If you have been convicted of a DUI charge in the past, then you know how difficult it can be to get your life back on track after being arrested. One of the most important things people want to know when facing second-time DUI charges is what kind of penalties they will face if convicted again. This guide provides information about the consequences of California DUI convictions and how long these penalties last.
California DUI penalties can be severe, so it is crucial to understand the factors that will affect your case. California DUI penalties can also vary based on how high your BAC (blood alcohol content) is. So let’s discuss the various factors that can affect your DUI case and what you can expect.
Keep in mind that you should seriously consider looking into defense lawyers to represent you in court. Many in California offer free consultations so that you can discuss your options. When you have qualified DUI attorneys in your corner, you stand a much better chance of getting a favorable outcome.
Charged with a Second DUI in California? Here’s What to Expect
If you’re facing your second DUI in California, you are likely familiar with the first-time DUI penalties. Things are much different for your second offense. While it’s true that you can still get an interlock system installed after 90 days if you lose your DMV APS hearing, it must remain in your vehicle for one full year. What’s more, you’re looking at your driver’s license being suspended for two years as a result of the conviction this time around. After the first year, you can have it switched over to a restricted license. If you agree to a DUI interlock, however, you can get driving privileges right away as long as the 90-day APS suspension has passed.
Other likely penalties include:
- Summary DUI probation of 3 to 5 years
- Mandatory jail sentence of at least 96 hours or as much as one year
- Fines ranging from $390 to $1,000 plus penalties assessments of approximately $1,000
- Complete either an 18-month or a 30-month driver responsibility program approved by the court
Since you will likely be out on probation, court in California always impose the following conditions:
- You will have to agree to take a chemical test if you are arrested again for DUI
- You may not commit any new crimes while on probation
- You must not drive with any measurable BAC
Not only that, but you may also need to take part in additional penalties based on the circumstances of your DUI offense.
- Participate in the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Victim Impact Group
- Attend AA (Anonymous Alcoholics) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings
- Take part in the ignition interlock devices program for up to three years
- Make restitution (if you cause an accident while driving intoxicated)
Although it is certainly disappointing, the second DUI conviction may be expunged. You can typically get this if:
- You were put on probation
- You successfully completed probation
Essentially, the expungement petition is submitted to the court and then reviewed by the judge. If the judge grants the petition, you can withdraw the guilty or non-conviction plea and submit a “not guilty” plea again. Once a plea of “not guilty” is filed, the case should be dismissed.
What is the Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol Content in California?
The legal limit for blood alcohol content in California is 0.08%. This is the standard throughout the United States and most other countries around the world. A person can be charged with a DUI if they are driving while intoxicated, meaning their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or over this legal limit of 0.08%.
There are many factors that affect how quickly someone’s BAC will increase to this level; these include tolerance levels, gender, weight, age, and more. It’s important to note that it takes time for your body to absorb an alcoholic beverage into your system.
The California BAC limit is .08%, meaning anything at or above this range is illegal. That said, you can still face charges if your BAC is below .08%.. Moreover, most states have zero-tolerance DUI laws for BAC limits of 0.02% or more for drivers under 21. However, California’s zero-tolerance limit for underage drivers is .01%. The same applies to anyone on DUI probation, regardless of age. Moreover, if you are pulled over and pass a breathalyzer test but fail field sobriety tests, you can be arrested and charged with DUI.
Can DUI Punishment Be Increased?
There are certain circumstances that, if present at the time you are booked for your second offense DUI in California, will increase your county jail or state prison sentence.
The most common of these include:
- Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15% or higher (less in some counties)
- Refusing to submit to a chemical test
- Causing an accident
- Being a minor under 21 at the time of your DUI offense
- Driving at excessive speeds
- Having children under the age of 14 in the car
What type of enhanced penalty you receive for any of these aggravating factors will largely depend on (1) the exact circumstances of your California DUI arrest, and (2) your criminal history (with focus on your prior DUI history). Clearly, a prior DUI conviction, combined with one of the above-mentioned aggravating factors, makes the pending penalties even more severe.
If you are facing your second DUI in California, it’s important to have legal counsel on your side. When you work with a qualified attorney, they will fight for the best outcome possible and ensure that you can drive to work with minimal restrictions. As long as you complete the court’s requests and don’t get into any more trouble, you can expect a smoother probation period.
Check for DUI law firms in your area and ask to set up a consultation to discuss the best course of action for proceeding with your case.