Multiple DUI Offenses
Los Angeles DUI Attorney’s areas of practice include Multiple DUI Offenses. Multiple DUI Offenses can be separated into the categories listed below. Click on the link to go directly to your topic of interest.
- ATTORNEY DUI LOS ANGELES DISCUSSES TYPES OF DUI
- MULTIPLE DUI OFFENSES: SECOND DUI
- MULTIPLE DUI OFFENSE: THIRD DUI
- MULTIPLE DUI OFFENSE: 4TH DUI
A DUI can be a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony is an offense where a defendant can be sentenced to the state prison. A misdemeanor is an offense where a defendant can be sentenced to the county jail for up to 1 year. In California, now, a misdemeanor offense is defined as having a maximum possible jail sentence of 364 days. This change is due to a recent law that took effect on January 1, 2015 and is codified in California Penal Code section 18.5.
In California Penal Code section 18.5 says:
18.5. Every offense which is prescribed by any law of the state to
be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail up to or not exceeding
one year shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a
period not to exceed 364 days.
The law was passed into effect because of the pressure from immigration advocacy groups which try to help immigrants to avoid immigration issues with laws that limit jail time to 364 days. Because of that, now even if a California misdemeanor statute shows a maximum sentence of one year, California Penal Code section 18.5 supersedes it and reduced the maximum jail sentence by 1 day to 364 days. Note that if a statute for a California misdemeanor offense does not list the maximum punishment, California Penal Code section 19 language sets the maximum punishment at 6 month.
In California Penal Code section 19 says:
19. Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by
any law of this state, every offense declared to be a misdemeanor is
punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six
months, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by
A DUI offense can be a felony because of one of three reasons.
First, if you are charged with a 4th DUI within ten years, you will be charged with a felony because you have three qualifying prior (see California Vehicle Code section 23550).
Second, if you cause a collision and someone is injured, you can be charged with a felony DUI when the injuries are severe.
Third, if you have a previous felony DUI conviction, any new DUI will become a felony by operation of law as long as less then ten years passed since your felony DUI arrest.
All other DUI‘s are misdemeanors involving either multiple DUI offenses or injury DUI where injury are less severe.
DUI law is written to use the number of previous DUI conviction to enhance the punishment for the current conviction. This enhanced punishment system is called “priorability” and is not unique to DUI cases but is used extensity in DUI law. Also, unlike many other crimes, some none-DUI offenses will be considered a “prior” for a DUI. Most commonly, a “wet reckless” conviction will be considered a prior for DUI cases. In other words, a person who has a “wet reckless” conviction on his record will be charged with a multiple offense DUI even if this is a first DUI conviction he is facing.
A second offense DUI is the least serious of multiple DUI offenses and is defined as a second DUI within ten years from the offense date to the offense date. A second DUI is considered a misdemeanor but, unlike a first offense DUI, has increased punishment scheme which include:
- 5 years court probation;
- 18 month alcohol education program (SB-38 program);
- 2 years license suspension;
- a minimum of 96 hours in the county jail;
- a maximum of 1 year in the county jail;
Compare it to first offense DUI which has no minimal jail time, only 6 month maximum, a 3 years probation, a 3 month alcohol program, and only 6 month license suspension. In addition to the increased punishment, a second DUI usually will have a discretionary punishment from the prosecutor or the judge which can include an ignition interlock device on your car (IID), a impounding of the vehicle for a period of 30 days, other restriction and additional DUI educational classes, such as victim impact program (MADD) or hospital and morgue program (HAM).
A third offense DUI within ten years from the offense date to the offense date is also a misdemeanor violation of the law but unlike second DUI, carries the following increased punishment:
- a 3 year driver license revocation;
- a minimal jail sentence of 120 days in the county jail;
- An alternative of doing 30 days in the jail and a 30 month alcohol education program in lieu of otherwise required 120 days;
A third offense DUI is considered a very serious misdemeanor offense that will irk many judges and most likely result in higher bails or some serious “OR” conditions, such as SCRAM and/or treatment. Moreover, many judges will not accept probationary offers for third offense DUI cases unless of some extenuating circumstances or a clear violation of law/police procedure during the DUI investigation. It is important to retain an attorney as soon as possible with any multiple DUI offenses, especially third and fourth offense.
As discussed above, if you are arrested for a 4th offense DUI within ten years counting from the date of the offense to the date of the offense, you will be charged with a felony. A felony prosecution can result in a state prison commitment for up to 3 years for a non-injury DUI. If you have an extensive criminal record involving “strike” convictions or some prior prison commitment, the maximum exposure can be increase substantially and you need to talk to Los Angeles DUI lawyer as soon as you can. A 4th offense DUI does not have to result in a state prison commitment because you are still presumptively eligible for probation and can be sentenced to local jail time or a “split” sentence. A local jail time can not be less then 180 days in the county jail with a felony probation after that.
Los Angeles DUI Attorney can help you defend multiple DUI offenses in court and at the DMV. Los Angeles DUI lawyer specializes in defending the most serious DUI cases and knows how to approach prosecutors to get the best possible deal for you or to aggressively defend your DUI through litigation.
You can talk to an attorney directly and be able to reach an attorney during regular business hours and after-hours. We are proud to provide quality representation at affordable price.
Call our office for a free consultation.
(818) 921 7744 anytime to talk directly to Los Angeles DUI law specialist.
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