you have been arrested for DUI in Sacramento, you will need to navigate the legal proceedings associated with your case. This includes attending court appearances, understanding your legal rights, and potentially seeking legal representation:

Court Appearances and Legal Representation

You will be required to appear in court for various proceedings related to your DUI case. It is highly recommended to hire an experienced DUI attorney to represent you throughout this process. A skilled attorney can guide you, present your defense, negotiate plea bargains if necessary, and ensure your rights are protected.

DUI Defense Strategies

A competent DUI attorney will explore various defense strategies tailored to the specifics of your case. These strategies may include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, questioning the accuracy of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results, or highlighting any procedural errors during your arrest. Your attorney will work diligently to build a strong defense and aim for the best possible outcome.

Plea Bargains and Alternative Sentencing

In some DUI cases, it may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. This involves pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced penalties. Additionally,

alternative sentencing options may be available for first-time offenders or individuals with mitigating circumstances. These alternatives could include attending alcohol education programs, undergoing substance abuse treatment, or participating in community service in lieu of or in addition to traditional penalties.

Financial Consequences

A DUI conviction in Sacramento can have significant financial implications. It is important to understand the potential costs involved to adequately prepare for the financial impact:

Fines, Fees, and Court Costs

Upon conviction, you will be required to pay fines, which can vary depending on the severity of the offense and any prior convictions. Additionally, there are court costs and administrative fees associated with the legal process that you will need to cover. These financial obligations can quickly accumulate, adding to the overall financial burden of a DUI.

Increased Insurance Premiums

One of the long-term financial consequences of a DUI conviction is the increase in auto insurance premiums. Insurance providers consider DUI convictions as high-risk factors, leading to higher rates or even the cancellation of your current policy. Finding affordable insurance coverage after a DUI can be challenging, and you may need to seek specialized insurance options.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Requirements

In some cases, as part of your DUI penalties or license reinstatement requirements, you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle. This device measures your BAC level before allowing the vehicle to start. The cost of installing and maintaining the IID falls on you, adding to the financial strain associated with a DUI conviction.

Impact on Driving Record

A DUI conviction in Sacramento will have a significant impact on your driving record. It is important to understand the consequences and potential long-term effects:

DUI Conviction on Driving Record

A DUI conviction will remain on your driving record for a considerable period, typically several years. This record is accessible to insurance companies, potential employers, and law enforcement agencies. It can affect future job prospects, auto insurance rates, and may be considered in future legal proceedings.

Points on the Driving Record

In addition to a DUI conviction, you may receive points on your driving record. Points are a way for the DMV to track and penalize traffic offenses. Accumulating too many points within a specific timeframe can result in a license suspension or revocation.

SR-22 Insurance Requirements

After a DUI conviction, you will likely be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate from your insurance company. An SR-22 is a form that proves you carry the minimum liability insurance coverage required by the state. Insurance providers often charge higher premiums for SR-22 coverage, further increasing the financial impact of a DUI.

Effects on Employment and Professional Licenses

A DUI conviction can have adverse effects on your employment and professional licenses. It is important to be aware of the potential consequences:

Job-Related Consequences

If you rely on driving as part of your job, such as a commercial driver or delivery driver, a DUI conviction can result in job loss or suspension. Additionally, certain professions have strict ethical standards and may consider a DUI conviction as grounds for disciplinary actions or termination.

Impact on Professional Licenses

Some professions require specific licenses or certifications, such as healthcare professionals, teachers, or attorneys. A DUI conviction can trigger disciplinary actions from the licensing board, which may impact your ability to practice your profession.

Background Checks and Future Employment Prospects

A DUI conviction will appear on your criminal record, which can be accessed during background checks conducted by potential employers. While disclosure requirements may vary, some employers may view a DUI conviction negatively and consider it when making hiring decisions.

DUI and Auto Insurance

After a DUI conviction, obtaining auto insurance at affordable rates can be challenging. Understanding the implications and options can help you navigate this aspect:

SR-22 Insurance and Its Implications

SR-22 insurance is a specific type of insurance coverage required for individuals with a DUI conviction. It serves as proof of financial responsibility and is typically mandated by the DMV before your driving privileges can be reinstated. SR-22 insurance comes with higher premiums due to the increased risk associated with a DUI conviction.

Insurance Policy Cancellations

In some cases, your current auto insurance provider may choose to cancel your policy or refuse to renew it upon learning about your DUI conviction. Insurance companies have their own guidelines and risk assessment criteria, and a DUI conviction often leads to being classified as a high-risk driver.

Finding Affordable Auto Insurance After a DUI

Finding affordable auto insurance after a DUI conviction can be challenging but not impossible. It is crucial to shop around and obtain quotes from multiple insurance providers specializing in high-risk coverage. Working with an independent insurance agent who has experience with DUI cases can be beneficial in finding the best coverage options at competitive rates.

DUI and Criminal Record

A DUI conviction in Sacramento can result in a criminal record with potential long-term consequences. It is important to understand the implications and explore options for record management:

Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI

In most cases, a first-time DUI offense in Sacramento is classified as a misdemeanor. However, certain circumstances, such as multiple DUI convictions within a certain period or causing injury or death while under the influence, can elevate the charge to a felony. Felony DUI convictions carry more severe penalties and have more significant implications for your criminal record.

Expungement and Record Sealing

In some situations, you may be eligible for expungement or record sealing of your DUI conviction. Expungement is the process of removing the conviction from your criminal record, while record sealing restricts access to the information. These options can help mitigate the long-term impact of a DUI conviction when certain criteria are met.

Long-Term Implications on Criminal Record

Even if a DUI conviction cannot be expunged or sealed, it is important to understand that it may have lasting effects on your criminal record. Future employers, landlords, and licensing boards may consider the conviction when making decisions that involve a background check. It is crucial to be honest and transparent about your past when required to disclose your criminal record.

DUI Education Programs and Treatment

As part of the DUI penalties in Sacramento, participation in DUI education programs and treatment may be required. These programs aim to educate individuals about the risks and consequences of impaired driving and address potential underlying substance abuse issues:

Mandatory DUI Education Classes

Upon a DUI conviction, you may be required to attend mandatory DUI education classes. These classes typically cover topics such as the effects of alcohol and drugs on driving abilities, the legal consequences of DUI, and strategies to prevent future offenses. Completion of these classes is often a condition for license reinstatement.

Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment

In cases where substance abuse issues are identified or suspected, a court may order a substance abuse assessment. This assessment evaluates the extent of the problem and determines whether treatment is necessary. If treatment is recommended, completion of a substance abuse program may be a requirement for fulfilling the terms of your DUI sentence.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Support Groups

Participating in support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can be beneficial for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. AA provides a supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences, seek guidance, and receive encouragement during their journey to sobriety.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Program

In Sacramento, the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program may be mandatory for individuals convicted of DUI. Here's what you need to know about the program:

IID Installation Requirements

If required by the court or DMV, you will need to have an IID installed in your vehicle

in order to regain your driving privileges. The IID is a breathalyzer device that is connected to the ignition system of your vehicle. Before starting the car, you will need to provide a breath sample into the device. If the breath sample indicates a BAC below the predetermined limit, the vehicle will start.

Cost and Maintenance

The cost of installing and maintaining an IID is the responsibility of the individual convicted of DUI. Installation costs vary depending on the provider, and there are monthly fees for calibration and monitoring. It is important to factor in these expenses when considering the financial impact of a DUI conviction.

IID Program Duration

The duration of the IID program in Sacramento depends on the specifics of your case and any prior DUI convictions. Typically, the program lasts for a set period, during which you must comply with the requirements and have the IID installed in any vehicle you drive. Failing to comply with the program can result in further penalties and may extend the duration of the program.


Getting a DUI in Sacramento has serious consequences that can affect various aspects of your life. From immediate consequences such as arrest and license suspension to long-term effects on your criminal record, employment, and finances, a DUI conviction demands careful navigation of legal proceedings and adherence to program requirements.

It is crucial to understand the specific DUI laws in Sacramento CA, seek legal representation, and explore defense strategies tailored to your case. Additionally, participating in DUI education programs, substance abuse treatment if necessary, and complying with IID requirements can contribute to your journey toward rehabilitation and recovery.

Remember, driving under the influence is not only illegal but also poses significant risks to your safety and the safety of others. It is essential to make responsible choices and prioritize the well-being of yourself and those around you.


  1. Is it possible to get my DUI charges dismissed?

While it is possible to have DUI charges dismissed under certain circumstances, it depends on the specifics of your case. Consulting with a knowledgeable DUI attorney is crucial in exploring potential defense strategies.

  1. How long will a DUI conviction stay on my record in Sacramento?

A DUI conviction can stay on your criminal record for several years, depending on the laws and regulations of your jurisdiction. It is important to check the specific regulations in Sacramento or consult with legal professionals for accurate information.

  1. Can I drive with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) after a DUI conviction?

Yes, if you are required to have an IID installed in your vehicle, you can drive with it during the designated period. However, it is essential to comply with all program requirements and adhere to any restrictions related to the device.

  1. Will a DUI conviction affect my auto insurance rates?

Yes, a DUI conviction is likely to result in increased auto insurance premiums. Insurance companies consider DUI convictions as high-risk factors, leading to higher rates or policy cancellations. Exploring specialized insurance options for high-risk drivers may be necessary.

  1. Can I expunge my DUI conviction from my criminal record in Sacramento?

Expungement eligibility and requirements vary by jurisdiction. Consulting with a legal professional experienced in DUI cases can help determine if expungement or record sealing is possible in your specific situation.

About the Author

John Campanella

I have been representing people accused of drunk driving since I began practicing in 1995. I am active member of the National College of DUI Defense, a member of California DUI Lawyers Association, I am certified by the National Highway and Traffic Association for the administration of Field Sobriety Tests. I regularly attend DUI continuing education of the Bar, have tried over 35 Jury Trials, hundreds of pretrial motions and over 1000 DMV hearings all relating to DUI cases.


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