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What Happens When You Get a Second DUI in California?

second dui

If you have been arrested or convicted of a second DUI in California, you should be aware that the consequences are typically much more severe than they were during your first offense. Nearly all penalties—from jail time to license suspensions—will increase in duration and severity during repeat DUI convictions, and judges are also less lenient when dealing with repeat offenders.

What Counts as a Second DUI?

If you have any previous DUI conviction on your records in the past 10 years, it will count as a “prior” DUI in all subsequent arrests and convictions related to driving while under the influence. Certain other offenses, such as a wet reckless conviction, also count as a prior DUI. However, it is critical to note that DUI arrests (not resulting in convictions) do not count as a first-time DUI.

Like a first-time DUI, any subsequent offense will be handled by two different processes: the criminal justice system and the California DMV, each with its own set of penalties.

What Are the Criminal Penalties of a Second DUI?

When convicted of driving under the influence for the second time in California, penalties typically imposed by the court are as follows:

  • Three to five years of probation;
  • A minimum of 96 hours to a maximum of one year in county jail;
  • Between $390-$1000 in fines, plus additional penalty assessments that can be thousands of dollars more;
  • Completion of an 18-month or 30-month court-approved California DUI school;
  • Installation of an IID; and
  • A two-year driver’s license suspension.

What are the California DMV’s Penalties for a Second DUI?

The California DMV typically imposes administrative penalties upon a driver who has been arrested for a second DUI, even if there is ultimately no conviction. The California Department of Motor Vehicle is the only authority that can or will suspend a California driver’s license and/or give restricted licenses.

An automatic license suspension is triggered in one of two ways:

  1. As a result of a DUI California court conviction; or
  2. By failing to request a DMV hearing within 10 days of the date of the arrest, or by losing the hearing. This is known as an Administrative Per Se (APS) Suspension.

In the case of a second DUI conviction, the court-triggered suspension is 2 years in length. However, the APS suspension is only 1 year in length if there is one prior DUI on record within 10 years. If you submitted to a chemical test and show proof of installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), a restricted license may be obtained. With a restricted license, a driver may operate any vehicle with an IID installed for 12 months.

Unfortunately, if you refused a chemical test upon arrest, there is no way around a license revocation. Your license will be revoked for two years with virtually no ability to receive a restricted license during this time. Because of this, our experienced Sonoma County DUI attorneys say it is critical to submitting to chemical tests upon arrest in order to avoid the most severe penalties of a second DUI in California and have the best chance of expunging your second DUI from your record.

Contact an Experienced California DUI Attorney

Being arrested for a second DUI in California can be an incredibly traumatic experience for all parties involved. A second DUI conviction can quickly become a threat to your finances, freedom, and future if you are found guilty, and too often, individuals who are arrested for a second DUI are ultimately convicted.

In order to reduce your sentence and ultimately expunge your second DUI from your record, it is necessary to retain an experienced California DUI attorney to represent your best interests during your court hearings. This will give you the best chance to truly understand the process and reduce the hefty legal and administrative penalties levied against you.

If you or a loved one has an upcoming hearing and requires expert and personal attention to their case, contact The Law Office of Amy Chapman today to schedule a free consultation.

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Law Office of Amy Chapman

Santa Rosa Criminal Defense Lawyer

703 2nd Street

Suite 407

Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Phone: (707) 636-3207

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