California Car Insurance After a DUI

If you get a DUI in California, your auto insurance will get more expensive — it's just a question of how much you'll end up paying. Unfortunately for your wallet, California auto insurance rates are influenced markedly by a history of serious driving violations, compared against all other American states.

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How does a DUI influence car insurance in California?

In California, a DUI offense will increase your annual car insurance premium by an average of $3,154. That’s 68% more than the national average rate hike after a DUI.

AreaAvg. rate - no DUIAvg. rate - with DUIAvg. increase after DUI
United States$1,397.11$2,416.8772%

Getting auto insurance in California after a DUI conviction

Finding cheap car coverage after a DUI conviction is anything but straightforward. In fact, a DUI typically results in a more substantial cost increase than does any other driving violation — more than an at-fault accident, reckless driving, or racing. California is a very bad state in which to perpetrate a DUI: its insurance rate hikes are among the US' harshest.

Best car insurance with a DUI in California

If you’re found guilty of a driving under the influence violation in California, it’s key to weigh available insurance possibilities carefully. Car insurance rates in the wake of a DUI can deviate greatly depending on the company. For instance, the cheapest car insurance company with a DUI in California, Mercury, advertises annual rates 39% better than the state average insurance premium after a DUI conviction. The second-cheapest choice for auto insurance after a DUI in California is GEICO, while the most expensive firm is Allstate, with rates 37% above the mean.

Insurance companyAvg. rate after DUI
21st Century$4,057.56
State Farm$4,252

There’s no auto insurance company specifically offering low-cost DUI auto insurance. The easiest way to save money in the wake of a DUI citation is to shop around.

Find quotes online or contact an insurance agent to gauge the choices and find the best plan.

Learn more on auto insurance after a DUI conviction.

California DUI laws

You're considered to be driving under the influence in California if your blood alcohol concentration reads 0.08% or higher. Commercial drivers are subject to an even stricter BAC limit of 0.04% or higher. Drivers younger than 21 years old are DUI in California if their BAC reads 0.01% or higher.

Recent changes to the law in California have made it illegal to transport a passenger for hire if your BAC is 0.04% or higher.

California deems a driver DUI if any drugs, prescription medications, or over-the-counter medications are impacting your ability to drive.

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DUI penalties in California

California's lookback period is 10 years. Repeated DUI offenses within this period will lead to more severe fines and penalties.

First-time DUI offenses in California will result in:

  • Fines of $390 to $1,000
  • 48 hours to six months in jail
  • License suspension for six months
  • The possible requirement of an interlock ignition device for five months to three years
  • Attendance in a DUI program (length determined based on BAC)

A second DUI offense in California leads to:

  • Fines of $390 to $1,000
  • 96 hours to one year in jail
  • License suspension for two years
  • The possible requirement of an interlock ignition device for one to three years
  • 18 to 30 months in a DUI program

A third DUI conviction in California results in:

  • Fines between $390 and $1800
  • 120 days to one year in jail
  • License suspension for three years
  • Mandatory IID use for two to three years
  • 30 months in a DUI program

Judges may choose to forego jail time in lieu of probation, particularly for first-time DUI offenders. Additionally, offenders may serve time via house arrest or alternative work programs instead of jail.

First-, second-, and third-offense DUI convictions are usually considered misdemeanors. If a DUI in California results in injury, however, it may be treated as a felony. Causing a fatality by driving under the influence is generally prosecuted under California's vehicular manslaughter or murder laws.

DUI penalties for underage drinkers in California

California is a zero-tolerance state when it comes to underage drinking. Those under 21 years old and found to have a BAC of 0.01% or higher are considered DUI.

First-time underage DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.01% or higher face:

  • An infraction
  • Up to $250 in fines
  • A suspended license for a minimum of one year

First-time underage DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.05% or higher face:

  • An infraction and underage DUI charge
  • $100 to $300 in fines
  • A one-year license suspension
  • Required completion of an alcohol education program if between 18 and 21 years old

Multiple underage DUI charges may earn enough demerit points to result in a license suspension.

Committing a DUI offense with a BAC of 0.08% or higher will subject the underage driver to the fines and penalties of a standard DUI offense.

Sources and references:

Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Based in Austin, TX, Ava has been in the insurance industry as a licensed agent for 4-plus years. Ava is currently one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts and has been featured in publications such as US News Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.