Under California Law, it is pretty clear that driving under the influence is illegal. Most motorists also understand that any arrest of DUI can face severe and extensive consequences. However, you can still find some people being convicted with a second DUI even after suffering from the first conviction. Such a situation can lead to severe penalties if the prosecutor manages to convict an alleged person successfully. In that case, it is recommended to seek professional legal intervention to help in such cases. We at the Law Offices of Jeff Voll have the experience and resources needed to offer the best legal services to our clients within Los Angeles, CA.
Understanding A Second DUI in California
To understand the second DUI more clearly, you need to acknowledge what DUI means first. DUI is an acronym for Driving under the Influence. In California, it is illegal to drive a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content( BAC) of 0.08%, which is considered a DUI offense. For commercial drivers, the Blood Alcohol Content limit is quite different since it stands at 0.04%.
For a person to be convicted with a second-DUI offense, one must have a similar conviction ( first DUI) within a ten years range. This means that second DUI is a priorable offense meaning that it depends on whether one had a previous conviction of a similar offense. The penalties are quite different from the first offense and are usually harsher.
Penalties for Second Time DUI in California
There is a huge difference between how penalties are handled down in a first DUI compared with a second offense. The typical penalties that the court might impose on a second DUI offender are as follows:
- Summary probation for three to five years
- A minimum of 96 hours and a maximum of one year of incarnation in a county jail
- Mandatory completion of an 18-month or 30 month DUI school, which must be approved by the court
- Installation of an IID ( Ignition Interlock Device) for a year
- Suspension of your driver's license for a year, which is convertible to a restricted license that includes installation of an IID.
While on probation, there are a couple of conditions that one should consider. These factors are as follows:
- Avoid driving with any measurable content of alcohol in your bloodstream
- You should comply with any request for a chemical test if you are arrested with a subsequent DUI
- You shall not commit any other form of crime
Also, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you might have the following conditions imposed on you.
- Mandatory attendance to a Narcotic Anonymous or Alcoholic Anonymous meetings
- Restitution of every damage caused following your DUI
- Mandatory participation in the Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD) campaign
- Installation of the IIID on every vehicle that you own or operate for a maximum of three years
Possibility of License Suspension in a Second- DUI Case
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is the only authority that can suspend your driving license or give you a restricted license. The department can trigger the suspension or restricted license under the following circumstances:
- When the court convicts you under the VC 23152 (a) or (b)
- When you fail to attend a DMV hearing within the ten days provided by the department to have a hearing. This is considered as the APS suspension or the Administrative per se.
For a court triggered license suspension, the suspension will take two years for a second DUI offense. The court provides a leeway only if you submit to a chemical test within ninety days and show that you have installed the IID to be guaranteed the freedom of using a restricted license. With a restricted license, you can drive anywhere as long as the IID is installed in the car within twelve months.
If a driver was facing a second DUI and failed to submit to a chemical test, there are possibilities of harsher punishments, which include a two years license revocation which is not entitled to a restricted license.
Please note, there is no way around the IID requirement. You need to install the IID immediately to get a restricted license on the 91st day after the suspension begins. Also, before you get the restricted license, your DMV records should indicate that the court-triggered suspension had begun.
Possibility of a Permanent Criminal Record in a Second-DUI Case
A second DUI might end up going into your permanent criminal record unless the conviction gets expunged. Under California laws, one can get expunged from criminal offense if he or she:
- Was placed on probation and
- Successfully managed to complete the probation
With an expungement, the offender usually files a petition with the court and has the judge review it. If the judge decides on the expungement, this means that your plea of no contest or guilty has been withdrawn. From that point, you can re-enter the request of not guilty, and have the case dismissed in the end.
Aggravating Factors in a Second DUI
There are a couple of factors that can trigger additional penalties or punishment in your conviction. These factors include:
- Vehicle Code 14601- Driving on a suspended driver's license
- Vehicle Code 20001 – Hit and run
- Causing an auto accident
- Refusing to take a chemical test
- Vehicle Code 23582 – Speeding enhancement
- Vehicle Code 23572 – Driving with a minor or child in the vehicle
- Driving with a BAC level of 0.15% or more
Legal Defense for a Second DUI
There are several legal defenses that you can apply in your second DUI case, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. The idea behind the legal defenses is to reduce your charges and probably have the case dismissed. Some of the defenses that you can use are:
Claim that There Was No Probable Cause For Stoppage
For a police officer to stop someone for DUI, one must believe that the driver has committed a crime. Some of the aspects that define a probable DUI include swerving on the road, slurred speech, alcoholic smell, and failing to comply with the officer demands. The police officer should be particular about the behaviors exhibited by the suspect or have the court suppress any evidence presented thereof.
Poor Administration of Field Sobriety Check
A police officer is expected to conduct a field sobriety check at the DUI checkpoint once he or she suspects that a driver is Driving Under the Influence. However, if the officer fails to take into account some of the factors related to the sobriety checking, one can challenge the evidence presented to the court and have the case dismissed altogether. Some of the factors that can influence the sobriety check results include failing to take the medical condition of the suspect, the structure of the pavement, and following the actual procedure as prescribed by the law.
Claim to Have a Rising BAC
For a prosecutor to successfully convict a suspect with a DUI charge, he or she must prove that one was intoxicated at the time of driving. However, if the intoxication cannot be proven, then the court can dismiss the case.
Under normal circumstances, alcohol takes fifty minutes to be absorbed into the bloodstream, which makes it visible during the chemical test. Therefore, if you had just a drink and the police officer took more time than expected to carry out the investigation, your BAC level could have risen during the delay. Technically, it means that you were not driving under the influence, which builds valid evidence against your DUI charges.
Claim that the Objective Symptoms of Intoxication are Not Objective
Your arresting police officer might decide on your DUI through non-objective symptoms, which do not particularly confirm that you were DUI. Some of these symptoms included:
- A flushed face
- Red, watery eyes
- Strong alcoholic odor
- An unsteady gait
- Slurred speech
All the above-stated symptoms can show that one is intoxicated but can as well prove a particular medical condition or other aspects. For instance, having red, watery eyes might indicate that one is having eye irritation, cold, allergies, or fatigue. An unsteady gait might mean that one is lacking enough balance rather than being intoxicated. For that reason, if your attorney can disapprove that the symptoms are not related to your intoxication, then this can work out as a valid legal defense strategy.
Non-compliance with the Title 17 Requirements on Blood and Breath Test
Under the California Code of Regulations Title 17, particular considerations must be made during a blood and breath test. These requirements include:
- Taking a fifteen minutes observation on the suspect
- Administer the test properly
- Calibrating and maintaining the breathalyzer regularly
- Collecting, handling and storing the sample specimen properly
If one of the above requirements is not considered, then the test results might be tainted. Such circumstances provide a remarkable way to build a strong defense against the DUI charges.
Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
The fact that you are facing a second DUI does not mean that you will automatically be sentenced as provided by the law. You still have a chance to win your case or have your charges reduced if you involve a professional criminal defense attorney. If you are looking for an attorney with a reputation for winning cases, then the Law Offices of Jeff Voll would be your best choice. If you are in Los Angeles, CA, contact us today at 323-467-6400 and let us handle your case and exceed your expectations.