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Multiple Offense DUI

In California, there is a ten-year lookback period in which every DUI conviction is considered a prior DUI. For each DUI conviction over the lookback period, the statue mandates increasingly harsher penalties. A prior DUI is not limited to driving a vehicle in California while under the influence of alcohol. Any DUI (or boating under the influence, but which has a lookback period of seven years) in this state and most DUI convictions (or comparable offenses) in another state is considered a prior DUI, and that includes a conviction for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A prior wet reckless conviction also counts as does an expunged DUI if the DUI conviction was within the lookback period.

A third offense DUI is a misdemeanor (as long as there was no accident with injuries or death, which may be charged as a felony) and a fourth (or greater) DUI offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Multiple offense DUIs carry potentially harsh penalties, including a jail sentence and even imprisonment.

As with all driving under the influence of alcohol arrests, a multiple offense DUI arrest entails a DMV administrative review and a criminal proceeding. The DMV hearing is optional, but you have only ten days after the arrest to request the hearing. If there is any question whether the vehicle stop and/or the arrest was lawful, Orange County DUI defense attorney William Weinberg would advise you to consult him promptly for a review of the circumstances surrounding the stop and arrest. His practiced eye may find a potential challenge that warrants requesting a DMV Administrative Per Se hearing. Potential grounds for a DMV hearing include situations where the officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle (e.g.., you were not breaking any traffic laws) or no probable cause to arrest you for DUI. The same defenses will be available to you at the criminal proceedings, whether you win or lose at with the DMV.

Things get serious on a fourth DUI as this offense can be, and most often is, charged as a felony. As with any multiple DUI offense charge, the prosecution must prove that you have the prior DUI convictions within the past ten years of the date of your arrest. These priors must be proved by a certified record of the conviction. Sometimes, the prosecution is unable to obtain a provable record – say on an out-of-state conviction – or when there is some question as to whether a prior offense falls within the lookback period. When this happens, a multiple offense DUI defense attorney will probably be able to get the prior excluded.

It can get complicated and that is why multiple offense DUI offenses require the advocacy of a DUI attorney with solid experience in this area of the law. A skilled multiple offense DUI attorney may be all that stands between you and the potentially harsh consequences of a third or fourth offense DUI. There are defenses to these charges that could result in a dismissal, a plea to a reduced charge, or a plea to a lesser charge that does not count as a priorable DUI. A review of the evidence in your case may reveal a weak prosecution case, which will help your attorney negotiate better terms for you. When this is not possible, your DUI defense attorney will argue for a lighter punishment than the law allows. On a multiple offense DUI conviction that will probably include an argument for an alternative sentence, such as in-patient or out-patient treatment. Orange County multiple offense DUI attorney William Weinberg understands that a client with multiple DUIs within a ten-year period is probably in need of treatment— not punishment— and he makes every effort to get his client the help he or she needs.

The good news is that under the new ignition interlock device IID law, multiple DUI offenders may be able to keep their driving privileges, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Criminal Penalties on Multiple Offense DUI Convictions License Suspension / IID

A driver convicted on a third offense DUI must install an IID for a period of two years or their license will be suspended for three years, with the possibility of obtaining a restricted license after 18 months of a “hard” suspension. A restricted license will allow the offender to drive to and from work, school, and DUI education classes or therapy. A third-time offender will also be designated a “habitual traffic offender” for a period of three years. This designation increases the driver’s exposure to stiffer penalties if he or she is convicted of certain subsequent driving offenses.

A driver convicted on a fourth offense DUI may be allowed to install an IID. The IID must remain installed for a period of three years. However, a fourth offender could face a suspension of his or her driver’s license. A fourth-time offender will be designated a “habitual traffic offender” for a period of three years.

The IID suspension is available only for drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. For those convicted of driving under the influence of drugs, the hard suspension followed by a restricted license applies.

Jail / Probation

A third offense DUI conviction carries a minimum sentence of 120 days and up to one year in county jail. The court may also sentence the offender to a probation term of three to five years. During the term of probation, the offender is prohibited from driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system. If violated, the penalties can, and likely will, result in jail time as well as other punishments.

A fourth offense DUI conviction is punishable by a minimum of 180 days in county jail and up to three years imprisonment. Depending on the sentence, the offender may also be sentenced to three to five years’ probation.

As with all DUI offenses, aggravating factors can result in an enhanced sentence. Some of these factors include a high BAC, having a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time of the offense, reckless driving, or causing an accident.

The offender will also be ordered to pay fines and penalties, which on multiple offense convictions can be considerable.

DUI Education

While the statute provides that multiple DUI offenders must attend 18 to 30 months of DUI education and programs, courts often sentence these offenders to enroll in in-patient or out-patient treatment programs with education and therapy for a portion of the proscribed period.

This component of the punishment often allows the multiple offense DUI attorney to argue that the offender and society is better served if the court orders a treatment program rather than jail or prison.

Orange County DUI Defense Attorney William Weinberg Can Help

With each successive DUI within ten years, the punishment becomes progressively harsher. If you have been arrested for a third or fourth offense DUI, don’t hesitate—you should consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Orange County DUI defense attorney William Weinberg has defended hundreds of clients charged with DUI and he works just as diligently to get the charges dismissed or reduced whether it is a first DUI or a repeat DUI. Contact Mr. Weinberg at any time to set up a confidential and complimentary consultation. He will review your case and assess your options. Attorney Weinberg will work with you and your family to setup a fee structure that best suits your circumstances.

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Anyone who is arrested should contact an experienced Orange County DUI Criminal Defense Attorney to determine whether or not their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, were violated.

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