Beware Serious Penalties for DUI Repeat Offenders
A conviction for a first DUI can have serious consequences on a person’s life and leave a lasting criminal record. Additional DUI offenses, in particular, a third offense or “third strike” within a 10-year period is given harsh punishments—as are any convictions beyond that point.
That is why it is so important to avoid an initial DUI conviction, and to fight any additional charges if you were already convicted of one DUI. To speak to a top-rated DUI defense attorney in Los Angeles, please contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 today.
DUI Charges in California
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is defined by California law, so whether you are in Los Angeles or Sacramento, the law is the same. In California, a DUI is determined based on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), a legal limit for how much alcohol someone can have in his or her blood. The limits are based on a few factors:
- 0.08% or higher for anyone over the age of 21 years old in a private vehicle
- 0.04% or higher for anyone in a vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license
- 0.01% or higher for anyone under the age of 21 years old
- 0.01% or higher for anyone on DUI probation
Penalties for a First Offense
To understand the severity of repeat DUI offenses, it is helpful to see the penalties for a first DUI offense. These penalties are:
- Fines (including court assessments): About $1,800, or up to $3,600
- Jail time: 48 hours, or up to 6 months
- License suspension: 30 days with 2-5 months of restricted driving, or up to 6 months
- DUI treatment: 3 months of DUI school
- Ignition interlock device: Optional
A first DUI offense starts a 10-year window in which any additional offenses are punished more harshly. It is during this time that any other DUI conviction is considered a second, third, or subsequent offense.
Penalties for Subsequent Offenses
Second DUI conviction:
- Fines (including court assessments): About $1,800, or up to $4,000
- Jail time: 96 hours or 10 days, or up to 1 year
- License suspension: 1 year plus 2 years restricted driving, or up to 2 years
- DUI treatment: 18 months, or up to 30-month alcohol treatment program
- Ignition interlock device: Mandatory
Third DUI conviction (and beyond):
- Fines (including court assessments): About $1,800, or up to $18,000
- Jail time: 120 days, or up to 1 year in state prison
- License suspension: Complete revocation for 3 years
- DUI treatment: 30-month alcohol treatment program
- Ignition interlock device: Mandatory
In general, DUI is charged as a misdemeanor in Los Angeles, but there are certain elements that can cause a felony charge; these are referred to as “aggravating factors.” A fourth DUI charge within a 10-year period is usually tried as a felony, even if there are no other aggravating factors. Having a previous felony DUI conviction can also result in subsequent charges being felonies.
One of the biggest aggravating factors is if anyone was injured or killed in a collision related to the DUI. If there was a minor under the age of 14 in the vehicle, that can also be tried as a felony, as can excessive speed or reckless driving. Felony charges make a DUI much more serious, and the penalties can impact the rest of a person’s life.
The Importance of a Premier Los Angeles Defense Attorney
For any DUI arrest, it is absolutely vital to have an experienced defense attorney to fight against conviction. Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP can argue against the validity of a field sobriety test, or the information and testimony provided by an arresting police officer. Preventing a first DUI conviction can make a huge difference in your life, since this avoids the 10-year window for subsequent charges, and is especially important for young adults or teenagers.
Our knowledgeable defense attorneys can fight aggravating factors to keep the charge against you from becoming a felony, and work to reduce penalties if a conviction is unavoidable. Please give us a call at (213) 688-0460 to set up your initial consultation for free.