Second DUI Offense in California
If you are arrested for DUI and you already have had a prior DUI conviction in the last in the last 10 years, you will be charged with a second offense DUI. This might sound obvious, but in the legal community a second DUI is an important distinction to make. After a DUI arrest, police look into your record for any past infractions, if you have previously been convicted of any of the following offenses, you will face steeper penalties:
Vehicle Code 23152 – Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
Vehicle Code 23153 - Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol that resulted in an accident or injury
Vehicle Code 23103.5 – DUI conviction that was charged as reckless driving (wet reckless)
Operating a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is a serious offense. If you already have one prior conviction in the last ten years, your minimum sentence automatically increases.
In order to be arrested for DUI in California, you must be ruled intoxicated and have operated a vehicle in your intoxicated state. The amount of alcohol that a person can drink before they are considered impaired varies. Instead of number of drinks, the law uses the concentration of alcohol that is in your body. This is referred to as your BAC level and the legal limit for an adult over 21 is .08%. For drivers under 21 and those operating on a commercial license, the limits are .01% and .04%, respectively.
For cases that involve drug intoxication, there is no maximum amount. Instead, any trace of drugs in your body can be used as evidence that you were driving impaired. If an officer feels that you have been taking drugs, you will be arrested and asked to provide a blood or urine sample that will test for drugs in your body. This includes any type of drug including:
Illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine
Prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Codeine
Over the counter drugs like Benadryl
Second DUI Penalties in California
The more DUIs you have on your record, the steeper the penalties will be. Sentencing for second DUI convictions is covered under vehicle code section 23540. The penalties are designed to end the pattern of drinking and driving so drug or alcohol counseling will likely be included. A second DUI conviction in a ten year period can lead to:
90 days to one year in jail (an additional 60 days will be added to your sentence if you were driving at an excessive speed of 20 to 30 mph over the limit. An additional 48 hours of jail time will be added if you had a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 14).
Probation, the length of which depends on the judge
Fines of $390 to $1000
Mandatory DUI school attendance
Loss of your driver's license for up to 2 years
Car impoundment for up to 30 days
Ignition Interlock Device Installation
In addition to the above penalties, a judge may also sentence you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for up to 3 years. There is also a new program beginning to 2010 that mandates all DUI offenders in certain counties must install this device for a minimum period. If you are convicted of DUI in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare Counties, you must install one of these devices and keep it for one year.
An IID is a small device that is installed in your car close to the steering wheel. It requires the driver to breathe into an apparatus each time before starting the car. The driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) is measured and if it is over .08%, the car will not start. There are additional penalties for tampering with the device and you are not allowed to operate any vehicle that is not installed with this device during your sentence. Violation of these terms will lead to additional periods of license suspension. Not only is an IID an inconvenience, but the installation is costly and will be left up to you.
California DUI Defense Attorneys
The best way to avoid the fees and penalties associated with a second DUI is to get the charges dismissed or reduced. We will work to do that by building a strong defense. If the prosecution is worried that they might not win the case, they will be more likely to reduce charges or give you a plea bargain.
Our DUI defense lawyers will work hard for you to defend your rights. We understand the uncertainty and fear that you may be experiencing. You may be worried how a second DUI conviction will affect your job or educational aspirations, what the penalties will be and that you will have to serve time in jail. Call us right now for a free consultation and we can explain to you more about what kind of penalties you may expect to face.