If you are reading this article, you have most likely been arrested and are facing your third DUI offense charge. As such, you are probably aware of what the DUI process entails. However, as you know, the penalties of a DUI charge become increasingly more serious with each offense. This article is meant to: 1) summarize the process of a DUI; 2) inform you about the driver’s license suspension you will be facing; 3) inform you of the criminal punishments you are facing; 4) inform you about the advantages of having legal representation throughout the DUI process.
On another note, we want to make sure that you know we understand how stressful facing a DUI charge can be and how facing your third DUI charge can be embarrassing. We hope you know that you are not alone in this process. We have represented many clients that have faced third and fourth DUI charges. At the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm, it does not matter what situation you are in, our lawyers will treat your case with the utmost attention and treat you with the respect you deserve.
Additionally, remember that because every case is different we are unable to inform you the specific outcome of your case, and what punishments you will be required to face if convicted of a third DUI. You may already know that DUI penalties often differ from case to case, and can be influence by any aggravating and mitigating factors. On the other hand, our experience with these types of cases allows us to inform you about what occurs in a typical third DUI offense case.
DUI Process Overview
Although you probably remember a lot of the DUI process, we will recap the important basics below.
After being arrested for DUI, the arresting law enforcement officer will confiscate your driver’s license and you will be given a temporary license that is valid for 30 days. The arresting officer will also report your BAC level to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once you are arrested, you will have a 10-day period, including weekends to request a DMV hearing. If you fail to request a DMV hearing, your driver’s license will be suspended immediately after your temporary one expires. If you request a hearing, you and/ or your attorney will have the opportunity to argue against your license being suspended. Moreover, it will delay the suspension of your driver’s license until the hearing has concluded, and usually occurs after the 30-day period where your temporary license is valid ends.
As previously stated, you are allowed to have an attorney present at your DMV hearing. It is highly encouraged that you hire an experienced attorney to represent you at the DMV hearing. By hiring an experienced attorney, you will increase your chances of having your license suspension set aside and it will allow your attorney to question the arresting law enforcement officer, which can help the attorney build your defense.
After the DMV hearing has concluded, the criminal portion of the DUI process will commence. In order to prove the charges you are facing, the prosecutor must show that you were operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and/ or alcohol beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor is unable to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, you may be acquitted. On the other hand, if the prosecutor successfully proves you were under the influence when you were operating the motor vehicle, you will be found guilty and the case will move forward to the sentencing stage. As you may remember, the judge has wide discretion in sentencing a defendant. During the sentencing stage of the proceeding, your attorney is allowed to present various mitigating factors that can help reduce your sentence. After the judge hands down a sentence, the case will conclude.
The DMV Hearing
If you decide to request a DMV hearing, we highly encourage you to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney has the knowledge of what arguments to make during the DMV hearing. The following questions that will be addressed at the DMV hearing:
- Was there probable cause to warrant the traffic stop?
- Was there probable cause for the officer to arrest you for DUI?
- Was your blood alcohol content (BAC) .08% or greater?
- How many DUI convictions, or related offenses have you had within the last 10 years?
Once these questions have been answered and your attorney has argued on your behalf, the decision regarding your license suspension will be handed down by the administrative judge. The judge will decide to either, set aside your license suspension until your criminal case has been decided, or to begin your automatic three-year driver’s license suspension. Remember, the DMV hearing decision is not definite in regards to your driver’s license. If the judge does not suspend your license, it can still be suspended if you are found guilty and convicted during the criminal part of the DUI process. Alternatively, if the administrative judge does suspend your license at the DMV hearing, and you are acquitted during the criminal part of the DUI process, you may challenge your driver’s license suspension.
The Criminal Process Of A DUI
Like in all criminal cases, the prosecutor is the one who bears the burden of proving each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. To prove a third DUI offense, the prosecutor must prove:
- You were operating the motor vehicle;
- While operating the vehicle, you:
- Were under the influence of alcohol;
- Your BAC was .08% or greater;
- Were under the influence of drugs;
- Were addicted to a drug other than alcohol.
- You had 2 prior DUIs, or related offense convictions within the last 10 years
If the prosecutor can prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt successfully, you will be found guilty and convicted of a third DUI offense. As stated previously, your case will then move forward to the sentencing stage. During the sentencing stage, your attorney will have the opportunity to argue for a reduced sentence on your behalf.
Potential Punishments For A Third DUI Offense
The following list is not a comprehensive list of punishments for a third DUI offense. Ultimately, the judge has the discretion to hand down a punishment he or she sees fit. However, the most common penalties for a third DUI offense are:
- A fine anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000.
- Incarceration anywhere from 120 days to 1-year;
- Mandatory DUI education class attendance and completion;
- A probationary period anywhere from 3 to 5 years;
- Your probation is violated if you commit any crime, or drive with any amount of alcohol in your system.
- You might have to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle;
- You may also be required to contribute to the state’s Victim Restitution Fund;
Although these are the typical punishments for a third DUI offense, like a normal DUI, numerous factors may enhance your punishments. These aggravating factors are:
- Your DUI involved an injury or death;
- Driving recklessly, or at excessive speeds;
- Causing damage to property;
- Refusal of a breath or blood test;
- A BAC of .15% or greater;
- Driving with a passenger under the age of 14.
These aggravating factors influence your punishment differently and your sentence will most likely vary depending on the severity of your case. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney to stand next to you at every point in the DUI process. The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm have nearly three decades of experience defending all types of DUI cases. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact our office today to schedule your FREE DUI consultation.
How The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm Will Defend You
As you may already know, a DUI can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. The aforementioned aggravating factors and the specific facts of your case will determine how your DUI will be charged. If this is your third DUI offense, remember that if you are charged with another one within a 10-year period, the fourth DUI offense will be charged as a felony. No matter if it is your first DUI offense or your third, it is of the utmost importance that you do everything in your power to avoid a felony conviction. Our team of attorneys has the experience in dealing with clients facing felony charges, and has had much success in helping those clients avoid a felony conviction.
Although you are facing more severe punishment with a third DUI offense, our attorneys can build a strong defense for your case. The following are some of the possible defenses our attorneys may use:
Failing To Read You Your Miranda Rights
If the police subjected you to custodial interrogation after being arrested for your DUI, the police officer or officers should have read you your Miranda Rights. If you were not read your Miranda Rights, any evidence obtained as a result should be inadmissible and cannot be used against you.
Lack Of Probable Cause
To administer a DUI test, law enforcement must have probable cause that you were under the influence of alcohol while operating the motor vehicle. If they are unable to show enough evidence indicating that you were intoxicated, the breath or blood test may be suppressed.
Additionally, the police need reasonable suspicion to perform a traffic stop. If you were adhering to all traffic laws and were stopped, any evidence obtained after the initial traffic stop may be suppressed as well.
Rising Blood Alcohol
If you were arrested immediately after consuming alcohol, your BAC may have been higher at the time you were administered the DUI test than when you were driving. For this reason, a defense that the test did not accurately measure your BAC while you were operating the motor vehicle is available.
False Positive Test Results
Numerous factors can result in inaccurate breath or blood test readings. Usually, an individual’s diet or medical condition can result in false-positive breath test readings. Our attorneys have the experience and know what to look for in order to challenge your DUI test results.
Unlawful DUI Checkpoint
California law requires that DUI checkpoints be administered in accordance with specific guidelines. If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, we recommend that you consult with an attorney who is familiar with these requirements. Even if you were found to be under the influence, if the checkpoint was unlawful, there is a valid defense available.
The punishments associated with a third DUI offense in California depend on the circumstances of your case, and the available defenses.
If you are convicted of a third DUI offense in California, there is still a possibility to have it removed from your permanent record. The legal term for doing so is called an “expungement.” This option is only available to those who have successfully completed the terms of their probation. If you have successfully completed your probation, our attorneys can help you file a DUI expungement petition with the court. After the petition is filed, a judge will review the petition and determine if you should be granted or denied the expungement petition. If the judge grants your expungement, you will be able to withdraw your plea of no contest or guilty, and enter a new plea of not guilty. After the not guilty plea is entered, you case may be dismissed.
Contact The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm Today For Your Free DUI Consultation
If you are facing a third DUI offense charge, it is imperative that you avoid a felony conviction. The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm have the expertise and experience with DUI cases that will help you at every step of your DUI case to get you the best possible outcome.
An experienced DUI attorney can help build you a strong defense by collecting evidence. This includes getting discovery for your case and/ or subpoenaing witnesses to obtain testimony that will suppose your defense. An experienced attorney can obtain evidence in order to weaken the prosecutor’s case against you and improve your chances at obtaining a more favorable outcome for you.
Our attorneys have successfully been able to negotiate with district attorney’s in order to obtain plea deals for our previous clients. These negotiations can conclude with our attorneys negotiating your case down to a wet or dry reckless, which will not include as heavy of punishments as a third DUI conviction.
The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm is proud to serve clients in all Orange County communities.
Call our office today at 949-377-2280 for a free DUI consultation.