If you have recently been arrested for DUI and already have two previous DUIs on your record, the potential consequences of a third conviction could be extremely severe. However, the idea that fighting a third DUI is hopeless is simply false, and with a good DUI defense lawyer your chances of a favorable outcome are substantially increased.
At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we not only have deep experience in saving our clients' licenses on easier cases like a first-time DUI but are fully capable of successfully handling more challenging cases as well, including third-offense DUIs.
If you have received a third DMV license suspension for DUI, you should waste no time in availing yourself of expert legal help. Contact us anytime 24/7 at Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, by calling 424-281-3020, and we will be happy to assist you.
Defining a Third-offense DUI
California Vehicle Code Section 23152 specifies that those convicted of a third DUI offense are liable to suffer additional penalties as compared to a 1st or 2nd offense DUI.
It is important to note that either an actual DUI or a reckless driving conviction counts as a "DUI prior" for the purposes of the statute. And both previous offenses must have been within 10 years of the potential third conviction, going off of arrests dates.
Possible Penalties for a 3rd DUI
A third DUI is still a misdemeanor offense, unless there are specific aggravating factors to make it a felony, but the common sentencing elements are relatively severe. They include:
- In most cases, a minimum of 120 days of jail time, but in all cases, a maximum of up to 12 months in county jail. If you refused the chemical test, however, 10 extra days of jail time will be added. Note, however that a good lawyer may be able to convert jail time to community service or house arrest.
- Three to five years of DUI probation.
- Registration as a habitual traffic offender for a 3-year period.
- Loss of your California driver's license for 3 full years. However, it may be possible to obtain a restricted license, and in that case, an IID (ignition interlock device) must be installed on your vehicle. An IID must also be used for 2 years after your license suspension ends.
- Completion of a state-approved DUI class.
- A fine of from $390 to $1,000. With fees, however, the total amount is typically around $1,800.
Sentencing enhancements that may apply to a 3rd-offense DUI in some cases include:
- Thirty extra days in county jail if a child below the age of 14 was present in the vehicle during the DUI. This constitutes "child endangerment" under Vehicle Code Section 23572.
- Sixty extra days in jail if you were speeding during the DUI.
- Additional jail time for having a BAC of .15% or higher.
- The impounding of your vehicle.
- In extreme cases, the loss of your license for up to 10 years.
When such aggravating factors as were mentioned just above were involved, it will be much more difficult to avoid a jail term as part of your sentence. A good DUI lawyer, however, may still be able to convert it or, at least, get the jail time reduced.
If any DUI, including a third offense, involves the causing of bodily injury or death of another person it becomes a felony DUI. If a prior DUI was a felony, it also becomes a felony. Only a fifth DUI is automatically a felony regardless of other factors, however.
Third-offense DUI License Suspensions
Like any other DUI, your license is confiscated and suspended by the arresting officer and you are given a temporary "pink slip" license to use for 30 days or until your DMV hearing (if you request one within 10 days of your arrest).
If you win your DMV hearing, your license is immediately restored, but you must also win your court case (if there is one) to keep it that way. If you lose your DMV hearing, a three-year license suspension is put in place.
It is possible in some cases to ultimately end up with only a one-year suspension if you submitted to the chemical test. If you did not submit to the chemical test, however, a conviction could lead to losing your license and being refused a restricted license for the full 3 years.
Defending Against a 3rd DUI Charge
The basic defense strategies used to defeat a third-offense DUI charge are the same as for any other DUI, except that an attempt may be made to "strike" a prior from the jury's consideration based on various legal technicalities (which would reduce the charge, in effect, to a 2nd or 1st time DUI).
Some of the main defenses used at Los Angeles DUI Lawyer include:
- Lack of probable cause for the traffic stop and/or arrest.
- The Miranda Rights were not read or the defendant's rights were otherwise violated during the arrest.
- The police report is flawed or incomplete or the arresting officer who filled it out has an untrustworthy policing record.
- BAC testing equipment was not properly used or maintained.
- The defendant's BAC level was still rising when tested, and thus, possibly lower than .08% while behind the wheel.
- The blood samples from the BAC blood test were not properly stored and may have been contaminated.
- The BAC count was barely at/over .08, and an independent re-test could easily render a lower result.
- The defendant was in a parked car when arrested. The officer did not actually see him/her operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
There are many other defense we use as well, too many to list them all here. We tailor each defense strategy to the specifics of each particular case rather than using a "cookie cutter" approach. And our familiarity with specific L.A. Area courts, judges, and prosecutors gives us an advantage in knowing which approach will be most effective in each instance.
In some cases, when an outright victory cannot be won, we use our negotiation skills to gain you a restricted license, a lower jail term or a conversion of jail time to community service, or to get your charge reduced to wet or dry reckless driving. The bottom line is that we never give up and always fight on to win for you the best possible outcome to your case.
Also note that it is sometimes possible, in a plea agreement, to ultimately get a 3rd-time DUI offense expunged from your record. Once your sentence and your probation have been fully completed, we can assist you in petitioning the court to review your case and expunge the DUI from your criminal record. If the judge agrees, you can then rescind your previous plea and re-enter a plea of "not guilty" so that the case will be officially dismissed.
Contact Us Today For Help
At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we have both the legal knowledge and the first-hand courtroom/DMV hearing experience necessary to maximize your chances of avoiding a third DUI conviction and of quickly getting your license back.
And in cases where a dismissal/acquittal may not be obtainable, we still fight on in your behalf and use our well seasoned negotiation skills to win you a favorable plea.
For a free DUI consultation on the details of your case, call us 24/7/365 at 424-281-3020, and we will waste no time in giving attention to your case.