There are several penalties that a person might receive following a California DUI conviction, some of which are mandatory under California law and some of which are discretionary.
For a first-time California DUI, a person can expect at a minimum a three-month DUI program called AB 541, $390 in fines and fees plus court penalties and assessments totaling around $2,000, and three years of summary (informal) probation. These are the mandatory penalties under California law that a court will impose.
AA meetings are not required, but are regularly given as additional punishment. Other discretionary penalties include Mothers Against Drunk Drivers’ Victim Impact Panel, a Hospital and Morgue Program, Cal-Trans, and possibly jail. Some courts offer the option of completing 10 AA meetings or the Victim Impact Panel. Other courts might require AA meetings in addition to the other non-mandatory terms.
More commonly, when the DUI arrest involves a particularly high blood alcohol content, usually 0.015 or higher, the court may require AA meetings as a condition of the defendant being released on their own recognizance. In other words, as an alternative to jail pending the resolution of the case or having to post bail, a person might be required to do a specified number of AA meetings per week. Proof of attendance is usually required at every hearing until the case is resolved.
Whether it is before a case resolves or after, there is a chance that AA meetings might be required. Although AA meetings are not the most daunting of requirements DUI case, a skilled California DUI attorney may be able to reduce a person chance of having to do them.