If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol for the second time in California, you stand to incur some harsh penalties. Here’s what you need to know about second time DUI offenses and how to protect your rights under the law.
When Is a Second Offense Charged?
California has a “lookback” period of 10 years. If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated two times in 10 years, the second offense is charged as a second offense. However, if you are arrested for driving while intoxicated two times in 12 years, the second offense will be charged as a first offense. Once 10 years has passed, your record “resets” back to zero.
Penalties for a Second Offense DUI in California
Unlike a first offense DUI, a second offense DUI does carry mandatory jail time. The minimum incarceration period is 96 hours, but depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, a judge can sentence a second-time DUI offender to up to a year in jail. Typically, the longer jail sentences occur when a driver’s BAC level is extraordinarily high at the time of the arrest. Fines for a second offense DUI range from no less than $390 to no more than $1,000. Occasionally, a judge may place a person on house arrest, as opposed to sentencing them to jail. Individuals who are convicted of a second offense DUI in California will be required to attend a DUI school for 18 months and will have 3-5 years of probation.
How to Defend Against a DUI
The most important thing you can do after being arrested for drunk driving is to contact an experienced DUI lawyer. Many people believe that they have no recourse if a police officer accuses them of drinking and driving, but nothing could be further from the truth. An attorney has a variety of defense tactics that may be used to reduce or dismiss the charges against you.
At the Law Offices of Donald J. Matson, we will give your case the time and attention needed to be successful. We will carefully review your case to find where law enforcement may have made mistakes or may have violated the law when pulling you over. We will use every resource available to us to fight the charges against you. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your case in detail by calling (626) 792-1900.