A DUI (driving under the influence) conviction, for most persons who are convicted in this state, is an isolated, one-time incident. However, more than a quarter of those who are charged with DUI in California already have at least one conviction for driving under the influence.
If you are charged with DUI as a repeat offender, will you be able to avoid a conviction – or will the system simply presume that you are guilty? Will a California repeat DUI lawyer be able to help?
Every driver in the state of California knows that driving under the influence is against the law, and most drivers also understand that a conviction for DUI can entail serious and extensive consequences, even for a first offense.
WHEN IS A DUI CHARGE CONSIDERED A REPEAT OFFENSE?
Driving under the influence in California is a “priorable” offense, so if you have been convicted of DUI or wet reckless in this state at any time in the last ten years, another DUI charge will be considered a repeat offense, and you will face even tougher penalties.
California’s prosecutors and courts presume that DUI offenders should “learn their lesson” after a first conviction, but for some offenders, that is not what happens.
HOW CAN A DRUNK DRIVING LAW FIRM HELP YOU?
Whether it is a first offense, or if you’ve been through the system before, if you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence in southern California, get the legal help you need at once and arrange to meet with an experienced Orange County DUI attorney.
To convict you of driving under the influence for a second or third time, however, a prosecutor will still have to prove that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” There are a number of ways that a skilled DUI defense lawyer can cast doubt on the state’s case against you.
WHAT IF THE POLICE VIOLATED YOUR RIGHTS?
For example, if your rights were violated by the police in any way during a traffic stop, an interrogation, a search, or an arrest, your attorney may be able to have the DUI charge against you reduced or entirely dismissed.
When a police officer pulls over a driver in traffic, that officer must have “probable cause” to make the stop. Without probable cause, no traffic stop or arrest can legally be made.
In order to make a legal traffic stop, a police officer must either see a violation of the law (such as speeding or a defective headlight) or must believe that the motorist is intoxicated based on that motorist’s driving pattern and driving behavior.
CAN DUI TEST RESULTS BE CONTESTED?
If you were arrested for driving under the influence by police officers who operated “by the book,” your attorney instead may challenge the accuracy of any DUI tests, the reliability of the equipment used for those tests, or the way that the test samples and results were handled.
The portable breathalyzer devices used by patrol officers in California may deliver inaccurate breath test results for several reasons:
– Portable breathalyzers may not distinguish between alcohol and similar chemical compounds found in foods, mouthwashes, toothpastes, breath fresheners, colognes, and in some types of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
– Portable breathalyzers can also deliver inaccurate results for drivers who struggle with diabetes, hypoglycemia, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
– Radio frequency interference (RFI) can interfere with portable breathalyzer devices, and RFI is present whenever the police are using radios and walkie-talkies.
AREN’T BLOOD TESTS MORE RELIABLE? CAN THEY BE CHALLENGED?
The most precise test for driving under the influence is a blood test, but when a DUI suspect’s blood sample has not been properly preserved or handled, or if it becomes contaminated, the test results will probably be inaccurate.
When a laboratory that handles blood testing is not adhering to standard procedures, an aggressive Orange County DUI attorney will challenge the blood test results and may be able to have the results kept out of court.
Your attorney will investigate every detail of the DUI charge against you, protect your rights, advocate aggressively in your defense, and bring your driving under the influence case to its best possible conclusion.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR SECOND AND THIRD DUI CONVICTIONS?
The penalties for a second DUI conviction in California (in a ten-year period) may include:
– a mandatory ninety-six hours – and up to one year – in jail
– three to five years of probation
– a $390 fine plus fees and assessments that can total almost $2,000
– DUI school for eighteen to thirty months
– installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the offender’s vehicle for one year
The penalties for a third driving under the influence conviction in California (in a ten-year period) may include:
– from 120 days to one year in jail
– three to five years of probation
– fines, fees, and assessments that can total over $2,000
– DUI school for thirty months
– installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the offender’s vehicle for two years
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO AVOID REPEAT DUI CONVICTIONS?
Nobody’s perfect. We all know that anyone can make a mistake. But if you are charged with driving under the influence for a second time or a third time in this state, it is imperative to be represented by an experienced Southern California DUI attorney.
Second, third, and subsequent convictions for driving under the influence can seriously damage your employment prospects, your family, your personal reputation, and even in some cases your ability to find housing.
A fourth driving under the influence or wet reckless offense in California within ten years will probably be charged as a felony. A fourth DUI or wet reckless conviction within a ten-year period can send the offender to a California state prison for up to three years.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A TOP RATED DUI ATTORNEY?
If you are arrested for driving under the influence for a second, third, or fourth time, do not assume the worst and plead guilty. Good DUI lawyers in California routinely have charges dismissed and obtain acquittals for their DUI clients.
If you are accused of a second, third, or subsequent driving under the influence violation in this state, contact a good California DUI attorney immediately. That is your right. Make the call as quickly as possible. Your future – and maybe even your freedom – will be at stake.