California DUI Statistics There's No Alternative

California DUI Statistics

Most DUI arrests result in misdemeanor charges. A first, second, or third DUI is usually a misdemeanor. A felony may be charged, however, if the DUI results in an injury or death. A felony will also be charged if a driver has three prior DUI convictions, or one prior felony DUI conviction, within the past ten years.

Misdemeanor versus felony arrests in California since 2008 break down as follows:

Year Misdemeanor Arrests Felony Arrests
2008 208,845 5966
2009 202,954 5577
2010 190,977 4902
2011 175,557 4655
2012 167,846 5047
2013 155,599 4789

Juvenile DUI arrests are not counted as felonies or misdemeanors and are not reflected in the statistics tabulated above.

DUI Arrests By County

Almost a quarter of all California DUI arrests in 2013 took place in Los Angeles County. Each of four counties (Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, and San Bernardino) had more than 10,000 DUI arrests that year, accounting for more than 45% of all DUI arrests in the state. Arrest statistics for counties that surround Orange County during 2013 are as follows:

County Misdemeanor Felony Total Arrests
Los Angeles 36,254 1227 37,559
Orange 12,682 268 13,020
San Bernardino 9,822 314 10,168
Riverside 9,704 182 9,918
San Diego 11,852 391 12,298

“Total arrests” in the table above includes juvenile arrests that are not counted as either misdemeanors or felonies.

California DUI Arrest Statistic Demographics

The median age of a driver arrested for a California DUI in 2013 was 30. Almost three-quarters of arrested drivers were 40 or younger. Only 0.4% were under the age of 18 while 6.5% were under the age of 21.

More than three-quarters of the drivers arrested for a California DUI in 2013 were male. The percentage of females arrested for DUI has increased, however, from 10.6% in 1989 to 23.4% in 2013.

Hispanic males and African-Americans are overrepresented in California DUI arrest statistics. Hispanics make up 35.4% of California’s population while accounting for 44.6% of the state’s DUI arrests. Hispanic females, however, are arrested in approximate proportion to their percentage of the population. African-Americans make up 5.9% of the state’s population but account for 8.5% of California’s DUI arrests. The suspicion that drivers in those ethnic categories are pulled over for “driving while black” or “driving while Hispanic” may account for those statistics.

DUI Conviction Statistics

It is important to keep in mind that all the drivers arrested for DUI in the statistics presented above were presumed innocent. The California DMV has changed its statistical analysis and recently stopped tracking convictions that occurred in years following the year of arrest, making it difficult to do year-to-year comparisons. DMV’s data nevertheless makes clear that fewer than three-quarters of DUI arrests result in a conviction.

A “wet reckless” (alcohol-related reckless driving) conviction is not a DUI conviction, but the DMV counts “wet reckless” in its report of convictions. According to the DMV, in recent years more than 8% of convictions have been for “wet reckless.” Deducting those from conviction statistics lowers the conviction rate to about two-thirds of the arrest rate. Having a lawyer negotiate a wet reckless conviction or assert a winning defense saves drivers from the severe consequences that follow a DUI conviction.

California DUI Injury Statistics

We always urge drivers to make smart decisions so that they do not need a DUI lawyer. Having a designated driver or taking a taxi after drinking avoids injuries and fatalities caused by DUI-related accidents.

According to the California DMV, there were 1,197 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2013, representing 38.6% of all traffic fatalities. In the same year, there were 23,178 injuries arising from alcohol-related traffic accidents, representing 10.4% of traffic accident injuries.

Keep in mind, however, that DMV deems an accident to be “alcohol-related” if one of the drivers had a BAC of 0.08% or above. Whether the driver with the prohibited BAC actually caused the accident, or whether the prohibited BAC actually contributed to the accident, cannot be determined from statistics alone.

Orange County DUI Assistance

The statistics discussed above teach us that DUI is a significant problem in California, but it is not a problem that justifies the continuing hysteria we hear from advocacy groups. The statistics also teach us that DUI arrests regularly occur in Orange County counties, but that more than a quarter of arrested individuals avoid being convicted of any offense.

The value of being represented by a skilled attorney cannot be overstated. If you have been arrested for DUI in Orange County, Riverside County, or elsewhere in Orange County, talk to a DUI defense attorney who will always treat you as a person, not as a statistic. Call The Law Offices of Randy Collins at (844) 241-1221 to begin planning your DUI defense.


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