CALIFORNIA REPEAT DUI OFFENDERS – THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
DMV statistics show that repeat DUI offenders make up 27% of all convicted DUI offenders. They will take part in 24% of California’s fatal DUI accidents and 63% of injury DUI accidents. Once someone is a repeat offender, he or she becomes up to 47% more likely to offend again with a five year period than first time offenders. Police know these statistics, and if you’ve had your license revoked or suspended in California for a DUI offense, police already know everything about you -name, address, photo, vehicle description, and you become a potential repeat offender.
The DMV’s Hot List Project, is an attempt to help police agencies prevent unlicensed California drivers with prior DUI convictions from being on the road illegally. To help with this project, the California DMV sends bimonthly lists to police agencies of people who (1) have suspended drivers license numbers and (2) have revoked license numbers for multiple DUI offenders.
Starting January 1, 2019, new laws as they relate to ignition interlock devices came into effect in California. Only those arrested on or after January 1, 2019 will be affected.
The 2nd DUI Offense
Unless the situation warrants DUI sentencing enhancements, the usual consequences for a second offense in California may include 96 hours to 1 year in county jail, $390-$1000 in fines plus substantial penalty assessments, 2 years driver license suspension (which you may be eligible for a restricted license), at least 1 year of the ignition interlock device, and 18 or 30 months of DUI school.
The 3rd DUI Offense
A third offense, could possibly result in 120 days to 1 year in county jail, $390-$1000 in fines, 3 years driver license suspension (which you may be eligible for a restricted license), at least 2 years of the ignition interlock device and 30 months of DUI school.
The severity of the consequences can vary based on certain circumstances, for example whether there was an accident, and if there were any injuries.
The 4th DUI Offense – Is it a felony?
Yes, a fourth offense can and probably will be filed as a felony, which is the most serious classification for a criminal offense. It is highly unlikely that one will serve less than 1 year incarceration time in either a county jail or a prison. The offender will likely serve 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in prison, pay up to $5000 in fines, 4 years driver license suspension, at least 3 years of the ignition interlock device and 18-30 months of DUI school.
If there are other penalties and assessments, the out-of-pocket costs can easily exceed $10,000 for a DUI felony charge in California. (This figure does not include any victim restitution or attorney’s fees.)
There are three situations that can promote a DUI offense to a felony status. A DUI may be charged as a felony at the prosecution’s discretion if:
- The DUI caused great bodily injury or death to another person.
- The defendant has three or more prior DUIs—or wet reckless convictions—within the last 10 years.
- The defendant has at least one prior felony DUI conviction.
Judges are not prone to show mercy to repeat offenders. In fact, they will be very upset that someone had a second chance and they didn’t “learn his/her lesson the first time.” In California, a DUI is a “priorable” offense, meaning that past convictions can be used to enhance the penalties of a repeat offense in the future (if it is within 10 years). The right attorney will first attempt to fight the newest charge and have it dismissed. If dismissing the case doesn’t work, the attorney will then try to delegitimize the prior DUI convictions to reduce the offense of the current charge. Finally, an attorney may negotiate a plea bargain on behalf of the client or take the case to trial.
Call us if and when you need help with your DUI arrest!