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2nd DUI in California

After a 2nd DUI, you may expect that you've been through it all before and know what to expect. It is important to learn from the things you did but also to learn from the steps you did not take. There may be more at stake after a 2nd DUI but you may be able to avoid any criminal conviction after making one phone call to an East Bay DUI defense lawyer who understands the law and science behind drunk driving arrests in California. 

How is a 2nd DUI Different in California?

A second DUI includes a number of specific charges. For example, a charge for driving under the influence of alcohol and a charge for DUI drugs are separate violations but they both count as a prior DUI. For a second offense, driving under the influence (DUI) charges can include:

2nd DUI Under 23540 VC

Under California Vehicle Code Section 23540, there are increased penalties if someone is convicted of a DUI within 10 years of a separate conviction for violation of any of the above offenses. This includes a per se DUI, alcohol DUI, drug DUI, commercial DUI, injury DUI, or wet reckless.

DUI Lookback Period 

The DUI lookback period or “washout period” is the timeline when a prior conviction is considered as a second DUI. Also called a priorable offense, it includes any DUI conviction within 10 years of the second conviction, even if it occurs in another state. However, a prior DUI only includes convictions, not arrests that are never charged or where the defendant is found not guilty. 

For example, Jack gets convicted for drunk driving on July 4, 2010 in San Diego. On July 4, 2012, Jack was convicted for a DUI in Arizona. On July 5, 2020, Jack was arrested for a marijuana DUI in Berkeley. For the most recent charge, Jack could face second DUI penalties because the Arizona DUI was within 10 years but the San Diego DUI was more than 10 years earlier.

Wet-Reckless Counts as a Prior DUI

A wet reckless is a type of plea deal where an impaired driving arrest is charged as a lesser offense treated like reckless driving. However, the California Vehicle Code 23103.5 provides that a wet reckless is a priorable offense if charged with a second DUI in the following 10 years.

Penalties for a 2nd DUI Conviction

The penalties are generally increased for a second DUI but unless there was an injury involved or other criminal charges, most 2nd-time DUIs are still charged as misdemeanors. The penalties for a misdemeanor 2nd offense DUI usually involve: 

  • A minimum of 96 hours to a maximum of one year in jail, and
  • Fine of up to $1000

Driving Restrictions After a 2nd DUI Conviction

The driving restrictions after a DUI have changed quite a bit in the last few years. If your prior DUI occurred more than a few years ago, there may be increased options for getting a restricted license back with an ignition interlock device (IID). Starting January 1, 2019, California expanded the IID program statewide for most drunk driving offenses.

There used to be a waiting period for an IID restricted license but now most people convicted of a DUI can immediately seek an IID restricted license. For most 2nd DUI offenses involving alcohol, the driver will have to keep the IID installed for 12 months. After the suspension period, if there are no other violations and the driver has completed DUI school and court payments, the driver can apply to have their regular driver's license reinstated. 

However, if the court determines that the person would present a traffic safety or public safety risk if authorized to operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension imposed, the court may disallow a restricted IID license.

DUI School for a 2nd DUI Conviction

Anyone facing a 2nd DUI conviction is probably familiar with DUI school. Most 1st DUI school programs only require 30 hours of participation. However, 2nd DUI school is an 18-month program. This includes many group counseling sessions, drug and alcohol education, and bi-weekly interviews at the beginning of the program. This also involves a community reentry monitoring component.  

Probation After a 2nd DUI Conviction

Again, probation is familiar to most drivers after a prior DUI conviction. A judge can impose additional conditions but most probation for a DUI offense will include: 

Other terms of probation may require participation in a Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel or AA meetings. Probation for a 2nd DUI is generally from 3 to 5 years. Violating the terms of probation may lead to getting put into jail or other penalties. 

If a 2nd or 3rd DUI occurs during probation, the driver may face probation DUI charges under California Vehicle Code Section 23154. This includes operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.01% or higher. This may include additional penalties and make it harder to get a plea bargain. 

2nd Time DUI Defenses for East Bay Drivers 

A lot may have changed since the first time you faced a DUI and it is important to have someone on your side who understands the latest in DUI law and science. East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 37 years of DUI defense experience and understands how to approach each case for the greatest chance for success. Representing individuals in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local criminal laws, local officers, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay criminal defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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