California DUI Laws

California DUI laws require that any driver convicted notify their insurance company. CA DUI laws also require the filing of an SR-22.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

Full Bio →

Written by

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 10, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from top car companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • In California, drivers will be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol level is .08% or more
  • If you’re convicted of a DUI, you must notify your insurance provider
  • Larger insurance companies often offer coverage for individuals with a DUI charge, but the auto insurance rates are typically higher
  • California car insurance rates will be affected by a DUI conviction

California is a state that has everything — Mountains, forests, beaches, rivers, lakes, and more.

Some people move to California for the colleges, while others relocate for employment in a variety of fields.

Dance clubs in cities such as San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles attract local residents and visitors from around the world, and California is considered by many to be the greatest state on the west coast for vacationing and having fun.

No matter your reason for living in California, enter your ZIP code above to compare car insurance rates from multiple companies!

Unfortunately, people who are having fun don’t always make good decisions and may be caught and cited for driving under the influence of intoxicants.

People who have been convicted of a DUI should pay close attention to California DUI insurance laws to be sure they are in compliance.

What are the California DUI laws?

Different states call it differently-driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, drunk driving, or impaired driving.

In California, drivers will be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol level is .08% or more and they are at least 21 years old. For those age 21 or under zero-tolerance laws penalize driving with even a very small amount of alcohol.

Any amount of alcohol in the blood is sufficient to charge a driver that is under 21 with DUI as well as minor in posession (MIP) because they are not legally allowed to drink alcohol at all.

A DUI can drastically affect rates for car insurance in California. Drivers should try their best to stay away from this type of penalty.

It is illegal for anyone riding in a motor vehicle in California to consume alcohol or be in possession of an open container of alcohol.

It is also illegal for drivers to operate a marine vessel, heavy equipment, or other types of machinery while under the influence of alcohol.

California DUI insurance laws require any driver who has been convicted of DUI to notify their insurance company of the conviction and ask them to file an SR-22 form at the beginning of each policy period for three years following the conviction.

During the 10 years after a DUI conviction, you won’t be eligible for a good driver discount in California. After that period, the conviction will be removed from your driving record and you will qualify for the discount.

So, if you’re convicted of a DUI and have your license suspended, you will need to keep liability insurance and file an SR-22 form to reinstate your driving privileges.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What’s the California DUI process?

The officer who cites a driver with DUI will immediately suspend that driver’s license and is required to forward a notice of revocation or suspension form, along with every driver’s license they have taken, with a report to the department of motor vehicles.

The DMV conducts a review automatically, which includes examining the report from the officer, any drug and alcohol test results, and the revocation or suspension order.

How do you get your license back after a DUI? If the license suspension or revocation is upheld after being reviewed by the DMV, the driver can request a hearing within ten days of receiving the order.

The DMV will notify the driver in writing if the license revocation or suspension is set aside after being reviewed.

Drivers who are cited with DUI will be immediately given a date, location, and time to appear in court.

Some people choose to hire an attorney to go to court with them while others choose to enter their plea in court without the assistance of an attorney.

What are the California DUI penalties?

When you’re drunk driving, you’re compromising cognitive ability and responsiveness, thus increasing the chances of an accident. If you get caught, a drunk driving legal infraction may have legal, financial, and personal consequences.

The penalties for a DUI conviction in California usually include jail time, fines, driver’s license suspension, drug education course, ignition interlock device, and SR-22 insurance filing.

  • Jail Time – The first time a driver is arrested for DUI, they will usually be required to spend a couple of days in the county jail. A stricter sentence may be imposed, depending on the circumstances surrounding the DUI arrest.
  • Fines – The fine for a DUI conviction in California may be anywhere from $390 to $1,000 depending on how many prior DUI convictions on the driver’s record and other factors.
  • Driver Education – Drivers who are convicted of DUI for the first time are required to complete an approved program to educate them on the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
  • Ignition Interlock – California DUI laws require drivers who are convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock system in their personal vehicle before being allowed to drive.
  • SR22 Filing – Anyone convicted of a DUI must file an SR-22 insurance form before driving on probation. How long after a DUI do you need an SR-22? Proof of car insurance in the form of an SR-22 form has to be provided to the DMV for three years after a driver’s license is suspended.

What do California DUI statistics indicate?

In 2009, there were 950 people who lost their lives in car accidents involving drunk drivers in the state of California. This resulted in various car insurance accident statistics.

Seventy two percent of these drivers had blood alcohol levels of at least .15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit.

More than 208,000 California drivers were arrested for driving under the influence in 2009.

Between thirty and fifty percent of all fatal car accidents in California involve at least one driver with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are the California DUI insurance options?

Some drivers believe that the cost to insure a vehicle after a DUI conviction in California is too high.

Nevertheless, most people have to drive so they can commute to doctor appointments, work, and other essential places.

The top car insurance companies, including Progressive, 21st Century, Geico, and State Farm insure drivers who require SR-22 filings.

They usually charge these individuals higher insurance premiums than other drivers because they are considered to be high-risk drivers.

Smaller auto insurance companies may choose to drop customers who are convicted of a DUI because the risk is too high, but California law prohibits insurance companies from raising premiums or canceling policies during the term of the auto insurance policy.

The insurance company may choose not to insure any driver after their current policy has expired.

Many insurance companies offer competitive car insurance rates to attract new customers, even if they are required to file an SR-22 form.

It is important for drivers to compare the rates offered by several different insurance companies to ensure they are paying the lowest possible rate for their coverage levels.

Find cheap car insurance by comparing rates from multiple companies today! Enter your ZIP code below to get started.



Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption