Second DUI in Orange County
After your first DUI, you most likely promised yourself that you would never make the same mistake again. Unfortunately, some people will go through multiple DUI arrests during their lifetime. Additionally, multiple DUI arrests and convictions usually carry harsher penalties than a first time DUI. If you have been charged with multiple DUIs within a 10-year span, we highly recommend that you consult with an attorney immediately. After every DUI conviction, the chances of you receiving jail time increases significantly. Also, fines, and other penalties will increase as well. Finding a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can affect the outcome of your case exponentially. In most cases, there are defenses available that can result in the charges against you being reduced, or dismissed.
If your test results from your second DUI include a BAC level of .08% or higher, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for two years. This suspension can greatly affect your personal and professional life. If your DUI case involves a BAC level higher than .08% or higher, it is extremely important you consult and hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. The sooner you consult and hire an attorney, the sooner the attorney can begin building your defense, which in turn could increase the likelihood of your charges being reduced or dismissed. Your attorney could also begin working on the DMV case against you to argue that your license suspension should be set-aside at your DMV hearing.
The following information will discuss numerous issues relevant to a second DUI offense:
- The significance of being charged with a second DUI offense
- The second DUI offense process
- Punishments of a second DUI offense
- The advantages of hiring an attorney for a second DUI offense
The Significance of Being Charged with a Second Offense DUI Offense
During the past several years, the California legislature has passed numerous laws enacted to punish repeat DUI offenders. Essentially, the legislature has designated driving under the influence a “priorable” crime. This means that repeat offenders can be subjected to enhanced penalties for subsequent DUI offenses and related crimes. Remember, that DUI offenses have a 10-year “washout period.” A washout period means that only offenses that occurred within the last 10 years are taken into account when being punished. For example, a DUI conviction that occurred in 2003 should bear no weight for a defendant arrested for DUI in 2017. As stated previously, a second DUI offense within the last 10 years will enable the DMV hand down an immediate license suspension for a maximum of 2 years. This penalty is significantly harsher than the suspension period for a first time DUI offense, which is usually 6 months.
Second DUI Offense Process
The process of a second offense DUI is very similar to that of a first offense DUI. At the time you are arrested, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and issue you a temporary driver’s license. If your BAC was .08% or higher, the DMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license when they receive notice of your arrest. Similar to your first offense DUI process, there is a 10-day period (including weekends) where you will be allowed to request a DMV hearing. If you do not request a DMV hearing within the allotted 10 days, the DMV will suspend your license for 2 years after your temporary license expires. We highly encourage you to request a DMV hearing, in order to prevent the DMV to suspend your driver’s license automatically.
If you believe you will request a DMV hearing to challenge your driver’s license suspension, we encourage you to contact our office as soon as possible to schedule your FREE DUI consultation with one of our attorneys.
At the conclusion of your DMV hearing, the administrative judge will hand down what is commonly referred to as the “finding of facts,” and will also come to a decision whether your license will be suspended or not. There are two important points to remember about the DMV hearing outcome. First, the decision of your DMV hearing is not set in stone. If the administrative judge decides your license should be suspended, but you are subsequently acquitted of the criminal charges you are facing, the outcome of your DMV hearing may be set aside. However, if the administrative judge decides you may keep your license, but you are later convicted of the charges against you, the suspension will be administered and you will lose your driving privileges. Even so, the DMV hearing is important because your attorney will learn information about the case, and it will apprise him or her of the amount and strength of the evidence against you.
When the DMV hearing is over, the criminal process of your DUI offense will commence. At any point before trial begins, the prosecution may offer what is commonly known as a “plea bargain.” A plea bargain is a deal that the prosecutor negotiates with you, where you agree to plead guilty to a certain charge, in exchange for a lesser sentence than you could during trial. Our team of attorneys can help you navigate the process of a plea bargain, and will be able to correctly advise you when accepting any sort of plea deal is truly the best thing for you. If you decide to accept the plea bargain offered to you, the criminal proceeding will end and you will have to serve the sentence you agreed to within your plea deal. On the other hand, if you decide to reject the plea deal, or if you were never offered one, your case will go to trial. At trial, the prosecutor has the burden to prove you were driving under the influence beyond a reasonable doubt. As you may remember from your first DUI case, the elements required to prove a DUI include:
- You were the one operating a vehicle;
- While operating the vehicle:
- You were under the influence of alcohol;
- You were under the influence of drugs;
- Your BAC was .08% or greater; or
- You were addicted to a drug.
Also, to show that this is your second DUI offense, the prosecutor is required to prove that you were convicted of a previous DUI within the last 10 years. This additional DUI incident can be a wet reckless, first offense DUI, or an aggravated DUI.
If all of these elements are proven beyond a reasonable doubt, you will be found guilty and the guilt part of the trial will conclude.
Subsequently, the sentencing part of the trial will commence. During this part of the trial, the judge has the utmost discretion in deciding the punishment you will face. At this point of the trial, any mitigating or aggravating factors will be introduced and taken into account. Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney next to you at every stage of this process can affect the punishments you will receive exponentially. At the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm, we devote our time to carefully and diligently defend the rights of our clients, and will work to obtain the best possible outcome for you.
Second DUI Offense Punishments
Unfortunately, the punishments for a second DUI offense can be significantly more serious than that of those for a first offense DUI. That being said, the judge has discretion to determine what the appropriate sentence is in each case. Having an attorney to argue on your behalf can help obtain a favorable sentence. Usually, the punishments for a second DUI offense include:
- Driver’s license suspension for a maximum of up to 2 years;
- Anywhere from 90 days to one-year incarceration;
- A fine anywhere from $390 and $1,000;
- A probation period of 3 to 5 years; and
- Required completion of DUI education classes for an 18-month period.
Although these are the usual punishments, the sentence one receives depends on the facts of the specific case. The California courts do not take a second DUI offense lightly, as can be seen from the list of punishments stated above. The attorneys at our firm have plenty of experience defending second offense DUI charges and will make sure that your rights are protected at every stage of this process.
The Advantages of Hiring an Attorney for a Second DUI Offense
As stated above, the presence of an experienced DUI attorney during your second DUI offense process can have several advantages. Your attorney can assist you during the DMV hearing to help prevent your license being suspended, and can argue several defenses on your behalf during the criminal process of your DUI where the attorney can get your charges reduced, or dismissed. These defenses include:
Unlawful Traffic Stop Due to Lack of Probable Cause
Police officers are not allowed to perform a traffic stop without any probable cause. The US Constitution mandates that police officers have a valid reason to believe you are committing a crime prior to pulling you over. You may already be aware that police officers can stop you for any number of traffic violations, including: speeding, broken head or tail light, or an expired registration. These reasons do not necessarily have to indicate that you are driving impaired. However, sometimes, police officers stop a driver they believe is under he influence based on the time they are on the road or the location where the individual is driving. A stop based on the time of day or location where the individual is driving is not a valid reason to stop a car and should not be admissible.
Lack of Probable Cause to Support the Administering of the DUI Test
Even if the police officers have a valid reason to stop your vehicle, they still need probable cause to administer a DUI test. For there to be a showing of probable cause there needs to be a showing of “articulable facts” that show you might be under the influence. Common examples of probable cause are bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or the presence of the smell of alcohol on your breath. Similar to the initial traffic stop, if a DUI test is administered unlawfully, the evidence resulting from the test should be inadmissible. Most defendants assume that the presence of a BAC level of .08% or higher that they have no defense available to them. On the contrary, California law requires that officers administering the DUI test adhere to specific guidelines. If the officers gather the evidence in violation of these specific guidelines, they should not be able to use the evidence against you.
Failing to Read You Your Miranda Rights
Many people are familiar with what the Miranda Rights are because of television and movies. Remember, that most DUI cases will not, and do not require an individual’s Miranda Rights to be read. Even so, there are some situations where an individual’s Miranda Rights are required to be read. The reading of an individual’s Miranda Rights is required when the individual has been subjected to custodial interrogation. During a DUI case, this requirement can only be triggered if the individual is interrogated after he or she has been arrested. If you were interrogated after being arrested and were not apprised of your Miranda Rights, any evidence obtained by law enforcement as a result of the interrogation should be inadmissible.
False Positive Breath or Blood Test Results
In some cases, the results from a blood or breath test will not be accurate. Certain factors can result in a false positive. These factors include an individual’s diet, medical conditions, or even faulty test instruments. In addition to these factors, law enforcement is required to follow strict guidelines on how blood and breath test samples should be collected and stored, as well as how the testing instruments should be maintained. The attorneys at our firm have nearly three decades of experience dealing with DUI cases. With that experience, our attorneys know what to look for in cases where the blood or breath tests might be inaccurate.
Unlawful DUI Checkpoint
California law requires that law enforcement perform DUI checkpoints in accordance with specific regulations. If you were detained at a DUI checkpoint, there is a possibility it was not a lawful checkpoint. The specific regulations require they are set up in a reasonable or safe manner, and that the supervising officer makes all of the checkpoint’s operational decisions. Moreover, the guidelines require that the selection criteria for stopping vehicles are unbiased and previously determined.
The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm have been successful in arguing these defenses in numerous DUI cases. Vincent Ross, our firm’s chief trial attorney, has nearly three decades of experience representing those facing DUI charges and obtaining desirable results. Investing in an Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm attorney is an investment to get you the best possible outcome for your case.
If you are facing a second DUI offense charge, do not take the situation lightly. We encourage you to make sure your attorney has the resources to properly handle your case with the attention it deserves. Our lawyers understand how serious an impact the DUI process can have on your life.
Our team of experienced attorneys can help you avoid the unfavorable punishments associated with a second DUI offense conviction. We proudly serve clients across all Orange County neighborhoods.
Call us today at 949-377-2280 to schedule your FREE consultation today.