second time dui california

Drivers who get pulled over and charged with a second DUI need to be aware of how much more dramatic the consequences could be compared to their first incident. Second-time offenders may expect significantly increased fines, jail time, longer driver’s license suspensions, and more. Before you risk defending yourself or taking the first plea deal the prosecutors offer, make sure to speak with experienced DUI criminal defense attorneys about your rights and options.

What is a Second-Time DUI in California?

To count as a second DUI in California, you must have a previous drunk driving conviction within the past ten years on your record. Additionally, other offenses like reckless driving (a wet reckless charge) can count as a previous DUI under California law. Prior arrests for this crime that did not result in a conviction will not qualify, but the ten-year period begins on the date of the arrest associated with your first DUI conviction.

Administrative Penalties for Second-Time DUI

No matter how many DUIs you may have, each incident has two different departments you will deal with: the criminal justice system and the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Both carry their own specific penalties and have separate procedures to follow.

The DMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license if you fail to request a hearing within the ten-day deadline of your arrest. If this occurs, you will not have driving privileges for at least one year, and if you apply for restricted license, you will need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in order to obtain any ability to drive whatsoever. Additionally, you will have to obtain an SR-22 from an auto insurance company before you may be granted restricted driving privileges or full reinstatement.

Here is a sampling of some of the rights you may have at your DMV hearing:

  • To obtain discovery (police reports and evidence)
  • To have a lawyer represent you
  • To avoid license suspension (known as a “stay of suspension”) until after the hearing has occurred (it may take weeks or months to obtain a hearing date)
  • To utilize subpoena powers (for both documents and individuals)

Keep in mind that your DMV license suspension is distinct from any Superior Court proceedings, including any court mandated license suspension. In order to have a chance to preserve your driving privilege, it is very important that you or your attorney request a DMV hearing within 10 actual days of your DUI arrest.

Criminal Penalties for a Second DUI

There is little doubt that a second-time DUI is treated much more harshly by criminal courts. Even if your second-time DUI charge is brought as a misdemeanor (as opposed to a felony), there are potentially severe punishments at stake such as being sentenced for up to one-year in the county jail.

Typical penalties for a second DUI may include:

  • Up to 1 year in the county jail
  • 3 to 5 years of court probation
  • Substantial court fines
  • Typically, an 18 month DUI school (as opposed to a 3–9 month program for a first offense)
  • Interlock device installed on your vehicle
  • Excessive points on your driver license
  • Your most recent conviction may be used against you in a subsequent DUI prosecution for up to 10 years

Drivers who do not comply with alcohol testing, injure or kill someone as a result of their DUI, have a child in the vehicle at the time of the incident, or have other aggravating circumstances involved, may incur more severe penalties or even felony charges.

Second DUIs and a Judge’s Discretion

The previously mentioned punishments are just some of the consequences one might face if convicted of a second-time DUI. Defendants in these types of cases must also be aware that a judge has the discretion to assign additional sentencing requirements if deemed appropriate.

Some of these extra penalties may include:

  • Inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehabilitation programs
  • Restriction from drinking any alcohol whatsoever
  • Hospital and morgue visits
  • AA or similar programs
  • SCRAM bracelets

Failure to abide by any additional conditions ordered by the court is a violation of probation and may lead to more serious consequences.

Can You Successfully Defend a Second DUI Offense?

Yes! Depending on the circumstances of your case and the skillfulness of your chosen Santa Barbara DUI attorney, it is possible to successfully defend against a second DUI. The experienced legal team at the Aron Law Firm has decades of combined experience working for your defense, protecting your rights, and helping you move on from this trying time in your life. With Mr. Aron’s previous tenure as a Deputy District Attorney, he and his legal team have the knowledge and understanding of the California justice system that gives their clients an advantage in court.

Contact our firm today to set up a confidential case evaluation and learn what your best next steps should be. You can reach us online or by phone at (805) 500-7745 to take this first crucial step in your DUI case right away.