The penalties for a DUI increase with each additional drunk driving charge. After a first-time arrest for a DUI, most drivers can avoid the minimum 48-hour jail time with community service and probation. However, the mandatory jail time for a 2nd or 3rd DUI can mean jail time that could seriously disrupt your life.
There may be alternative treatment options that could help people charged with a 2nd DUI or 3rd DUI to avoid having to go to jail. This includes residential treatment programs, where the defendant can receive treatment, counseling, and supervised residency to help them learn about substance abuse while they can continue working a normal job or going to school.
Mandatory Minimum Jail Time for 2nd DUI and 3rd DUI
The penalties are generally increased for a second DUI. Most non-injury 2nd-time DUIs are still charged as misdemeanors, with jail time ranging from a minimum of 96 hours to a maximum of one year in jail.
A 3rd DUI is still generally a misdemeanor. The penalties for a 3rd DUI within a 10 year period include a minimum of 120 days in jail, up to a maximum of one year. There is a big difference between 96 hours and 120 days. Spending 4 days in jail can be a major inconvenience but it may not be enough to disrupt your life. However, spending 4 months in jail for driving under the influence can be devastating.
Short Jail Terms Can Be Disruptive
California's drunk driving laws are intended to penalize drivers who break the law. However, drunk driving can involve substance abuse problems that may be difficult for the defendant to control. Putting the defendant in jail may not be a way to address the underlying problems of substance abuse or alcohol addiction.
Instead of rehabilitation, jail can make reintegrating back into life more difficult. If someone has a family, children, and a job, taking them to jail for 4 months can be extremely disruptive. They may not have a job when they get out of jail. There will likely be some serious strain on the family, and it may harm the person's reputation in the community. Jail may also offer few opportunities for the driver to address any substance abuse concerns they may have.
Rehabilitation and Residential Programs as an Alternative to Jail
Under California Penal Code 2900.5, in all felony and misdemeanor convictions, when the defendant has been in custody, any time spent in a rehabilitation facility or halfway house, all days of custody shall be credited upon his or her term of imprisonment.
Can You Avoid Jail Time After a DUI in the East Bay?
If you were arrested for a DUI in the East Bay, it can have a serious impact on your future. Multiple DUIs carry much more serious penalties, which makes it even more important to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side to help you avoid jail time and a suspended sentence. Contact your local DUI lawyer for immediate help. With more than 38 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the law and science around DUI arrests and will use her experience to fight for you.