What is the Sentence for Felony Driving under the Influence in California?

Crashed car Section 23153 of the California Vehicle Code is commonly referred to as felony driving under the influence, although it can also be filed as a misdemeanor. The commission of this offense occurs when there is a traffic accident with an injury to someone other than a driver who is accused of driving under the influence due to drugs, alcohol, or both, and is either impaired, or has a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. Additionally, the accused driver must have committed a negligent act or a traffic offense causing the injury to the other person. The injury need not be serious, even slight injuries will trigger the felony.


The sentence for a violation of 23153 as a felony is:

    Car rollover accident
  1. Imprisonment in state prison for either 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years; or
  2. Imprisonment in the county jail for 90 days to 1 year; and
  3. A fine of $390 to $1000; and
  4. A 1 year driver’s license suspension;1  a license will be reinstated after the suspension period upon the showing of proof of insurance and the successful completion an alcohol program;2  at conviction the driver’s license must be surrendered to the court.3
  5. The sentence is enhance if there is injury or death to multiple victims, Car in ditchfor each victim up to a total of 3 there is a 1 year prison sentence enhancement, although the court make strike one or more of the enhancements if the judge finds there are mitigating circumstances.4
  6. If there is a refusal to take and complete a chemical test when require by law then there is 48 hour enhancement, however if there is a state prison commitment then the 48 hour enhancement is stayed (not imposed).5
Destroyed car

If felony probation is granted the terms and conditions of that probation are,

  1. Commitment to country jail for 5 days to 1 year; and
  2. A fine of $390 to $1000; and
  3. A one year driver’s license suspension.6
  4. The completion of an approved alcohol program;7  driving privileges will not be restored until the completion of this program.8
  5. If any of the terms and conditions of probation are violated the court must revoke probation and can impose a prison sentence, or can reinstate probation and add additional terms and conditions including an additional county jail commitment.9
  6. Car crashes a treeOther mandatory conditions of probation under section 23600 are,
    1. Not drive a motor vehicle with alcohol in your system.
    2. Submit to a chemical test for drugs or alcohol when requested to by any law enforcement officer.
    3. Not drive without a valid driver’s license.
    4. Obey all laws.




1 Section 13352(a)(2) of the California Vehicle Code
2 Section 23556(b) of the California Vehicle Code
3 Section 13550 of the California Vehicle Code
4 Section 23558 of the California Vehicle Code
5 Section 23577(a)(2) of the California Vehicle Code
6 Section 13352(a)(2) of the California Vehicle Code
7 Section 23556(b)(1), (b)(2) of the California Vehicle Code
8 Section 23556(d) of the California Vehicle Code
9 Section 23602 of the California Vehicle Code