The Risk of Repeat DUI’s in California

Let’s get real. Drinking and driving is illegal in California, period. This means that when you get pulled over, depending on the circumstances and your attitude, things can go from bad to worse lightning fast. As you know, that is not a comfortable position, being at the mercy of the police. Although we all know the best way to avoid a DUI is to NEVER drink and drive, if you find yourself in the compromising and scary position of being charged with your first DUI, don’t be your own smart guy and no-it-all; call an attorney who specializes in DUI defense. Now let’s get even more real… as real as it gets… possible prison real. Repeat DUI’s are serious; in fact, they absolutely can turn your life inside out and upside down in ways you can’t imagine. The penalties for repeat DUI offenders are simply merciless and life-altering in the state of California. As you commit one, then two, then three, then four, your legal representation becomes more and more critical. Look, whether you are facing your first possible DUI conviction, or you are a repeat offender, it is essential that you know what the penalties are if you repeat.

What Are the Penalties for DUI’s in California

If you’re asking this question, then you probably need a DUI defense attorney for yourself or your loved one. Navigating the legal world of DUI’s can be quite convoluted, depending on the specific circumstances. There are many different ways your case can go sideways, so being as informed as possible and having competent legal representation will give you an advantage during the stressful court process. Getting informed starts with knowing what a misdemeanor DUI can mean for you, in terms of penalties, such as license suspension, fines, jail time, DUI school attendance requirements, ignition interlock device requirements, probation time, etc, not to mention subsequent DUI offenses moving forward. Just to be crystal clear, if you are stopped for ANY reason by a police officer in the state of California, and your blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) is over .08%, you can be charged with a DUI. FYI:  reaching the .08% BAC level is unbelievably easier than you may think, so it should be a priority for you to know how many and what types of alcoholic beverages  have the potential to bring you to the illegal mark, as well as the possible physical and mental effects that various levels of your BAC can induce.

How Serious Is a First Offense DUI Conviction

Well, as you may assume, the first offense DUI is the most lenient, in terms of penalties and punishment, so let’s all agree to have this be your last. It is in the misdemeanor category but can easily become a felony if the accident caused great bodily injury or death to someone else. A common misnomer is that the driver’s blood alcohol content can also be grounds for a felony DUI. Not true. Although any DUI charge can carry a felony conviction, depending on the specifics of the case, for the purposes of this article, let’s deal simply with standard, run-of-the-mill DUI’s, for lack of more sensitive wording, that don’t result in any serious injuries to another person. That being said, your first offense DUI conviction can include the following penalties:  imprisonment of up to six months in jail, a six-month driver’s license suspension, possible ignition interlock device (IID) requirement, mandatory attendance to a driver under the influence school, plus more, but I think this is enough to impress upon you the severity of needing a quality attorney to be your trusted legal guide.

 How Serious Is a Second Offense DUI Conviction

Okay… if you’re reading this section because you’ve committed your second DUI offense, then read carefully; the penalties only get harsher from here. Getting one DUI can be an outlier for any individual person, but two DUI charges changes the picture, wouldn’t you agree? Forgive me, because I’m not trying to be your mother, but this is the time to seriously check yourself. The penalties for a second DUI offense are significantly stronger. The reason for this stems from the societal concern over repeat offenders. Let’s just get to the penalties for a second DUI offense. Now we’re jumping quickly to the one year in jail level, a 2 year license suspension, as if that won’t zap your daily routine and inconvenience the heck out of your friends and family, 18-30 months of DUI school, now a mandatory ignition interlock device when your license is reinstated, plus 3-5 more years of probation. In case a theme isn’t resonating with you, the tolerance for repeat DUI offenses is nonexistent in California, and the mounting penalties just pound away at your freedom and quality of life, never mind the whole jail/prison thing.

How Serious Is a Third Offense DUI Conviction

Think about it… do you really, in your heart of hearts, consider yourself a criminal? Probably not, but here you are reading about a third offense DUI conviction. Sort of makes you ponder, eh? Now let’s be honest, if you’ve been charged with or convicted of a third offense DUI, something is seriously amiss, right? Here’s the thing, regardless of someone’s DUI history and pattern of mistakes and personal struggles that have led to a third DUI offense, guess what… they still deserve and need legal representation. Therefore, finding an attorney who has extensive experience with repeat DUI offenders is key to you holding on to the freedoms that may be taken away from you at this stage. In addition, the right attorney will also help you stop repeating the same self-destructive behavior in the form of various programs. Why don’t we see how serious the state of California takes third DUI convictions. Now we’re looking at a possible 3 year suspension of your license and up to 16 months in prison (that’s right, prison, not county jail, and there’s a difference). Fines get real now, reaching up to $18,000 or more, and your ever-so-fun DUI school time will jump to at least 30 months. Oh yah, and that wonderfully convenient ignition lock device stays or gets reinstalled, plus the additional 3-5 years more of probation. It just keeps getting better for DUI repeat offenders in California.

How Serious Is a Fourth Offense DUI Conviction

I think I’m done with the editorial part of my approach to this article, considering we’re now in the fourth offense DUI conviction penalty phase. What else is there to say? The penalties are prison, you know, where hardened criminals spend their lives. Does the 4 year or permanent suspension of your license even matter at this point? Do the fines matter at this point? Does an additional 30 months of DUI school matter at this point? How about that annoying ignition lock device, etc., etc.? I’m thinking keeping your butt out of prison is what’s paramount at this point, not to mention avoiding the life-long status as a convicted felon and the loss of basic rights that are attached.

As you can see throughout this article, a steady theme is present, whether you’ve been charged with a first or even a fourth DUI, a top-level attorney is your best friend at every stop on the downward spiral that is the California DUI offense train. If you or a loved one is dealing with any charges relating to a DUI offense, please call now, before it’s too late.