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4th DUI in California is a Felony

If you're looking at this page, it is because you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI in California for the 4th time. This page will provide you with facts and information about multiple drunk driving arrests, charges, and convictions in California. As a felony, a 4th DUI should be taken more seriously than other DUI charges because of the long-term consequences of a felony record. After reviewing this information, if you have any other questions or want immediate help, contact our law firm immediately

California 4th DUI Laws Under 23540 VC

Under California Vehicle Code Section 23550, there are increased penalties if someone is convicted of a DUI within 10 years of 3 or more separate violations of any of the following offenses: 

Penalties for a 4th DUI Conviction

Most DUIs are charged as misdemeanors, with a maximum jail time of up to one year in county jail. However, as a felony, a 4th DUI conviction could result in prison time, including:

  • 16 months, or 2 or 3 years in prison; and
  • Fine of up to $1,000

The amount of jail time is one of the most significant differences between a 3rd DUI and 4th DUI. Spending months or years in prison will take most people away from their families and jobs, and make it difficult to get back to normal after being released from prison. Talk to your East Bay DUI defense lawyer about options for avoiding jail time after a 4th DUI. 

When Does a DUI Count as a 4th DUI? 

Not all DUIs are counted as prior offenses. In California, there is a “look-back period” or “washout period,” to count for prior DUIs. Under California Vehicle Code 23622, a priorable offense includes any DUI offense that occurred within 10 years of the 4th offense. Prior DUIs also include drunk driving offenses in other states and wet reckless plea deals. 

Consequences of a Felony Record

The biggest difference for a 4th DUI may be the designation as a felon after a conviction. As a felon, the defendant is placed in the same category as drug traffickers, money launderers, kidnappers, burglars, or other serious criminals. A felony record can also follow someone for the rest of their lives, making it more difficult or impossible to: 

  • Get a job
  • Get an apartment
  • Own or possess a gun
  • Pursue certain professions
  • Hold public office
  • Serve on a jury

Driving Restrictions After a 4th DUI Conviction

If convicted of a 4th DUI, the defendant will also be designated as a “habitual traffic offender for a period of 3 years, subsequent to the conviction.” The defendant's driver's license will be revoked by the DMV and has to be surrendered to the court. There may be limited options for getting a restricted license until the license revocation period is over. 

However, individuals convicted of a 4th DUI may be able to get a restricted license under California's expanded IID program. An ignition interlock device is installed in the driver's vehicle, requiring alcohol-free breaths to start and drive the vehicle. A breath that shows a measurable level of alcohol will not start the car and will be logged and reported to the court. 

Drivers with an IID restricted license may be able to drive if they keep the IID installed and do not violate the terms of probation for 3 years. After the end of the license suspension or revocation, the driver may apply to get their regular license reinstated. 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 4th DUI

DUI school after a 4th DUI is pretty much the same as DUI school after a 3rd DUI. A 4th DUI conviction requires completion of a 30-month alcohol and drug education and counseling 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 4th DUI Conviction

If the court grants probation, the court may order as a condition of probation a number of restrictions. Probation may last for 3 to 5 years. Any probation violations may result in additional penalties, jail time, or extended probation. Some of the terms of probation include: 

DUI Defenses for 4th DUI East Bay Drivers 

You don't need a drunk driving conviction to take away your rights to get a job, get an apartment, or own a firearm. Talk to an experienced DUI defense lawyer before accepting a plea deal. You may have a stronger case than you realize. 

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 DUI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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