If you have been arrested for a 3rd DUI in California, you probably have a good idea about what to expect. However, there have been some important changes made to California's DUI laws over the past few years. You should also be aware of some of the more serious consequences and what could happen if you face another DUI arrest in the future.
The most significant difference with a 3rd DUI is jail time. Jail time after a 2nd DUI carries a minimum of 96 hours, or 4 days. With a 3rd DUI, the minimum sentence is 120 days, or almost 4 months in a county jail. If you want to do everything you can to avoid another criminal conviction, contact your East Bay DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
California 3rd DUI Laws Under 23540 VC
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23546, there are increased penalties if someone is convicted of a DUI within 10 years of 2 separate violations of any DUI offenses. A DUI with 2 prior DUIs in the past 10 years will be charged as a 3rd DUI in California. Multiple DUIs include the following types of DUI charges:
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (Vehicle Code 23152)
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (Vehicle Code 23152(f))
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol (Vehicle Code 23152(g))
- Commercial Vehicle DUI (Vehicle Code 23152(d))
- Lyft DUI or Uber DUI (Vehicle Code 23152(e))
- Injury DUI (Vehicle Code 23153)
- Wet Reckless (Vehicle Code 23103.5)
How Far Does the Court Look Back for a Prior DUI?
In counting a prior offense, the court will only look back 10 years. This is known as the DUI “look-back period” or “washout period.” Under California Vehicle Code 23622, a priorable offense includes any DUI offense that occurred within 10 years of the 3rd offense. Prior DUIs also include drunk driving offenses in other states.
Does a Wet-Reckless Count as a Prior DUI in California?
Some drivers who get arrested for a first-time DUI are able to negotiate a plea bargain, to plead guilty to reckless driving instead of face DUI charges. A wet reckless is a lesser offense that is treated like reckless driving. However, a wet reckless under California Vehicle Code 23103.5 is a priorable offense if it occurred within 10 years of another DUI.
For example, Jill gets convicted for drunk driving on July 4, 2016, in Santa Monica but is able to plead down to a wet reckless. On July 4, 2018, Jill was convicted for marijuana-impaired driving in Phoenix. On July 4, 2020, Jill is arrested for a DUI in Oakland. For the most recent charge, Jill could face 3rd DUI penalties because the wet reckless and out-of-state drug DUI count as prior offenses and occurred within the past 10 years.
Penalties for a 3rd DUI Conviction
The penalties for a 3rd DUI are even more restrictive than a second DUI. The penalties can be even greater when there is an injury accident or if there was a child in the car at the time. However, most 2nd-time DUIs are still charged as misdemeanors and not as a felony. The penalties for a misdemeanor 3rd DUI may include:
- A minimum of 120 days in jail to a maximum of one year in jail, and
- Fine of up to $1,000
Most people can spend 96 hours in jail without a significant interruption to their life. However, 120 days is a long time to spend away from family and away from your job. A minimum of 120 days can cause a serious disruption and make it more difficult to get back on your feet after release. Talk to your East Bay DUI defense lawyer about ways to stay out of jail or reduce jail time after an arrest.
Driving Restrictions After a 3rd DUI Conviction
There are further driving restrictions after a 3rd DUI. If you are convicted of a 3rd DUI offense, there is a 3-year license suspension period. However, the laws on restricted licenses have changed a lot in the past few years. Starting January 1, 2019, California expanded the IID program statewide for most drunk driving offenses.
Drivers convicted of a 3rd DUI can get an IID restricted license without having to wait for the end of their suspension. This requires installing a device in the car to test the driver's breath before starting and while operating the vehicle. With an IID restriction, 3rd DUI drivers can drive with a 2-year IID restriction.
However, the court still has discretion to disallow a restricted IID license if the court determines that the person would present a traffic safety or public safety risk.
DUI School After a 3rd DUI
DUI school after a 2nd DUI is an 18-month program. However, DUI school after a 3rd DUI is a 30-month program. Program requirements include 78 hours of group counseling; 12 hours of alcohol and drug education; 120-300 hours of community service; and close and regular individual interviews.
Probation After a 3rd DUI Conviction
The terms of probation are likely to be more restrictive after a 3rd DUI, and possibly longer. A judge is not likely to offer lighter probation restrictions after someone has already been subject to DUI probations twice before. Probation terms may include:
- No driving with any measurable alcohol (0.01% or higher)
- Submit to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test during a traffic stop
- Not commit any criminal offense
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel
- AA meetings
DUI Defenses for 3rd DUI East Bay Drivers
You don't need preaching after a 3rd DUI but you can use an advocate on your side to fight for you. East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 37 years of DUI defense experience and understands all the most up-to-date changes in DUI laws and science. 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.