New California DUI Laws

Under a new bill signed into law, repeat DUI offenders in California could lose their licenses for ten years after their third conviction in a ten year period.

The legislation — penned by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo — targets drivers who get their licenses back after multiple arrests. Currently, three convictions in 10 years mean a three-year loss of your license. The new law, AB 1601, gives the judge the discretion to impose a  ten year revocation.

“This could be landmark legislation,” Hill said. “It will take 10,000 repeat DUI offenders off the road.”

The bill takes effect January 1, 2012. Hill said the bill will start a year after being approved in order to give the courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles time to coordinate.

An earlier version of the bill faced stiff resistance from critics. That draft would have stripped drivers’ licenses for life after three DUI’s, and it sought to throw out a rule limiting how far back authorities can look at a person’s driving record. But when a state analysis revealed that the bill could put more people in prison and thus cost more money, Hill was forced to revise it.

Joshua Dale, head of the California DUI Lawyers Association, said AB 1601 will likely mean more people will try to fight convictions, possibly resulting in more trials. Taxpayers will get stuck paying the bill for the increased expense.

Dale opposed the initial version of the bill because he thought it would remove an important incentive that many people who drink and drive need to get sober. He does agree that the final version of the bill will leave a bit of hope.


For information on the current DUI laws in California click here: Current California Dui laws



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