Second-Time Offenders and California's DUI Penalties
Posted By Law Offices of Scott Henry || Aug 10, 2016
Your first DUI offense may have been an accident, but being caught a second time is considered much worse in the eyes of the law. If you've been charged with a second-time offense, it's critical to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. In fact, Scott D. Henry is a leading defender of citizens accused of driving under the influence. Whether you live in Riverside or Orange Counties, take a close look at the penalties associated with a second offense.
Minimum and Maximum Penalties
If you face the court on a second-time offense, the judge will weigh several factors. Details regarding the pullover sequence, your reputation and other factors will all combine into potential penalties in your case. These penalties range from generous and minimal to long-term and damaging. Consider these minimum- and maximum-penalty ranges, including:
- Four to 365 days in jail
- Three to five years of probation
- Fines between $390 and $1,000
- Suspended license for up to two years
- Eighteen to 30 months of California driving-under-the-influence school
Because one, small detail can quickly change a minimum penalty into a maximum type, you need a strong criminal defense lawyer by your side. Our law firm has experience in nearly every court in Southern California.
Negotiating the Penalty Types
It's the job of the prosecutors to make you an example for other citizens. In most cases, prosecutors will seek the maximum penalty to prove a point about not driving under the influence. You'll need a lawyer who knows the California law inside and out. Each case is unique, and details will help your defense secure minimum penalties. Consider these important case details, such as:
- Property damage involved
- Injuries or deaths as a result of your driving
- Children present at the scene
If your intoxication situation was relatively uneventful, minimum penalties can be applied without too much effort. Without a good lawyer by your side, however, even simple cases can be lost to the prosecution.
Cause for Harsh Penalties
Your case might be complicated by several known factors. Harsh penalties are often imposed when these issues are part of the charge, including:
- Blood alcohol content exceeding 0.15 percent
- Child under age 14 inside the vehicle
- Driving without a current license
- Inflicting injury or death on another person
It's not just the penalties that become harsher but also the type of charge. A misdemeanor can quickly turn into a felony if bodily injury is involved. For this reason alone, a strong defense team is necessary. We can put all of our efforts into your case in order to fight off a felony charge.
Controlling Driving Privileges
If you have a solid defense team, it's possible to receive a restricted license while fighting a second-time intoxication offense. However, the court still needs proof that you're driving sober. A judge can request for an ignition interlock to be installed on your car. These calibrated devices require your sober breath before the engine will turn over. Some devices can even have restrictions on the destination, such as a cocktail bar instead of your work address.
Think of the ignition interlock device as a way to prove yourself to the court. Every time that you have a sober drive to an approved destination, you gain trust with the judge. These sober readings are recorded in order to show your compliance with the court too.
Defining Second Offenses
Many drivers may be in serious trouble if California didn't define what a second offense is regarding driving-under-the-influence charges. You may have received a first-time conviction when you were 20 years old, but now a second conviction is pending as you turn 50 years old. By California's standards, a second offense is only possible if the first offense occurred in the past 10 years.
Another way prosecutors can define your second offense is if you had a charge leveled against you in another state. If that state's intoxication charges match California's bylaws, it's considered a first offense that counts toward a second one if applicable.
Contact Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County's leading DUI defense law firm at 888-900-0951 today. Our attorney team can help you wade through the legal system and emerge successful. Don't let that intoxication charge turn into a conviction. Our team can fight for your rights today.