Second Offense DUI
If you have been charged and convicted on any DUI and find yourself arrested for a DUI again within ten years of the last DUI, you face a potential second offense DUI. A second offense DUI conviction carries stiffer penalties and other consequence than a first offense. Under California law, a DUI is a priorable offense. A DUI conviction within a ten-year lookback period piggybacks on any subsequent DUI. This includes any DUI for not only driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, but also driving under the influence of drugs, or boating under the influence of either. For example, if you were convicted of a first offense DUI for boating under the influence and then five years later you are convicted of driving your vehicle under the influence, that conviction is a second DUI. A prior conviction for “wet reckless” also counts as a priorable DUI offense.
As with a first offense DUI, a second offense DUI is subject to both a DMV administrative action and the separate criminal action. You have ten days to request a DMV hearing on the suspension of your license. If you believe the initial vehicle stop or the arrest may have been unlawful, it is advisable that you have a DUI defense attorney review the circumstances of your stop and arrest right away. If there is any evident challenge to the stop or arrest, DUI defense attorney William Weinberg will advise his client to request a DMV per se hearing. His role is to advocate for your rights under the law.
If you lose the DMV hearing, your license will be suspended for at least one year, but you will have the option of installing an ignition interlock device (IID), which will allow you to retain your driving privilege but under an IID suspension, meaning the IID must be operable and maintained at all times. If you win the per se hearing, you still face the criminal matter. This is where the law gets confusing. Although it becomes less likely that you will be convicted in court if you won your DMV hearing, it still happens. If the court convicts you on the DUI, you will have two DUI convictions on your record, and you will face a license suspension.
But let’s take the typical case: If the DMV finds a lawful basis for the DUI arrest, your license will be suspended for at least one year. If you install an IID on your vehicle, you will be able to drive on an IID suspension. If you chose not to install the IID, you will face a hard suspension of your license (meaning you can’t drive at all) for two years, with the opportunity to apply for a restricted license in the second year. A restricted license allows you to drive to work, school, and DUI education or programs. If you are then convicted of the second offense in the criminal matter, the court may order up to a two-year license suspension but will give you credit for the first-year suspension ordered by the DMV. Installing an IID will allow you to drive under both the DMV and Court-ordered suspensions.Criminal Penalties for a Second Offense DUI Conviction
An experienced second offense DUI attorney’s first line of defense is to explore arguments for a dismissal of the charge or a reduction of the charge to a non-DUI offense such as reckless driving. This is not always an option but if any doorway shows even a small opening, Orange County DUI defense attorney William Weinberg will try to open that door. But when the charge sticks, the next line of defense is to mitigate the punishment.
Although the statute mandates certain penalties for a second offense DUI, the advocacy of a persuasive DUI defense attorney can lessen the impact. Most second offense DUIs are misdemeanors. As with all criminal charges, you can request a jury trial. Rarely does this happen; almost all second offense DUI charges end in a plea bargain. That is where a skilled DUI defense attorney steps in to argue for the most lenient sentence indicated.
Jail / Probation. A second offense DUI can be punished by up to one year in jail. This almost never happens, but there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 96 hours. Your DUI defense attorney can often arrange for this jail sentence to be served on weekends or on a work furlough arrangement so that you can continue to report to work. Usually, the court will also sentence the second time DUI offender to informal probation for three years, although sometimes the court will order a longer term of up to five years. During the term of informal probation, the driver is prohibited from driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in his or her system. Violation of informal probation can land the driver in jail and lead to a harsh sentence. The offender will also be ordered to pay fines and penalties.
DUI Education. The court must sentence the second offense DUI defendant to an 18-month program consisting of DUI classes, group and individual sessions and extended group sessions in the final six months of the program. Alternatively, at the discretion of the judge, the offender can be ordered to attend a 30-month program with essentially the same components. The judge may also sentence the offender to attend a recovery or treatment program.
Enhanced Penalties. As with all DUIs, there may be enhanced penalties if the offender is also accused of having a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.15% or having a young child in the car at the time of the arrest as well as certain other circumstances. If you refused to submit to a chemical test at the time of your arrest on a second DUI offense, you will face a hard suspension of your license with no IID option as well as other consequences.Orange County Second Offense DUI Defense Attorney William Weinberg Can Help
A second DUI offense conviction can have serious consequences. DUI defense attorney William Weinberg may be able to help you avoid some or all of those consequences. It is important to know that not every DUI arrest ends in a conviction! Mr. Weinberg is available for a complimentary consultation where he can review your case and offer you his assessment of your potential defenses. Contact him at any time to schedule an appointment with him in his Irvine office.