A second DUI charge can be a life-changing experience. While the penalties for a first DUI can seem severe, they increase significantly if you are charged with a second DUI within 10 years of the first conviction. An experienced Riverside second DUI defense attorney can answer your legal questions and help you determine the best approach to your case. You may be able to cite civil or constitutional rights violations or other procedural missteps that qualify you for an acquittal or case dismissal. If you know you made a mistake and are guilty of the second DUI charge, a good attorney can potentially help with plea bargaining and secure a reduced penalty on your behalf.
The team at My SoCal Lawyers has years of experience guiding clients through complex DUI cases, including those pertaining to second DUI offenses. We take time to carefully review the details of every client’s case, paying close attention to the circumstances of their arrest and how they were treated during booking. In many cases, defendants are subjected to civil rights or constitutional rights violations they do not immediately recognize. Your legal team will serve as a valuable check against police or prosecutor misconduct throughout your case.
Ultimately, every DUI case is unique, and the stakes in a second DUI case are much higher than in a first-time DUI case. Therefore, my SoCal Lawyers believes in client-focused defense representation, meaning we take time to get to know every client to provide completely personalized legal counsel for every case we accept.
How Is DUI Determined in California?
California police use the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement system to identify DUI drivers. If a driver is lawfully arrested for suspected DUI with alcohol, the police must administer a chemical test to check the driver’s BAC. Any amount above .08% qualifies as a DUI in California. The BAC limit is .04% for commercial drivers, and the state upholds a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21. This means that a driver under 21 with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system qualifies for prosecution for DUI.
It’s essential to understand the difference between a legally mandated chemical test and a preliminary alcohol screening. Most drivers are familiar with “breathalyzer” tests and other preliminary alcohol screening tests that police may attempt to administer to establish probable cause for a DUI arrest. However, all California drivers need to remember that the state’s implied consent law only applies to chemical tests following lawful arrests for DUI. Drivers are under no legal obligation to submit to preliminary alcohol screening,except drivers under the age of 21 and drivers on probation for prior DUI convictions.
It’s also vital to remember that you can potentially qualify for DUI prosecution for driving after using intoxicating drugs other than alcohol. If the police establish probable cause that you are driving under the influence of drugs, you will still need to submit to a chemical test after they arrest you. If the test reports detectable amounts of drugs in your system, you will face DUI charges.
One area of contention regarding California’s DUI laws pertains to arrests for suspected marijuana use. Marijuana is legal for adults to purchase and consume in California, and the state was one of the first in the country to legalize medical cannabis. However, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in California, even if you have a medical card. However, marijuana metabolizes very slowly, especially for regular cannabis users. Therefore, marijuana can appear on a drug screening long after the initial inebriation has abated. If you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, and you were not intoxicated when the police stopped your vehicle, you will need an experienced defense attorney who can help you prove that you were not illegally under the influence while behind the wheel.
What Happens If You Get Two DUIs in California?
California’s penalties for DUI convictions escalate with subsequent offenses within 10 years. Therefore, if you have a record of a DUI conviction within the past 10 years and are arrested for a second DUI offense, the penalties you face will be more severe than your first DUI. The maximum fine for a second DUI in California is $1,000. However, when you account for the penalty assessments and court fees that are likely to be added to your case, the immediate financial penalty of a second DUI can be severe.
A second DUI can also lead to a jail sentence of up to one year in jail. However, many defendants may be able to argue for diversionary or alternative punishment. For example, a judge may be willing to agree to house arrest or a work release program depending on the unique details of the case.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will also likely place a discretionary 12-month suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license after an arrest for a second DUI. This administrative suspension takes effect 30 days after it is issued unless the defendant requests an administrative hearing within 10 days of the DMV’s notice of the suspension. It’s important to remember that the DMV’s administrative suspension is entirely separate from any suspension issued by the criminal court. If a driver is convicted of a second DUI, the DMV will likely implement a 24-month suspension of the driver’s license once it receives notice of the conviction.
How Can I Avoid Jail Time for a Second DUI in California?
Your Riverside second DUI defense attorney can potentially help you mitigate the penalties you face after a second DUI conviction in California. When a defendant is guilty of the offense in question, their defense attorney may assist them with plea bargaining. The prosecution offers lighter punishments in exchange for the defendant entering a guilty plea that leads to a more streamlined court case. If you know you broke the law and committed a second DUI, your best defense option may be to have your defense attorney handle plea bargaining on your behalf.
It’s also possible to petition for alternative sentencing if you have a compelling case as to why jail time would not be suitable for your situation. For example, if you have a substance abuse disorder, the judge may be willing to allow you to avoid jail time if you attend a substance abuse treatment program or check yourself into a rehabilitation facility. If they allow this, they will most likely require you to submit proof that you completed the treatment program in question; otherwise, you may be forced to go to jail if you fail to comply with their compromise.
Potential Penalties for a Second DUI in Riverside, CA
The DUI laws in California can potentially mean a host of penalties for a second DUI. In addition, if there are any aggravating factors present in your case, such as injuring anyone because of DUI or an excessively high BAC, the judge handling your sentencing may present you with multiple penalties:
- A second misdemeanor DUI in California can lead to jail time of up to one year. In many cases, judges are willing to consider alternatives to jail time, such as house arrest, work-release programs, or other options based on the defendant’s unique situation. However, this is only likely if the defendant did not commit other offenses with their second DUI and is reasonable and respectful during all court proceedings.
- The defendant will face fines up to $1,000 plus penalty assessments and court fees. Penalty assessments fluctuate significantly from case to case. The immediate financial toll of a second DUI could be several thousand dollars.
- If the defendant injured anyone, they might face additional criminal charges such as vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and criminal negligence. These separate charges come with their own sentencing standards and significantly increase the defendant’s overall penalty.
- The judge may require the defendant to complete community service and attend victim impact panels. These programs compel DUI drivers to confront the family members of people killed by drunk drivers. For example, California judges commonly refer DUI defendants to attend the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers Victim Impact Panel.
- If the defendant has evidence to show they have a substance abuse disorder, the judge may require them to complete a treatment program and provide the court with proof of completion of the program within a specified time.
- Both the DMV and the judge can issue separate suspensions of the driver’s license, but these suspensions overlap. Therefore, the defendant can have their license reinstated on a limited basis or have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed on their vehicle for the latter half of the suspension period.
- Some drivers will face license suspension in addition to an IID requirement.
- Most drivers convicted of a second DUI will need to attend an 18-month DUI course at their own expense. However, in some cases, a defendant can agree to take a DUI course for a shortened license suspension.
- After license reinstatement, the defendant will likely need an SR22 for their auto insurance. This is a particular type of auto insurance coverage intended for “high-risk” drivers.
The most important factors for sentencing for a second DUI in Riverside are mitigating and aggravating factors. A mitigating factor is anything that works in the defendant’s favor and encourages the judge toward leniency in sentencing. For example, if the driver was arrested at a DUI checkpoint and did not cause any harm or damage, they are more likely to qualify for lighter sentencing than a DUI driver who was driving recklessly or injured others.
Aggravating factors have the opposite effect, compelling the judge toward harsher penalties. For example, if the defendant is rude or disruptive during court proceedings, displays disrespect toward the police or court officials, has an excessively high BAC, or showsa general disregard for the safety of others, the judge handling their case is more likely to maximize their penalties.
DUI With Injury in California
It’s important to remember that your potential sentence upon conviction will increase dramatically if you hurt anyone because you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You are not only more likely to face additional criminal charges in this situation but also likely to face harsher penalties. In addition to more severe criminal sentencing, you would also be liable for the civil damages the victim incurred.
When criminal cases involve harm to victims, the judges handling these cases often sentence defendants to restitution or compensation of the victim’s losses. However, this may not prevent the victim from filing a separate civil claim against the defendant for personal injury. The victim would have the right to seek compensation for any damages that restitution from the criminal case doesn’t cover, such as lost income from the time they must spend recovering from their injury, property losses, and pain and suffering. In addition, in the event the defendant killed someone, they are likely to face severe criminal penalties for vehicular manslaughter and civil liability for wrongful death.
What Can a Riverside DUI Defense Lawyer Do for Me?
It’s essential to know your rights in a second DUI case. Even if your situation seems hopeless at first, the right Riverside second DUI defense lawyer can provide valuable guidance and support, helping you build a solid defense. In some cases, your defense may need to focus on minimizing your sentence. However, if the police mishandled your arrest in any way or if any part of the criminal justice system violated your civil or constitutional rights, your attorney should focus on highlighting these issues and seeking a case dismissal.
My SoCal Lawyers can provide several vital legal services throughout your case. First, we’ll carefully review the circumstances of your arrest and booking. We’ll closely evaluate the police report from your arrest and listen to you carefully as you recount your experience during arrest and booking. If the police mishandled due process in any way, this could potentially be enough to have your case thrown out of court. For example, if the police failed to adequately establish probable cause before conducting your arrest, this could be enough to have your case dismissed.
Next, we will carefully assess the lab report of your chemical test. It’s possible that the police administered the test incorrectly or contaminated your sample. It’s also possible that the testing lab mishandled your sample or otherwise reported incorrect or unreliable results. If there is any doubt about the validity of the chemical test in question, we will help you explore any discrepancies.
When it comes to your court proceedings, our team will prepare you for each phase of the criminal court process, from preliminary hearings to sentencing. Remember that the prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in any criminal case. It’s your defense lawyer’s job to prevent them from accomplishing this. Ultimately, every case is unique, and you need a Riverside second DUI defense attorney who can help you determine your best available defenses.
Find Legal Counsel Now
Time is a crucial factor in any DUI case. You only have a few days to contest an administrative suspension of your driver’s license, and your preliminary hearing may be approaching quickly. Additionally, proving your innocence following a wrongful arrest for a second DUI may require physical evidence and witness testimony that will degrade in quality the longer you wait. Therefore, it is best to secure defense representation as soon as possible after an arrest for a second DUI in Riverside, CA.
The team at My SoCal Lawyers is ready to provide the comprehensive defense representation you need to approach your case with confidence. If you or a loved one was recently arrested for a second DUI, we could provide the defense counsel you need in this challenging situation. Contact My SoCal Lawyers today and schedule a consultation to get the answers to your most pressing legal questions.