Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Contact Us for a Free Consultation 510.785.1444

Is Jail Time Mandatory for a 2nd DUI in California?

You may have seen our page "Is Jail Time Mandatory After a California DUI?" The answer for a first-time drunk driving arrest is, "The good news is that for most people arrested for a first-time DUI in California is that they will not have to serve jail time."

Unfortunately, if you get arrested for a second DUI in Oakland or Alameda County, you may not be so lucky. On paper, although the penalties for a second driving under the influence (DUI) offense in California indicate not less than 96 hours imprisonment, there are alternatives. 

No one wants to spend time in jail, especially for a motor vehicle code violation. If you were arrested for a second DUI, you may know the drill. However, with each subsequent arrest, it is more important to have an experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side. After a second East Bay DUI arrest, talk to an experienced DUI defense attorney for legal advice. 

What Are the Penalties for a Second California DUI?

If you are facing a second DUI, you are already familiar with the general terms of a drunk driving conviction. The penalties of a second DUI are similar to a first-time drunk driving conviction but more severe. Penalties include

  • Mandatory jail time of 96 hours (in minimum 48-hour blocks) or 10 days to 12 months in jail
  • Fines of $390 to $1,000 (plus penalties)
  • Probation revocation fine
  • Mandatory completion of alcohol/drug program for minimum of 18 to 30 months (DUI school)
  • Suspended license for 2 years (with ignition interlock device (IID) restriction)

Additional penalties may include: 

  • Impounded vehicle (and impound fees)
  • Community service
  • Victim impact panel
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Individuals may also have to deal with probation again, from 3 to 5 years. If you already had one DUI, you may know what to expect. You can't drive and have any alcohol in your system. If the police pull you over, you have to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device

Don't forget the collateral consequences of a drunk driving conviction. After a DUI conviction, your insurance will likely go up, and stay higher for years to come. Going to court, probation hearings, and DUI school will take up a lot of time, taking time away from work, family, and friends. 

Do I Have to Serve Jail Time After a 2nd DUI?

Some drivers may have to spend some time in jail after a 2nd DUI conviction within 10 years. There are, generally, work alternatives to actual jail time.

If there were aggravating factors, the judge may require at least the minimum jail time, without special allowances to go home early. Aggravating factors in a DUI arrest can include: 

  • High blood alcohol content (BAC) (0.15% or higher)
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical test
  • Passenger under the age of 14 in the vehicle
  • Speeding or reckless driving

Some defendants may be eligible for work release, home detention, or electronic monitoring. Talk to your East Bay DUI defense attorney about alternatives to the mandatory minimum jail time for a 2nd drunk driving conviction in California.

What Is the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program? 

Some defendants may be eligible to serve their jail time as part of the Sheriff's Department work program. The Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP) is an alternative to jail time where participants can perform 8 to 10 hours of work in place of 1 day of jail. 

Funding for these programs can come and go, so check with your DUI defense attorney to find out if Alameda County or Contra Costa County is currently running a custody alternative program. 

For example, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department Work Alternative Program (WAP), allows for "offenders to be contributing members of society while fulfilling their court-ordered sentences." 

Participants are assigned worksites during daytime hours and receive day-for-day credit on their sentences. Work may include landscaping, cleaning parks, roadsides, and streets, or trash pickup. These programs are strict and you should reconsider them if you don't think you can show up on time, get yourself to the work site, or can't follow the rules and regulations. For most people, outdoor work is better than time in jail. 

How Can I Avoid a Conviction for a 2nd DUI?

If you want to avoid jail time, the best way is to avoid a conviction. Just because you were arrested for a second drunk driving offense does not mean you have to be convicted. You may not have been given a fair chance when you were stopped by the police. Legal defenses to drunk driving charges can include: 

Lynn Gorelick has more than 40 years of East Bay DUI defense experience and understands how much is at stake for government workers after a drunk driving arrest. She understands how to approach the individual facts of each case for the greatest chance of success in avoiding a criminal conviction. If you are facing DUI charges anywhere in Oakland, Alameda County, or Contra Costa County, contact Lynn Gorelick.

Serving The Bay Area

We strive to make the highest quality legal representation accessible and affordable.