If you have been convicted of a Los Angeles DUI offense in the past and are now facing a second DUI charge, your future driving privileges, employment opportunities, and more are hanging in the balance. The penalties for a second DUI conviction in California are significantly stricter than for a first offense, and thus, it is imperative that you avail yourself of a skilled DUI defense lawyer without delay.
Many of the laws and proceedings associated with a first DUI apply to all DUIs, such as the .08% BAC rule, .04% for drivers of commercial vehicles, Zero Tolerance for any detectable alcohol in drivers under 21, and the policies regarding the DMV hearing. For that information, you may want to consult our other service pages.
Here, we will focus on the penalties for a 2nd DUI and note where they differ from a 1st DUI.
Possible Penalties for a 2nd California DUI
Sentences for a second conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating drug, vary considerably in California based upon a variety of factors.
First, it is important to understand that your past DUI, if the arrest took place within 10 years of a second conviction, along with any "wet reckless" convictions within that same time span, count as "priorable offenses" that make DUI penalties more severe. Additionally, any convictions in other states that would, under California law, count as a DUI or wet reckless incident, also count as priorable offenses.
Next, realize that the DMV's "administrative" penalties do not replace "criminal" penalties. For example, the DMV will automatically suspend your license for one or two years after you are arrested on a 2nd DUI charge, but you could end up with an even stricter punishment if later convicted in court. If you get the charges dropped or win an acquittal, however, your license will be restored.
Different counties in California have somewhat different standard sentencing for 2nd offense DUIs, but the following is a good summary of what to expect as possible penalties:
- County jail time is mandatory, though some counties allow it to be exchanged for community service under certain circumstances. Sometimes, jail time can also be converted to "house arrest." Jail terms range from 96 hours to 12 months, varying based on blood alcohol content (BAC) level and other factors. Note that the 12-month maximum is twice the 6-month maximum of a first DUI.
- Three to five years of Informal Stay Out of Trouble DUI probation.
- A fine between $2,000.00 to $3,000.00.
- Mandatory installation at your own expense up to about $1,500.00 of an IID (ignition interlock device) on your vehicle.
- Mandatory attendance and completion of a State-approved DUI school for 18 months.
- A license suspension of up to two years depending on the facts of your case. However, this can be reduced, to a 90 day suspension with a restricted license granted after the 90 days suspension is over providing one wishes to enter a pleas of no contest to the 2nd time DUI.
Aggravated 2nd DUI Penalties
In most cases, a 2nd DUI is (like a 1st DUI) a misdemeanor offense. However, it can become a felony if you have four or more priorable offenses within 10 years on your record or if someone is injured or killed in connection with your DUI incident.
We will look at three types of DUI charges below: misdemeanor DUI with injury, felony DUI with injury, and felony DUI without injury. Then we will mention some other factors that can lead to an "aggravated" DUI.
- Misdemeanor DUI with injury
A DUI with injury is a "wobbler" that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the details of your case and your past criminal record.
If charged as a misdemeanor, sentencing factors include:
- $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 in fines and full restitution to all who were injured;
- A county jail term of anywhere from five days to 12 months;
- Three to five years of Informal summary probation;
- Your license will be suspended for 1 to 3 years, though a restricted license may be possible to obtain;
- 18 or 30 months in a state-approved DUI school.
- Felony DUI with injury
If a DUI with injury is charged as a felony, possible punishments include:
- $2,000.00 to $5,000.00 in fines plus restitution to all victims;
- Between 16 months to 3 years in state prison, varying based on the number of people injured and how severely they were injured;
- A license suspension period of up to 5 years;
- 18 or 30 months attendance at a DUI school;
- (Possibly) a strike on your record, pursuant to the California "Three Strikes Law" if Great Bodily Injury was alleged and the Jury found the allegation true or the defendant admitted the allegation pursuant to a plea;
- A three-year period with the status of a habitual traffic offender (HTO).
Also note that if a DUI leads to the death of someone involved in an associated car crash, it will be a strike on the violator's record and could even lead to life imprisonment in some cases. See below under Watson Murder and Implied Malice
- Felony DUI no Injury
A felony DUI in which no one was injured, usually (not always) reserved for those with four or more DUIs, may be punished as follows:
- $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 in fines, plus fees and victim restitution;
- 16 months to 3 years in state prison;
- A 4-year license suspension;
- An 18 or 30 month long DUI class;
- Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status applied by the DMV
Contact Us Today for DUI Defense
At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we understand the confusion and fear that surrounds facing a possible first-time DUI conviction. We also understand that many innocent people are charged with this crime in California every year. We have the experience to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. For a free consultation, contact us 24/7 at 424-281-3020.