In California, DUI sentencing is known to be priorable; It can be used during future trials if a person is charged with DUI again. Anyone charged with DUI for a second time may face severe sentences based on the offense conditions. The punishment given to a person accused of a second DUI offense is more strict and harsh, and the prosecutors take them more seriously.
For this reason, If you have been charged with a second DUI, you should reach out to a skilled attorney for guidance. Having an attorney who is experienced in handling DUI cases and is knowledgeable on the California laws and is experienced in handling DUI cases may help you have your charges reduced or dismissed. Get in touch with us at The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney if you are facing DUI charges.
How Subsequent DUIS are Determined
To determine whether a DUI is a subsequent change, first or second, the California detectives looked back ten years ago. They will begin with the date you were currently arrested and look through your last ten years of driving. In case you had been arrested before for a DUI offense within that period, it will be included in your current violation. DUI that happened past the ten years do not count in your current offense, but in some instances, they may be referred to in case of conviction.
If the previous DUI was within ten years, the current charge becomes a second DUI offense. And if there are two prior DUI arrests, the recent DUI becomes a third DUI offense.
If you have a previous DUI case record, whether in California or other states, contact a DUI attorney from the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney law firm. Our skilled and dedicated lawyers will walk you through the whole process and fight for your justice. A second DUI offense has very harsh consequences, but you can win the case with the right attorney.
When Do You Receive Charges with a 2nd Offense DUI?
You can be sentenced to DUI in Los Angeles if you drive a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a BAC greater than 0.08%. If you are released from your first DUI, and within ten years, you get arrested again for a second DUI, you will be charged with a second DUI offense.
When you are convicted for a second DUI offense, most things will happen again during your first DUI crime. For example, you will issue your license and get a short-term one, valid for thirty days. Also, to stop your license suspension, you can have a DMV hearing request. After the thirty days, your short term license becomes invalid, and your consent automatically goes into recess. Note that Weekends are inclusive in the ten days.
It is crucial that after requesting the hearing, you contact a skilled DUI attorney. You can also hire an attorney before requesting the hearing, and he/she will bid on your behalf. A DMV hearing is not always about you telling your side of the story. It is an opportunity for your lawyer to gain more information on your detention and gather important information that can help him/her prepare for your case.
The Penalties for Second DUI Offense.
Being an antecedent offense, driving under influence offense penalties keeps increasing if an offender repeats the crime. In most cases, offenders charged with the first DUI offense end up being arrested a second time. Even with a slight mistake, such as a judgment error, judicial systems are strict on offenders charged with a second DUI offense.
If arrested for a second DUI offense, you can be charged with both administrative and criminal effects depending on your case's condition.
Unless one is convicted of the crime, most offenses do not have any legal effects. However, things are different with DUI offenses. In case you are arrested for DUI, you may face administrative penalties such as fees and suspension of licenses, regardless of whether you will be sentenced in court.
The DMV (California department of motor vehicles) are responsible for imposing administrative penalties. If you are arrested for a second DUI offense, your driving license will be suspended for a year by the DMV. However, your license may be suspended for two more years if you refuse to undergo a chemical test.
If the DMV suspends your driver's license and the judge drops all the charges against you, your lawyer can help you get your consent back. That is why you need an experienced attorney to represent you.
The second DUI offense falls under misdemeanor offenses. The following are some of the penalties you are likely to face if convicted:
- Jail time of 96 hours to one year — In some cases, the sentence can be converted to house arrest or community service.
- Summary probation of around three to five years
- You can also be charged with fines of $390 to around $1,000 plus an additional $1,000 in fees and sanction assessment.
- Attend a DUI school program of 18 to 30 months in a DUI school approved by the court.
- License suspension for approximately two years — To avoid the suspension time to go past two years, the DMV suspension authorized to overlay with criminal rest. If you can change the license suspension to a restricted ignition interlock device license, you can drive freely to any place as long as it is installed. However, the DUI offenders convicted for drug abuse must serve their first year before applying for the restricted ignition license.
- Have twelve months of installation of a restricted ignition interlock device.
- Thirty days of your one-year SCARM observation
The Secure Continuous Remote Ankle Monitoring(SCARM) is an anklet that you need to always wear for the court's period. The bracelet is supposed to show the amount of alcohol in your blood and carry out an automatic assessment every half an hour. The results are then displayed automatically on a local monitoring machine. After the evaluation, if any alcohol is detected, the court is informed.
For convictions with probation, you must follow the following rules:
- If convicted for a second DUI, you should be willing to take a urine, blood, or breath test.
- You cannot drive a vehicle if high levels of alcohol are detected in your blood system.
- You should avoid committing more offenses.
- It would help if you refrained from driving when drunk.
Moreso, if you are charged with a second DUI offense, you may be asked to observe the following probation rules depending on the conditions of your case:
- Take part in Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or (N.A.) Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
- If your DUI led to an accident, you should compensate the victim.
- Play a part in (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) MADD victim impact program.
- Place an ignition interlock device in all the vehicles you will drive for at least three years.
Second DUI crime can also fall under a felony. Which means you will be sentenced to three years in state prison. Nonetheless, according to the penal code 1170 of California law, the sentence can be served in county jail.
Immigration Repercussion second Time DUI Offenders
Being convicted for DUI can cause severe effects on your immigration status. Most times, first time DUI does not affect your immigration status, but a second DUI may have severe effects more so if there were provoking factors involved. Second-time drug DUI offenders who are U.S. non-citizens are likely to be deported, mainly if their drugs are controlled. It may also affect the process of naturalization.
Factors that Can Increase Second DUI Offense Penalties
Below are factors that may risk your chances of being sentenced to state prison or a county jail if they are involved during your arrest for a second DUI offense. They include:
- DUI with a BAC of over 15%.
- In case you decline to take a chemical test.
- DUI offense over the speed limit.
- DUI caused an accident.
- DUI with 14 years minor and below.
- DUI while on a suspended license.
- DUI when below 21 years of age.
- DUI involving hit and run.
The type of severe penalties you are likely to get for any of the above-listed factors will mainly depend on your criminal record and your first DUI conviction.
Fighting a Second DUI Offense
It is complex to defend a second DUI offense in court since it is a severe offense. That is why it is essential to hire a skilled attorney immediately after your arrest to represent you.
If an experienced DUI attorney takes over your case, he/she can outline an effective defense for your case, which is needed within hours. In preparation, a reasonable attorney will:
- Analyze collected data — The right lawyer will develop a robust defense and even look for witnesses who may testify to your case. He/she will gather evidence against the arresting officers. The testimonies could video from surveillance cameras or audio recordings. With strong evidence, your lawyer will destroy the officers' testimony.
- Writing and Researching Legally — Sometimes, the involved officers in DUI arrest may have treated you wrongly. A skilled lawyer should use this as evidence to support your case and gather up lawfully written motions. In case of these circumstances, you can file a pitchess motion to be heard before proceeding to trial. You are likely to win if your lawyer's inaction proves the police officer behaved in an uncivilized way.
Common Defenses For Second DUI Offense
A skilled and experienced DUI attorney can cross-check your case's features and evaluate possible defenses presented during your trial to reduce your conviction or withdraw all charges. Valid defenses include:
Lack of Credible Cause
A law enforcement officer has no right to stop you for no reason. If an officer stops you for a faulty car, he finds out that you are intoxicated, he/she can arrest you.
However, he/she needs to complete a credible reason for you to undertake the BAC test. It means he has to prove that you were driving under the influence. He/she can use behaviors like: if you are struggling to follow a conversation, if you have an alcohol container in your car, or if your odor smells of alcohol. If the police force you to administer a BAC test without a valid reason, the test's evidence cannot be used in court.
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion
It is unlawful for traffic police to pull you over without practical reason to be concerned. The OfficerOfficer needs to have a valid reason for being suspicious that you are doing something against the law to stop you. For example, if your driving is unstable, the OfficerOfficer has a reason to think that you are driving under drug or alcohol influence, and he/she has the right to pull you over. The reason being, you are not able to properly control your car, putting other drivers and road users at risk of a fatal accident/ collision.
However, cases like driving at night in unsafe places give the police no reason to arrest you because you are not violating the law. Any proof gathered by the police officer cannot be used in court.
False Positive BAC Results
Several factors can make the BAC results falsely higher. Factors such as if you are on prescription medicine, faulty equipment, your diet, and other medical conditions like acidity or heartburn can cause false results.
Moreso, the Officer, may make a mistake when carrying out the test, collecting and storing the results. It would be best to have a knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorney who can note any errors leading to a false result that is not lawfully allowed to be used in court.
Misbehaving at a DUI Checkpoint
There are set rules on how every DUI checkpoint operates and how officers should carry themselves in California. For example, in every DUI checkpoint, a supervisory police officer should be on-site to ensure everyone's safety and ensure everyone complies with the operation. Hence all drivers should be stopped depending on the set criteria. Moreso, the BAC officers have to follow the right procedure while carrying out the test and storage. If they use the wrong approach, the evidence will be challenged in court.
The Officer Failed to Read you your Miranda Rights.
You have the right to be read your Miranda rights when being arrested. But in most DUI cases, Miranda is not read on your arrest. But, when you are in custody awaiting interrogation, these rights must be read to you. However, if they take you in for interrogation without reading for you the rights, your answers will not be admitted into evidence.
You were not Driving or in Control of a Car.
If the detectives did not see you driving a car and there are no witnesses to assert they saw you moving, and there is no proof that you were driving, the defense may be accurate. Your argument could be that you went to rest in the car after getting drunk as you waited to be sober t6hen drove home. If you were arrested because an officer smelled alcohol when he came close to you could be an unlawful arrest since you were not physically driving under the influence.
Prescription Medication Defense
You could be arrested for driving under California's drug influence that blurs your vision even though the doctor prescribed the drugs. However, the police officer needs to prove that you were impaired during the arrest. Amere opinion is invalid. Moreso, if medication is seen after a urine or blood test, that is not enough proof that you were driving under the influence. Most prescribed drugs remain in the system for over a week after taking them.
Poor driving Does not Mean DUI.
Poor driving does not always mean that one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you were arrested in the name of driving poorly, you should ask the arresting officer to prove that you were diving poorly when they pulled you over.
Most poor driving cases are not out of DUI about the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Stable people too can drive poorly for various reasons, could be they were distracted, or they were on the phone.
In California, Watson's murder is termed a second-degree murder under penal code 187. If a prosecutor can show that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and caused an accident that was fatal and led to death, you may be convicted with Watson's murder. He/she should also verify that you had undergone the DUI program, had been convicted with a first DUI, or read a Watson lecture. Because you exposed human life to danger, it may lead to your conviction with murder in case of a future DUI. Moreso, the prosecutor must prove that:
- You deliberately drove under alcohol or drug influence.
- Your deeds put human life in danger.
- You acted with no care for human life.
- You were aware your deeds were threatening to human life, but you went ahead and committed them.
If the prosecutor can prove all that, you will be sentenced with violation of code 19.5(a)
The Penalties for Watson Murder are:
- Undergo a punishment of 15 years imprisonment in county prison.
- A fine of $10,000.
- It could also impact your criminal sheets. You will be sentenced to California state prison for 25 years if you commit a felony crime again.
If you are convicted of Watson murder, you are eligible for legal defenses like:
- You were not intoxicated while driving.
- The accident happened due to somebody else's fault and not yours.
- Your actions had no hinted animosity.
- The prosecutor or the arresting officer acted in an unprofessional manner.
Second Offense DUI Plea Bargain
In most cases, the prosecutor offers you a plea trial before proceeding to trial. It is because the prosecutors will always get a guilty judgment. In short, they offer you a chance to plead guilty, and in return, your jail time is reduced. It may sound like a good deal to you, but it is not always the best deal.
With an experienced DUI attorney by your side, they may negotiate the most reasonable conclusion for your case. Your attorney may also offer to advise on whether or not to accept the deal offered by the prosecutor. With the best attorney, your claim is not likely to proceed to trial.
In case the prosecutor is offering a deal that is not reasonable, your lawyer can agree that the case proceeds to trial because you may still win. When prosecutors are unsure of their victory in the test, they offer plea bargains. They may have enough proof of the crime if the case goes to trial.
Eligibility for the Expungement of a Second DUI Offense
Your criminal record for 2nd DUI arrest can be arsed from your criminal record as long as you complete the probation that you were put on. The process is similar to that of expunging any other criminal record. You will file a petition which will later be reviewed by the judge, and in case of approval, he/she grants you the expungement. Once the expungement is issued, you can exit your no contest or guilty plea and enter a no guilty plea, after which your case is dismissed.
Find a Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney Near Me
Kindly reach out to a DUI attorney immediately after your arrest because DUI is a severe CRIME and could cost you a lot. It would be best if you had an exceptional and experienced attorney for these kinds of cases. You need an attorney who will guide you and help you get through the complicated process and attain victory for your case. The Los Angeles criminal defense Attorney has all you are looking for in a DUI attorney experience, dedication, skills, determination, and knowledge. We have handled similar cases before and have helped clients attain justice. We are available 24/7, and our consultation is free. Reach out to us today at 310-935-1675.