Jail Time For California DUI Convictions

Most people are aware that a California DUI offense can have various negative consequences including

  • Driver's license suspension;
  • Fines;
  • Mandatory alcohol program;

However, the possibility of serving jail time is likely the scariest consequence of a DUI conviction or DUI probation violation.
It is not always clear when a DUI can land you in jail.

In order to help you better understand what circumstances under which a DUI conviction or DUI probation violation can land you in jail and jail sentences for different DUI offenses, our California criminal defense lawyers1 will explain the following

1. What Alcohol Related Offenses Can Result in
Jail Time?
2. What are the Possible Jail Sentences for DUI or Alcohol Related Offense?

2.1. First-time misdemeanor DUI offense

2.2. Second-time misdemeanor DUI offense

2.3. Third-time misdemeanor DUI offense

2.4. Fourth-time DUI offense

2.5. DUI of Drugs

2.6. DUI with Injury

2.7. Vehicular Manslaughter under Penal Code 191.5 (b)

2.8. Gross Vehicular Manslaughter under
Penal Code 191.5 (a)

2.9. DUI Second Degree Murder

2.10. DUI Plea Bargain Offenses

1. What Alcohol Related Offenses Can Result in
Jail Time?

Any sort of DUI offense conviction, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, may result in a jail sentence.  These include

In addition, even lower offenses as part of DUI plea bargains may result in the imposition of a jail sentence.  These offenses include

2. What are the Possible Jail Sentences for DUI or Alcohol Related Offenses?

DUI's are considered "priorable" offenses.  This means the punishment may increase with each successive drunk driving conviction that occurs within a 10-year window.2

Thus, the potential jail time imposed for DUI conviction increases with each successive DUI conviction.

Below are the possible jail sentences for certain DUI and alcohol related offenses in California.

However it is important to note that, certain aggravating factors may increase the DUI jail sentences listed below.  These include

  • having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 % or higher;
  • refusing to submit to a chemical test;
  • causing an accident;
  • driving at excessive speeds;
  • having children under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time of the offense; and/or
  • being under the age of 21 at the time of the offense

2.1 First-time misdemeanor DUI offense

If you are convicted of a first-time misdemeanor DUI offense you face up to a maximum of 6 months in county jail.3

When no aggravating factors exist, the Los Angeles City Attorney commonly offers plea deals to first-time misdemeanor DUI offenders that do not involve jail time.

However, different counties may set different sentencing standards for a DUI conviction. For example, Ventura county DUI penalties are known to be particularly harsh.

A first-time misdemeanor DUI conviction carries a mandatory minimum of 48 hours jail time (or 5 days work release) in Ventura County.

A first-time DUI conviction in Riverside County usually triggers between 6 and 10 days jail time.

Even if you are sentenced to serve jail time for your DUI conviction, it is possible to receive credit for time already served.

Let's take a look at an example:

Example:  Joan is arrested for a DUI at 11:00 pm on a Friday night and taken into jail.  She is released at 6:00 am the next morning.

Joan subsequently is convicted of her first misdemeanor DUI offense and is sentenced to serve the mandatory minimum 48 hours in county jail.  It is possible the court may allow Joan to credit the 2 calendar days (Friday and Saturday) she was held in custody to satisfy her jail sentence.

2.2 Second-time misdemeanor DUI offense

A conviction of a second-time misdemeanor DUI offense within 10 years results in a minimum 96 hour sentence in county jail to a maximum of one year in county jail.4

If a person is sentenced to the minimum of 96 hours in county jail, he or she may serve the sentence in two 48-hour increments.5 These two increments can also be served non-consecutively.6

Many counties, as a matter of policy, impose substantially more jail time than the statutory minimum. San Bernardino County, for example, generally imposes 45 days of San Bernardino County Jail for a second DUI. However, offenders are usually allowed to convert this to a work release rather than serving straight jail time.

2.3 Third-time misdemeanor DUI offense

A person convicted of a third misdemeanor DUI offense within 10 years generally faces a minimum of 120 days and a maximum of one year in county jail.7

However, as discussed above, sentencing may differ from county to county.  Some counties in California require a 210 day minimum sentence in county jail for a third DUI offense within 10 years.

2.4 Fourth-time DUI offense

A fourth DUI or wet reckless offense within 10 years is considered a wobbler in California law, and generally filed as a felony. Thus, you will likely face much harsher penalties. A fourth conviction in 10 years will likely result in a minimum sentence of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in either California state prison or county jail.8

The specific duration of the sentence will depend on the circumstances of your particular conviction and criminal history.

2.5 DUI of Drugs

Jail sentences for convictions of DUI of drugs are usually the same as those for alcohol related DUI.  Much like alcohol related DUI, the penalties can increase tremendously if it is your second, third, or even fourth DUI of drugs offense.

The sentence for a first time DUI of drugs is a maximum of six months.  However, as with alcohol related DUI's, little to no for first time offenders without the presence of aggravating circumstances.9

2.6 DUI with Injury

If you injure another person while driving under the influence, you may face additional jail time.  A DUI causing injury is considered a wobbler.  This means it may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the arrest and your criminal history.

A first time misdemeanor DUI with injury offense will result in a minimum county jail sentence of 5 days and a maximum sentence of one year.10

If convicted of a first time felony DUI with injury offense, you face sixteen months to ten years in California State Prison 11 and an additional and consecutive one to six year prison sentence, depending on (1) how many people you injured 12, and (2) how seriously they were injured.13

2.7 Vehicular Manslaughter under Penal Code 191.5 (b)

If you commit a DUI at the time another person is killed in an accident, that the prosecutor believes was your fault, you may be charged with California Penal Code 191.5 (b).14 Penal Code 191.5 (b) is also wobbler offense.

If convicted of a misdemeanor Penal Code 191.5 (b) you face up to a year in county jail.15

If convicted of felony Penal code 191.5 (b) you face either 16 months, 2 years, or 4 years in state prison, depending on the facts of your case and any prior DUI convictions.16

2.8 Gross Vehicular Manslaughter under Penal Code 191.5 (a)

If you commit a DUI at the time another person is killed in an accident, and the prosecutor believes you displayed gross negligence, you may be charged with California Penal Code 191.5 (a).17 Penal Code 191.5 (a) is felony.18

If convicted, you face

  • 4, 6, or 10 years in California state prison; or
  • Fifteen years to life in California state prison if you have a prior Penal Code 191.5 conviction or 2 more prior DUI convictions.19

If there are any surviving victims who suffered great bodily injury, you face an additional and consecutive 3 to 6 year state prison sentence.20

2.9  DUI Second Degree Murder

You can be prosecuted for second-degree murder in some cases where you committed a DUI and got into an accident that killed another person.

California DUI second-degree murder or "Watson Murder" occurs when a DUI is committed, an accident occurs that kills another person, and the person committing the DUI displays a 'conscious disregard for human life.' 21

This is the most serious DUI related offense, and thus carries the possibility of a long jail sentence. If convicted of DUI second-degree murder you face 15 years to life in state prison.

2.10 DUI Plea Bargain Offenses

If you are convicted of any of the following DUI plea bargain offenses, you face a maximum 90 days in county jail.

  • California wet reckless;
  • California dry reckless; and
  • California exhibition of speed

In reality, however, if the prosecutor agrees to reduce a DUI to one of these lesser offenses, it's likely that no actual jail time will be imposed.

Contact Us with Any Questions
Img-call-help

If you or loved one is charged with a DUI and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.


1Our California criminal defense attorneys have local Los Angeles law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier. We have additional law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities. Please contact us at Shouse Law Group with any questions.

2California Vehicle Code 23622 -- Violations of § 23152 or § 23153 within 10 years of specified offenses; effect upon sentencing. ("(a) In any case charging a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 and the offense occurred within 10 years of one or more separate violations of Section 23103, as specified in Section 23103.5, that occurred on or after January 1, 1982, 23152, or 23153, or any combination thereof, that resulted in convictions, the court shall not strike any separate [DUI] conviction of those offenses for purposes of sentencing in order to avoid imposing, as part of the sentence or term of probation, the minimum time of imprisonment and the minimum fine, as provided in this chapter, or for purposes of avoiding revocation, suspension, or restriction of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle, as provided in this code. (b) In any case charging a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, the court shall obtain a copy of the driving record of the person charged from the [California] Department of Motor Vehicles and may obtain any records from the Department of Justice or any other source to determine if one or more separate violations of Section 23103, as specified in Section 23103.5, that occurred on or after January 1, 1982, 23152, or 23153, or any combination thereof, that resulted in convictions, have occurred within 10 years of the charged offense. The court may obtain, and accept as rebuttable evidence, a printout from the Department of Motor Vehicles of the driving record of the person charged, maintained by electronic and storage media pursuant to Section 1801 for the purpose of proving those separate violations. (c) If any separate convictions of violations of Section 23152 or 23153 are reported to have occurred within 10 years of the charged offense, the court shall notify each court where any of the separate convictions occurred for the purpose of enforcing terms and conditions of probation pursuant to Section 23602.")

3California Vehicle Code 23536 -- DUI penalties. Conviction of first violation of § 23152; punishment. ("(a) If a person is convicted of a first violation of Vehicle Code 23152, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 96 hours, at least 48 hours of which shall be continuous, nor more than six months, and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390), nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000)...(c) The person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended by the department under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver's license to the court in accordance with Section 13550.")

See also California Vehicle Code 23538 -- DUI sentencing. Conditions of probation for first time offense. ("(a)(1) If the court grants probation to person punished under Section 23536, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court...may [italics added] also impose, as a condition of probation, that the person be confined in a county jail for at least 48 hours, but not more than six months. (b) In any county where the board of supervisors has approved, and the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs has licensed, a program or programs described in Section 11837.3 of the Health and Safety Code, the court shall also impose as a condition of probation that the driver shall enroll and participate in, and successfully complete a driving-under-the-influence program, licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, in the driver's county of residence or employment, as designated by the court.")

See also California Vehicle Code 23600 -- DUI penalties. Conviction and pronouncement of sentence for violations of Vehicle Code 23152 or 23153; probation; minimum confinement or fine; violation of probation. ("(b) If any person is convicted of a violation of VC 23152 or VC 23153 and is granted probation, the terms and conditions of probation shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) Notwithstanding Section 1203a of the Penal Code, a period of probation not less than three nor more than five years.")

4California Vehicle Code 23540 -- DUI punishments. Second offense; punishment. ("(a) If a person is convicted of a violation of Vehicle Code 23152 and the offense occurred within 10 years of a separate violation of Vehicle Code 23103, as specified in VC 23103.5, VC 23152, or VC 23153, that resulted in a conviction, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). The person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended by the department pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver's license to the court in accordance with Section 13550.

See also California Vehicle Code 23542 -- DUI penalties. Conditions of probation for second offense. ("(a)(1) If the court grants probation to a person punished under Section 23540, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court shall impose as conditions of probation that the person be confined in county jail and fined under either of the following: (A) For at least 10 days, but not more than one year, and pay a fine of at least three hundred ninety dollars ($390), but not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). (B) For at least 96 hours, but not more than one year, and pay a fine of at least three hundred ninety dollars ($390), but not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). A sentence of 96 hours of confinement shall be served in two increments consisting of a continuous 48 hours each. The two 48-hour increments may be served non-consecutively...(b) In addition to the conditions specified in subdivision (a), the court shall require the person to do either of the following: (1) Enroll and participate, for at least 18 months subsequent to the date of the underlying violation and in a manner satisfactory to the court, in a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, as designated by the court...(2) Enroll and participate, for at least 30 months subsequent to the date of the underlying violation and in a manner satisfactory to the court, in a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code. ")

5Vehicle Code 23542 -- DUI penalties. Conditions of probation for second offense. ("(a)(1) If the court grants probation to a person punished under Section 23540, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court shall impose as conditions of probation that the person be confined in county jail and fined under either of the following: (A) For at least 10 days, but not more than one year, and pay a fine of at least three hundred ninety dollars ($390), but not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). (B) For at least 96 hours, but not more than one year, and pay a fine of at least three hundred ninety dollars ($390), but not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). A sentence of 96 hours of confinement shall be served in two increments consisting of a continuous 48 hours each. The two 48-hour increments may be served non-consecutively...(b) In addition to the conditions specified in subdivision (a), the court shall require the person to do either of the following: (1) Enroll and participate, for at least 18 months subsequent to the date of the underlying violation and in a manner satisfactory to the court, in a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, as designated by the court...(2) Enroll and participate, for at least 30 months subsequent to the date of the underlying violation and in a manner satisfactory to the court, in a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code. ")

6Ibid.

7California Vehicle Code 23546 -- DUI punishments. Third offense; punishment. ("(a) If a person is convicted of a violation of Vehicle Code 23152 and the offense occurred within 10 years of two separate violations of Section 23103 VC, as specified in Section 23103.5 VC, 23152 VC, or 23153 VC, or any combination thereof, that resulted in convictions, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 120 days nor more than one year and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). The person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles as required in paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352. The court shall require the person to surrender his or her driver's license to the court in accordance with Section 13550. (b) A person convicted of a violation of VC 23152 punishable under this section shall be designated as a habitual traffic offender for a period of three years, subsequent to the conviction. The person shall be advised of this designation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 13350.

See also California Vehicle Code 23548 -- DUI penalties. Conditions of probation for third offense. ("(a)(1) If the court grants probation to any person punished under Section 23546, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court shall impose as conditions of probation that the person be confined in the county jail for at least 120 days but not more than one year and pay a fine of at least three hundred ninety dollars ($390) but not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000)...(b) In addition to subdivision (a), if the court grants probation to any person punished under Section 23546, the court may order as a condition of probation that the person participate, for at least 30 months subsequent to the underlying conviction and in a manner satisfactory to the court, in a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code.")

8California Vehicle Code 23550 -- DUI penalties. Multiple offenses; punishment. ("(a) If a person is convicted of a violation of Vehicle Code 23152 and the offense occurred within 10 years of three or more separate violations of Section 23103 vc, as specified in Section 23103.5 vc, or Section 23152 vc or 23153 vc, or any combination thereof, that resulted in convictions, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not less than 180 days nor more than one year, and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1, 000). The person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to paragraph (7) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver's license to the court in accordance with Section 13550. (b) A person convicted of a violation of Section 23152 vc punishable under this section shall be designated as a habitual traffic offender for a period of three years, subsequent to the conviction. The person shall be advised of this designation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 13350.")

See also California Vehicle Code 23552 -- DUI sentencing. Additional conditions of probation for multiple offenders. ("(b) In addition to subdivision (a), if the court grants probation to any person punished under Section 23550, the court may order as a condition of probation that the person participate, for at least 30 months subsequent to the underlying conviction and in a manner satisfactory to the court, in a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code... (c) In addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and subdivision (a), if the court grants probation to any person punished under Section 23550 who has not previously completed a treatment program pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 23542 or paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 23562, and unless the person is ordered to participate in, and complete, a program under subdivision (b), the court shall impose as a condition of probation that the person, subsequent to the date of the current violation, enroll in and participate, for at least 18 months and in a manner satisfactory to the court, in a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, as designated by the court.")

9Vehicle Code 23536 VC -- Conviction of first violation of § 23152; punishment. ("(a) If a person is convicted of a first violation of Section 23152, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 96 hours, at least 48 hours of which shall be continuous, nor more than six months, and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390), nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). (b) The court shall order that a person punished under subdivision (a), who is to be punished by imprisonment in the county jail, be imprisoned on days other than days of regular employment of the person, as determined by the court. If the court determines that 48 hours of continuous imprisonment would interfere with the person's work schedule, the court shall allow the person to serve the imprisonment whenever the person is normally scheduled for time off from work. The court may make this determination based upon a representation from the defendant's attorney or upon an affidavit or testimony from the defendant. (c) The person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended by the department under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver's license to the court in accordance with Section 13550. (d) Whenever, when considering the circumstances taken as a whole, the court determines that the person punished under this section would present a traffic safety or public safety risk if authorized to operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension imposed under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1, the court may disallow the issuance of a restricted driver's license required under Section 13352.4.")

See also Vehicle Code 23538 VC -- Conditions of probation for first time offense. ("(a)(1) If the court grants probation to person punished under Section 23536, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court shall impose as a condition of probation that the person pay a fine of at least three hundred ninety dollars ($390), but not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). The court may also impose, as a condition of probation, that the person be confined in a county jail for at least 48 hours, but not more than six months. (2) The person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended by the department under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver's license to the court in accordance with Section 13550. (3) Whenever, when considering the circumstances taken as a whole, the court determines that the person punished under this section would present a traffic safety or public safety risk if authorized to operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension imposed under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1, the court may disallow the issuance of a restricted driver's license required under Section 13352.4. (b) In any county where the board of supervisors has approved, and the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs has licensed, a program or programs described in Section 11837.3 of the Health and Safety Code, the court shall also impose as a condition of probation that the driver shall enroll and participate in, and successfully complete a driving-under-the-influence program, licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, in the driver's county of residence or employment, as designated by the court. For the purposes of this subdivision, enrollment in, participation in, and completion of an approved program shall be subsequent to the date of the current violation. Credit may not be given for any program activities completed prior to the date of the current violation. (1) The court shall refer a first offender whose blood-alcohol concentration was less than 0.20 percent, by weight, to participate for at least three months or longer, as ordered by the court, in a licensed program that consists of at least 30 hours of program activities, including those education, group counseling, and individual interview sessions described in Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 11836) of Part 2 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code. (2) The court shall refer a first offender whose blood-alcohol concentration was 0.20 percent or more, by weight, or who refused to take a chemical test, to participate for at least nine months or longer, as ordered by the court, in a licensed program that consists of at least 60 hours of program activities, including those education, group counseling, and individual interview sessions described in Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 11836) of Part 2 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code. (3) The court shall advise the person at the time of sentencing that the driving privilege shall not be restored until proof satisfactory to the department of successful completion of a driving-under-the-influence program of the length required under this code that is licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code has been received in the department's headquarters. (c)(1) The court shall revoke the person's probation pursuant to Section 23602, except for good cause shown, for the failure to enroll in, participate in, or complete a program specified in subdivision (b). (2) The court, in establishing reporting requirements, shall consult with the county alcohol program administrator. The county alcohol program administrator shall coordinate the reporting requirements with the department and with the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. That reporting shall ensure that all persons who, after being ordered to attend and complete a program, may be identified for either (A) failure to enroll in, or failure to successfully complete, the program, or (B) successful completion of the program as ordered.")

10 California Vehicle Code 23556 -- DUI sentencing. Conditions of probation for first offense. ("(a)(1) If the court grants probation to any person punished under Section 23554, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court shall impose as a condition of probation that the person be confined in the county jail for at least five days but not more than one year...")

11California Vehicle Code 23566 -- DUI punishments. Three or more offenses; punishment. ("(a) If a person is convicted of a violation of Vehicle Code 23153 and the offense occurred within 10 years of two or more separate violations of Section 23103, as specified in Section 23103.5, or Section 23152 or 23153, or any combination of these violations, that resulted in convictions, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of two, three, or four years... (c) If a person is convicted under subdivision (b), and the offense for which the person is convicted occurred within 10 years of four or more separate violations of Section 23103 vc, as specified in Section 23103.5 vc, or Section 23152 vc or 23153 vc, or any combination of these violations, that resulted in convictions, that person shall, in addition and consecutive to the sentences imposed under subdivision (b), be punished by an additional term of imprisonment in the state prison for three years.")

12California Vehicle Code 23558 -- Causing bodily injury or death to more than one victim while driving in violation of specified sections; felony convictions; enhancement of punishment. ("A person who proximately causes bodily injury or death to more than one victim in any one instance of driving in violation of Vehicle Code 23153 of this code...receives an enhancement of one year in the state prison for each additional injured victim. The enhanced sentence provided for in this section shall not be imposed unless the fact of the bodily injury to each additional victim is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted or found to be true by the trier of fact. The maximum number of one year enhancements that may be imposed pursuant to this section is three.")

13California Penal Code 12022.7 -- Terms of imprisonment for persons inflicting great bodily injury while committing or attempting felony. ("(a) Any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for three years.")

14Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instruction -- CALCRIM 591 -- Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. ("To prove that the defendant is guilty of vehicular manslaughter with ordinary negligence while intoxicated [othwise referred to as Penal Code 191.5(b) California's "vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated" law], the People must prove that: [1] The defendant (drove under the influence of (an alcoholic beverage/[or] a drug) [or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug]/drove while having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher/ drove under the influence of (an alcoholic beverage/ [or] a drug) [or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug] when under the age of 21/drove while having a blood alcohol level of 0.05 or higher when under the age of 21/operated a vessel under the influence of (an alcoholic beverage/ [or] a drug) [or a combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug]/operated a vessel while having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher); [2] While (driving that vehicle/operating that vessel) under the influence of (an alcoholic beverage/ [or] a drug) [or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug], the defendant also committed (a/an) (misdemeanor[,]/ [or] infraction[,]] / [or] otherwise lawful act that might cause death); [3] The defendant committed the (misdemeanor[,]/ [or] infraction[,]] /[or] otherwise lawful act that might cause death) with ordinary negligence; AND [4] The defendant's negligent conduct caused the death of another person.")

15Penal Code 191.5(b) VC California's "vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated" law. ("(c)(2) Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in violation of subdivision (b) is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or 2 or 4 years.") The determination as to whether to file the misdemeanor or felony is primarily based on the facts of the case and on your history of prior DUI convictions.

16Ibid.

17Penal Code 191.5(a) PC California's gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated law. ("(a) Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.(c)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (d), gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in violation of subdivision (a) is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 6, or 10 years.(d) A person convicted of violating subdivision (a) who has one or more prior convictions of this section or of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192, subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 192.5 of this code, or of violating Section 23152 punishable under Sections 23540, 23542, 23546, 23548, 23550, or 23552 of, or convicted of Section 23153 of, the Vehicle Code, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 15 years to life. Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 2930) of Chapter 7 of Title 1 of Part 3 shall apply to reduce the term imposed pursuant to this subdivision.")

18Ibid.

19Ibid.

20See Penal Code 12022.7 PC California's great bodily injury law, endnote 16, above.

21 Judicial Council Of California Criminal Jury Instruction 520 -- Murder With Malice Aforethought [used in connection with a California Watson murder charge]. ("The defendant acted with implied malice if: [1] (He/She) intentionally committed an act; [2] The natural and probable consequences of the act were dangerous to human life; [3] At the time (he/she) acted, (he/she) knew (his/her) act was dangerous to human life; AND [4] (He/She) deliberately acted with conscious disregard for (human/ [or] fetal) life.")

Save

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Our defense attorneys understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most difficult times of your life. Rely on us to zealously and discreetly protect your rights and to fight for the most favorable resolution possible.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California and Nevada. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370