The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that car crashes involving a drunk driver result in 28 fatalities every day in the U.S. This works out to one fatality every 53 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion.

The majority of DUI arrests in Riverside end in misdemeanor charges. Typically, courts can treat the first three DUI convictions as misdemeanors. If the DUI causes an injury or death, or if the driver has three previous convictions for a DUI, a felony will likely result. A felony will also result if the driver already has a prior felony DUI conviction within the past ten years.

BAC Limit for DUI in California

Blood alcohol content (BAC) limits vary from state to state. In the state of California, a blood alcohol content level of .08% is enough for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. While set penalties exist for what’s known as a “per se” BAC level, there are also enhanced penalties for a blood alcohol level of .16% or higher.

Drivers begin to see skills impairment after their very first drink. Some drivers can reach a BAC of .08% in as little as two drinks, with three drinks considered the absolute limit before impairment occurs. Beyond alcohol consumption, factors such as medications, food, or fatigue may affect your ability to operate a car or other motor vehicle legally.

DUI Misdemeanor and Felony Arrests in California

DUI misdemeanor and felony arrests in the entire state of California from 2007-2017 were as follows:

Year  Misdemeanor Arrests Felony Arrests

2007  197,602                         6264
2008  208,845                         5966
2009  202,954                         5577
2010  190,977                         4902
2011  175,557                         4655
2012  167,846                         5047
2013  155,599                         4789
2014  149,908                         4835
2015  136,473                         4899
2016  124,868                         5186
2017  118,604                         4944

DUI Arrests in Riverside, CA

The latest figure for DUI arrests in Riverside shows that out of a total of 8075 arrests made in relation to driving under the influence, 7796 of those arrests resulted in misdemeanor charges, while the remaining 254 were felony charges.

Prevalence of Drinking and Driving in the State of California

The 2019 Annual Report of the California DUI Management Information System shows that the DUI arrest rate per 100,000 licensed drivers went down overall. In 2016, the number was 491 but had reached 458 by 2017. Most drunk driving arrests in the state result in misdemeanor charges. For 2017, the latest year on record, DUI misdemeanor arrests had gone down by 6264 compared to 2016. DUI statistics for Riverside similarly bear this out, with an average 2.9% reduction in DUI arrests year over year in the county.

Drunk driving conviction totals weren’t available in 2017, but the conviction rate in 2016 was 72.6% for a total of 98,430 DUI convictions. The five percent decrease in DUIs is positive, but DUIs are still widespread and account for a substantial number of criminal offenses overall.

From a demographics standpoint, males are more likely to drive under the influence. In total, 77.3% of those arrested for driving under the influence are male. Even so, the total number of females arrested continues to rise year over year.

Alcohol-Impaired Driving Deaths in Riverside

Compared to all other counties in the state of California, Riverside has a total alcohol-related death value of 31.9%. This puts it in the second-worst quartile of counties. Counties that are among the best 50% have a value lower than 31.4%, and counties that are in the worst quartile are those with a value greater than 35.8%.

Riverside County Car Accident Death Statistics

In the U.S., 1 in 3 car crash deaths involve drunk driving. Along with overall fatalities, more than 2 million people suffer injuries in car crashes each year. The latest statistics from Riverside County show that per 100,000 of the population, there were 347 car accident deaths.

DUI Penalties in Riverside County, CA

By law, the court presumes innocence for all the drivers arrested for driving under the influence until a judge or jury proves them guilty. According to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, fewer than three-quarters of all DUI arrests result in a conviction. Those convicted in Riverside County could face the following penalties:

First DUI:

  • Summary Probation – 3 years
  • Fines and penalties – roughly $2300 (plus court costs)
  • 3-Month alcohol program
  • Jail time – 6-10 days
  • California driver’s license suspension – 6 months

Second DUI:

  • Summary Probation – 3-5 years
  • Fines and penalties – roughly $2300
  • 18-month alcohol program
  • Jail time – 30 days
  • Must install an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) for 1 year

Third DUI:

  • Summary Probation – 3-5 years
  • County jail time – 120 days – 1 year
  • Fines and penalties – roughly $3000
  • 30-month alcohol program
  • Potential for inpatient alcohol treatment program
  • Must install an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) for 2 years

The DUI statistics for Riverside County underscore a number of important facts when it comes to driving under the influence. Among them are the seriousness of the charge as well as the penalties and consequences involved for those who receive a conviction for a DUI charge.

If you or a loved one was the victim of a DUI accident, call the Riverside car accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm today for a free consultation at (800) 818-1818.