Third Time DUI: What To Expect

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THIRD TIME DUI: WHAT TO EXPECT

DUI Dismissed

If you have a third time DUI charge pending, you need to know what to expect from the courts.  You also should know the DMV punishment for third time DUIs, and what you can do to help your situation. This page focuses on a Third Time DUI: What To Expect.

There is a saying in the world of criminal defense, made into law, that “three strikes, and you’re out”.  While you won’t be looking at the three strikes law, you are subject to substantially more severe punishment.  Third time DUI cases have mandatory jail time, and that jail time starts at 120 days. The maximum you can be given for jail time doubles, from 180 days jail for a first time DUI, to one year (365 days) for a third time DUI.

When is a case a third time DUI?  The law makes any new arrest subject to a look back of 10 years.  That is, a third time DUI exists if there are two convictions 10 years before the current arrest, and that conviction is for DUI or any alcohol related driving offense (like a wet reckless).  Out of state DUI convictions count as a prior, in most cases.

THIRD TIME DUI: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE COURT

To prove a THIRD time DUI in court, the prosecutor must show, with admissible evidence, the following:

(1) That you were driving a motor vehicle, (2) while you were either under the influence of alcohol, or a drug or drugs, or any combination, or (3) were above a .08% at the time of driving.

They also have to certify (4) that you have two priors within 10 years.

Often, prosecutors and defense attorneys can enter into a plea bargain that charges a lower, non driving offense.  Or they can strike the prior conviction allegations.  However, if it stays as a third time DUI offense, currently here in Orange County, you are looking at the following from the court:

  • Five years of summary probation;
  • Fines and fees of over $2,000;
  • An alcohol school of 18 months in length; and
  • 180 or more days of Orange County Jail.

The exact jail time offered will depend on the facts of the case.  Note that the minimum is 120, but the prosecutor usually asks for 180 or more. The Orange County DA will usually want a DNA sample from any convictions, and want you to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) program.  The 180 days will go higher if there are any sentencing enhancements:

  • an allegation that you were speeding while DUI;
  • any allegation that you were at or above double the legal limit of .16%;
  • children or minors (anyone under 18) in the vehicle;
  • an accident.

The prosecutors will typically add another 30 days for any of the above factors, or if any of your priors are particularly recent, or occurred while you were on probation.  With especially bad accidents, or high blood alcohol levels, often they will start at 210 days and offer higher from there.

THIRD TIME DUI: RECOMMENDED STRATEGY

The judge can be used to obtain a court offer and avoid, or bypass, the prosecutor’s offer.  The judge can offer anything up to the mandatory minimum terms for the offense.

Note that with jail time, the best strategy is to negotiate it as low as possible, or as close to no jail as possible.  From there, the strategy is usually to convert it to any one of a number of alternative sentencing options.  Alternative sentencing will get you credit for jail time, but not actually do any time in Orange County Jail.

ANOTHER STRATEGIC OPTION: DUI COURT

The Orange County Superior Court system runs a program called DUI court.  Based upon the successful Drug Court diversion program, this program combines treatment, probation, education, and monitoring and goal progression and rewards, and electronic monitoring.  This is a good option for you or any third time DUI offenders, despite the heavy burden of all the appointments required.  Those that participate in DUI court will do no actual jail time.

THIRD TIME DUI: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE DMV

DUI California DMV

With the DMV, you have the right to a DMV hearing, as long as you or an Orange County DUI Attorney requests one within 10 days of your arrest.  However, if you lose the hearing, or do not request one within 10 days, you get a suspension.

HOW LONG DO YOU LOSE YOUR LICENSE FOR A THIRD DUI?

Your DMV punishment for a third time DUI is actually a revocation for three years. There is a concurrent three year license suspension because of the court conviction, and under that suspension, you may obtain a restricted license in as early as 18 months.

However, in that situation, you must first have completed at least the initial 12 months of an 18-month or 30-month alcohol program (depending on which one the court imposes), and you must also have SR-22 proof of insurance filed, have an ignition interlock device installed in your car, and pay a $125 re-issuance fee to the DMV.

WHY SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A THIRD TIME DUI?

A 3rd time DUI is something you should get a lawyer for.  Because there is 120 days mandatory jail time for a third DUI, a lawyer is worth it.  Note that the length of the alcohol school increases to a 30 month program.  The stakes are much higher here. 

THIRD TIME DUI: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A DUI LAWYER

An experienced DUI Attorney, who knows the courts in Orange County, knows how prosecutors and judges handle cases here.  They also know the Orange County DMV hearing officers that handle third time DUI cases.  Additionally, they know the defenses specific to third time DUI cases, can help you.  We can analyze the case for all defenses, factual and legal.  We help present information about you and your situation.  We use our expertise to get the case dismissed or reduced if possible, and negotiate jail time to as close to zero as possible. Once that is done, we then convert it to alternative sentencing by getting you pre-approved and prearranged.

Contact our firm if you would like representation to avoid being over punished for your third time DUI case in Orange County.  We are here to help you.

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