DUI and DWI Laws in California vs New York and Texas

Each state varies with how they handle DUI/DWIs, and have different jail times, fines, and license suspensions. In California, for a first offense, jail time can be anywhere between 48 hours to 6 months, New York is 15 days to one year, and Texas is 72 hours to 6 days. As with all tickets, there are fines that come with them.

The cost for California fines can range from $390 to $1,000 plus other penalties depending on the judge’s decision, New York fines are between $500 to $1,000 with possible additional charges, and Texas is not to exceed $2,000. A California driver who is caught driving under the influence, if they are under 21, will have their license suspended for one year, but if they are over 21 it can be a 6-month suspension with a possible restoration after 30 days.

New York revokes a license after a DUI for at least 6 months, and Texas issues a conditional or occupational license if the court orders it based on “essential need.” California orders a mandatory alcohol education course if the driver was under 21 for 3-6 months if it is a first offense, a second offense can be 18-30 months of DUI registered school.

New York requires the attendance of a Victim Impact Panel with the optional Drinking Driver Program, and Texas requires a 12-hour education program shortly after the offense. For second offenses the attendance requirements are the same for New York, depending on the severity of the incident it may change though, and Texas requires a 32-hour DWI Repeat Offender Program.

New York and Texas both have the judge decide if probation is necessary, but in California there is a 3-5-year informal probation for both first and second offenses, with no probation officer for the first offense. The laws for each state are pretty similar, but it all comes down to the decision of the judge, and the severity of the incident. If no one was injured, the judge will be more understanding and willing to negotiate.

If, however, there are injuries or fatalities, the judge, probably having dealt with too many of these offenses, will most likely be harsh. There are a number of issues to be considered when dealing with DUI/DWI offenses, and the main concern for it all is public safety as well as the potential risk the driver is to the community.

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