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The Penalty Differences between a 1st DUI and Multiple DUIs

The consequences of a California DUI conviction vary depending on the grounds of your arrest and prior criminal record. Whether it's a first-time offense or a subsequent DUI conviction, the penalties are severe. These repercussions can be severe enough to make it hard to keep your employment or secure sustainable housing.

Fortunately, getting arrested on allegations of DUI does not automatically result in a conviction. If you engage a lawyer to defend your rights, you could be able to beat a California DUI charge. At the same time, a DUI lawyer helps you understand the charges filed against you and their effects. This blog takes a look at the penalty differences between a 1st time DUI offense and multiple DUIs.

What You Should Know About Your First California DUI

California DUI crimes are taken seriously, and even a first-time offender could face harsh penalties. A 1st time DUI is classified as a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum cash fine of $1,000 plus penalty evaluations, a six-month driver's license suspension, mandatory DUI classes, up to six months in jail, three to five years of informal probation, and the installment of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID).

You should be aware that these are the bare minimum of charges that could be brought against you. California's DUI statutes are very unpredictable and could rapidly become confusing. For example, some circumstances can increase the penalties, costs, and time you'll spend in jail. These circumstances include:

  • A DUI with 0.15% blood alcohol concentration and above
  • Declining to take a chemical test
  • Being under the age of 21 when the offense was committed
  • Causing a road accident
  • Driving with minors under 14 years old (also referred to as PC 273a child endangerment)
  • Driving at high speed (denoted as more than 20 mph over the street limit or more than 30 mph over the posted highway limit)

The enhanced sentence imposed is determined by the presence of these criteria as well as the defendant's prior history. The courts will assess whether the accused has any prior DUI charges. A California DUI conviction could result in the above-mentioned consequences unless you're given probation. It'll also result in an obligatory one-year term in jail, with a possibility of community oversight, which means you will be required to undertake community service.

If you're an alcoholic, the court could impose additional requirements depending on the judge's decision, such as enrolling in a state-approved rehabilitation center. You could also be required to undertake a DUI course, a twelve-hour program that you should complete within three to five years of informal probation. If you do not attend this school, your driver's license could be suspended until you finish the course.

The worst part of a 1st-time DUI is the civil penalties you could incur. If you decline to undertake a chemical test, the courts could revoke it for two to three years or suspend your license for up to 1 year. You'll also be required to pay an additional $125 reinstatement charge to reinstate or restore your license.

Collateral Repercussions for 1st Time DUI

Aside from the penalties stipulated by California DUI legislation, there are other repercussions for first-time DUI offenders. The following are some of the most common collateral effects of a 1st DUI conviction.

Difficulty To Secure Safe Housing

Potential tenants are frequently subjected to a background check by property owners. When a background check is undertaken on you, your first DUI conviction records could considerably impede your efforts to secure safe housing. If a defendant has a criminal past, most property owners will refuse to rent to him or her because they see the accused as a prospective troublemaker.

Loss of Employment

Most workplaces maintain a zero-tolerance policy for DUI convictions. Although you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, your boss has the option of dismissing you if you are arrested for a DUI. This is a regular occurrence among individuals who work as drivers for different organizations. Aside from that, it could be difficult to get another job because your conviction would appear in your record if you are subjected to a criminal background check while seeking a job.

Professional License Revocation

If a defendant relies on his or her professional license to earn a living, a DUI conviction could result in him or her being barred from practicing. The nursing, pilot, and other professional licenses are among those that could be affected.

Effect on Custodial Rights

Following a divorce, drivers pursuing custodial rights could find difficulties obtaining these rights if they have a first DUI charge on their record. A California DUI conviction demonstrates poor judgment, and the other parent could use it to prevent you from receiving custody rights.

Loss of the Right to Vote or Own a Firearm

Although this isn't the case with a California misdemeanor conviction, a DUI charge involving manslaughter or serious bodily injury could result in the loss of one's fundamental rights. You could lose your right to own a gun or vote, which you could only get back by the state Governor's pardon, which is a lengthy and expensive process.

What You Should Know About California Multiple DUIs

Drivers are sometimes charged with multiple DUIs in a short period. This frequently occurs when you're apprehended for a DUI whereas another DUI case is pending. Each DUI case in which you are charged with multiple counts is handled and/or convicted separately. As a result, if all of your DUI charges are upheld, they could have a significant impact on your life. The following are some things you should know regarding California's multiple DUIs.

Multiple DUI Convictions From Various jurisdictions Can Be Consolidated

It is possible to face multiple DUI charges in different jurisdictions. If your counsel is from another county, they could try to bring every complaint as a first crime. However, the courts could learn about the outstanding cases and sentence you harshly. That is why you need to hire a professional DUI defense lawyer who has handled cases in most California courts and understands how to tackle this delicate situation.

You Have the Option To Request and Attend Multiple DMV License Suspension Hearings

When you're caught for a second or subsequent DUI, you have most likely attended or requested a DMV license suspension hearing related to your prior DUI offense. A DMV license suspension hearing is an important aspect of your DUI defense. Since the legislation allows you to seek and attend such hearings, you must be ready for every DMV hearing that your attorney schedules. A competent attorney can guide you through this challenging process.

At Least One DUI Case Would Require Dismissal

Given that a defendant will face significant consequences for each subsequent DUI, it is in his or her best interest to have at least one case dropped, preferably the most serious ones. That means you'll need to hire a lawyer who won't just take a plea offer but will strive to get at least one of the DUI charges dropped before going to trial.

Your Lawyer Should Assist You To Navigate the Procedures that Follow After a Guilty Plea in Two or More Scenarios

After pleading guilty to multiple DUIs, pursuing programs intended to be employed as strategic defenses could be difficult. Your counsel would recommend that you begin a program, such as a drug evaluation program, to utilize as leverage in your case. When you have multiple open cases, this could be difficult to implement, but your lawyer should use his or her expertise to devise a sound strategy.

It Could Be Difficult to Pursue Deferred Entry of Judgment

Defendants who complete probation can evade a DUI conviction featured on their records. To be qualified for a deferred entry of judgment, the final charge should be something other than DUI. In most cases, offenders plead guilty to offenses such as obstruction of a route to qualify for deferred entry of judgment. This could be a simple route for first-time offenders, but it would be challenging for multiple DUI offenders. There was a concern that offenders with prior DUIs could continue to drink knowing that a deferred entry of judgment would result in less harsh consequences. This creates a difficult position, especially if you have multiple DUIs that are felonies.

California Felony DUI Could Lead to Prison Time

If you already have a felony DUI conviction, a misdemeanor DUI offense would be elevated to a felony without the need for other multiple DUIs. A previous felony DUI conviction enhances the new DUI crime automatically to a felony. The consequences are similar or identical to those of a fourth felony DUI offense.

Multiple DUIs Would Result In You Being Designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender

In California, motorists booked for several DUI charges within a 1 or two-year period are classified as Habitual Traffic Offenders. Once you're designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO), the DMV would revoke your license. If you get 2 or more convictions for violations linked to the restriction listed on your license, your driver's license would be disqualified or suspended.

Difference Between First and Multiple DUIs

In California, there is indeed a big distinction between a first DUI and multiple DUIs. These distinctions emerge from the consequences of a successful sentence. Multiple DUIs include second, 3rd, and subsequent DUIs. Here's a quick rundown of the consequences of various violations.

Consequences for a 2nd California DUI

A second DUI in California carries harsher consequences than the first. If you're convicted of a second DUI, you could face the following penalties:

  • A jail time of no less than 96 hours and a maximum of 1 year or three 3 to 5 years if granted a summary probation
  • The fine range stays the same as that of a first conviction, $390 to $1,000. However, the courts are likely to order a higher fine within the span than for a 1st offense
  • Suspended driver's license for 2 years, with one year of limited driving privileges
  • Maintain a mandated vehicle ignition interlock device for 1 year
  • The defendant must attend and complete DUI school for eighteen or 30 months

Fees, fines, and penalty assessments could bring the total cost to $4,000. As you can see from the information above, the implications of a DUI charge escalate with each subsequent offense over ten years. This ten-year span covers California's wet reckless convictions, as well as out-of-state DUI charges that would be classified as a DUI if perpetrated in this jurisdiction.

Penalties for a 3rd California DUI

A 3rd DUI is punishable more severely than a 1st or second DUI conviction. This is a third-degree offense punishable by:

  • The maximum jail term remains 1 year
  • Cash fines for a 3rd offense are still the same, ranging from $390 to $1,000, with a higher fine more likely than for a 1st or 2nd offense
  • The accused should complete 30 months of DUI school
  • Maintain a vehicle ignition interlock device for 2 years, or face a three-year license suspension
  • After eighteen months as a persistent traffic offender, the accused could convert his or her suspended license to a restricted driver's license

Fees, fines, and penalty evaluations can push the overall cost up to $18,000.

The Difference Between Probation for a First DUI and Multiple DUI Convictions

It is worth mentioning that, in regards to the consequences indicated above, when a court issues a sentence for a California DUI conviction that entails probation, certain restrictions will be imposed, such as:

  • You are not allowed to engage in any new offenses
  • You are not permitted to drive while under the influence of alcohol
  • You are not allowed to decline a chemical test of your blood or breath if you're caught for another DUI

In addition, the court could impose further requirements as part of your DUI probation, like your participation in the following:

  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact program
  • Sessions at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) if just alcohol was involved
  • Meetings at Narcotics Anonymous (NA) if narcotics were involved
  • Pay recompense to any DUI victims

If you don't comply with the judge's orders, you could be charged with a DUI probation offense, which carries further consequences.

Find a DUI Attorney Near Me

At the Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney, we work hard to possibly reduce your DUI consequences by putting together a strong defense for your case. We will thoroughly examine your situation and seek answers to all pertinent issues. Our team will do everything in our power to preserve your rights and protect your freedom. Call us at 323-464-6700 to find out how we can assist you if you are facing DUI charges in Los Angeles.

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Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney
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