Typically, what happens is that when a driver is arrested for DUI, the driver is booked into the county jail. Under normal circumstances, the driver is held in the jail until he or she sobers up. Then, due to overcrowding issues at the jail, the driver is given a court date and released. However, this does not mean that the driver will not return to the jail if convicted and sentenced.
Recently, practices regarding alleged drunk drivers were called into question when it was learned that a lieutenant from the Riverside Police Department was arrested for DUI. However, the lieutenant — who reportedly crashed into a mailbox and retaining wall while driving an unmarked police car — was not taken to jail. Rather he was arrested, cited and given a ride home by police.
However, if this was a member of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the claim is that the driver would have been brought to the same country jail as any other driver.
In general, when a person is arrested for DUI in California, first, second and third offenses are typically considered misdemeanors. However, while not necessarily a felony charge, the potential consequences should not be taken lightly. A driver can end up having their license suspended, their vehicle impounded, be placed on probation, and be ordered to pay a fine.
Fourth DUIs, or those DUIs that involve accidents, are typically considered felonies in California. Felonies tend to carry stiffer sentences.
Either way, a DUI is not something a driver wants on their record. This is why it is important to talk with an attorney who has experience handling DUI defense cases in California.
Source: Patch.com, “Sheriff’s Department Maintains 99% Of Drunk Drivers Go To Jail; California Law Leaves The Door Open,” Toni McAllister, Feb. 8, 2013