While the California judicial system takes a second DUI offense very seriously, you are not out of options. Mistakes are made during investigations, sobriety tests are subject to mechanical error, and lab results can be skewed by various pre-existing medical conditions. Serious ramifications from a second DUI offense arrest in the Los Angeles area can be avoided by contacting Jonathan Franklin, DUI Attorney.
What Penalties Do I Face with A Second Dui Offense?
DUI penalties increase exponentially, so if you have been charged with a second offense, you are looking at harsher penalties than you did before. These include:
- a range of costs and fines between $1800 to $4000.
- jail time ranging from 96 hours to one year.
- license suspension of one to two years, with an additional two years of restricted driving. Restricted driving limits you to driving to and from your place of employment, to perform work-related errands, and to any alcohol treatment centers.
- long-term DUI alcohol rehabilitation programs ranging from 18 to 30 months and costing up to $1,800. Successfully completing an alcohol treatment program is the only way you will get the opportunity to reduce the duration of your license suspension.
- an IID installed on your vehicle at your expense. The IID works by not allowing you to start your car if the device detects any alcohol on your breath.
Your vehicle may also be impounded for 30 days, also at your expense.
What Is DUI Alcohol Rehabilitation?
Completing a rehabilitation program at a certified rehabilitation center is a condition of DUI probation. The length of your stay depends upon the specifics of your DUI offense. The state of California has made rehabilitation attendance an integral part of the DUI probation process in a concerted effort to reduce recidivism among offenders.
Los Angeles county has numerous alcohol rehabilitation centers, and there are four established DUI treatment programs available. Program recommendations are made based on your specific situation. A knowledgeable DUI attorney can help you navigate through this process.
How Do You Fight DUI Charges?
The legal system is comprised of a complicated set of rules that can be extremely difficult for you to navigate on your own, which is why your first step is to contact a dedicated attorney who has experience working as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. The benefit of that experience is that you will be able to avail yourself of all of your legal rights.
Your attorney can and should do a number of things to begin to build the best possible defense:
- listen to your entire account of the incident.
- visit and inspect the location of your arrest.
- evaluate the breathalyzer equipment for proper functioning and review the maintenance logs associated with them.
- evaluate blood sample analysis.
- subpoena and question all police officers involved with your case at your DMV hearing.
What Is A DMV Hearing?
A DMV hearing is not a criminal proceeding. In fact, it's not even held in a courtroom. It is conducted in a DMV office. Do not, however, allow yourself to become complacent about this proceeding. Its outcome will determine whether or not your license is suspended.
When you are arrested by a police officer in California for a DUI, the officer will immediately confiscate your driver's license and hand you a pink piece of paper that acts as a temporary restricted driver's license that automatically expires in 30 days.
This document contains critical information explaining that you have just ten days to request a DMV hearing in order to prevent the automatic suspension slated to occur at the end of the 30 days. When you request a DMV hearing, the automatic suspension is automatically suspended pending the outcome of the hearing.
It is also important to note that you are not entitled to court-appointed counsel for this proceeding. You must retain your own attorney at your own expense. A skilled attorney will prepare for this hearing by examining all the evidence and subpoenaing witnesses. He or she will then challenge that evidence, question and cross-examine witnesses, and advise you as to whether or not it would be in your best interest to testify.
These hearings are held at a different location from your local DMV office. DMV hearings are held at a driver safety branch office. A dedicated attorney will take care of scheduling the hearing for you.
How Do I Win At My DMV Hearing?
Despite the aforementioned informalities, a DMV hearing in California is rather comprehensive. The first three things the hearing officer will determine are:
- whether or not law enforcement had probable cause to detain you.
- whether or not they had cause to place you under arrest.
- if your BAC was 0.08% or higher.
If it is alleged that you refused to take a breathalyzer test, the hearing officer will then determine:
- if the arresting officer informed you that your license will be automatically suspended if you refuse to take the test.
- if the arresting officer explained this consequence adequately so that you fully understand it.
- if you willfully refused to take the test.
Your attorney can challenge any of these points, and if the hearing officer finds that he or she has successfully refuted at least one of them, that officer can reverse your driver's license suspension.
This is also the time that an experienced DUI attorney will present other evidence in your favor, such as:
- there is no evidence to prove that you were the driver.
- you were arrested at an illegal checkpoint.
- the arresting officer did not conduct the mandated 15-minute observation period.
- your BAC was high due to dietary or medical conditions or due to residual mouth alcohol content.
- you were falsely accused of refusing a chemical test.
- the arresting officer's paperwork was not filled out correctly.
- if you are under age 21 and the arresting officer administered a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, but he or she did not adequately demonstrate why the PAS test results should be used against you.
What Are My Rights Regarding DUI Checkpoints?
Let's say your first DUI offense was the result of a routine traffic stop. You were driving a bit erratically, so the arresting officer had probable cause to pull you over. Your second DUI offense, however, occurred while traveling through a DUI checkpoint. The circumstances may be a little different, but you always retain your constitutional rights.
The United States Constitution protects you from illegal search and seizure. At a checkpoint, you are just a number. You have not been stopped because your actions gave law enforcement probable cause.
Law enforcement does not have the right to detain you at a checkpoint, and you always have the right to remain silent.
What Happens During My DUI Court Case?
All the testimony and evidence obtained during your DMV hearing is considered at your DUI court case. The difference between the two is that while the officer presiding over your DMV hearing considered the circumstances surrounding your arrest, the judge or jury hearing your court case will determine whether or not you committed a criminal act.
Because of the many differences between a DMV hearing and a DUI court hearing, having a DUI attorney who is skilled in the procedures of both hearings is absolutely essential. It is also the time when a dedicated and experienced DUI attorney will explore other possible legal defenses.
Even if you lose your case, having a knowledgeable and skilled DUI attorney on your side will still benefit you. Your attorney should have been paying careful attention to all the proceedings, gathering information that can be used to offer you a plea bargain.
Will A DUI Charge Affect My Employment?
While a DUI arrest or charge does not guarantee a guilty verdict in the court system, it can make you guilty in the court of public opinion, particularly in the eyes of employers.
Having to take time off from your current job to attend hearings or court-ordered alcohol treatment can lead to write-ups, suspensions, or even termination of your employment.
Having a DUI on your record can also act as a barrier to future employment, especially if it is your second DUI offense. Potential employers may view this as a default of character that will render you unreliable.
Can I Appeal A Second Offense DUI Conviction?
The short answer is yes. You may choose to ask the DMV to do a departmental review or you may file an appeal with the California Supreme Court. This is something you should discuss with an experienced DUI attorney who is dedicated to getting the best possible resolution for your case.
The DMV review will cost $120. Appealing directly to the court is more involved and expensive than going through the DMV. A writ of mandate must be filed with the court. This is the official request for the court to review and reverse the DMV's decision. This filing will cost between $2,500 and $3,500.
Whatever procedure you choose, you will need the assistance of a skilled DUI attorney due to stringent timeframes and deadlines under the establishment of a strict set of rules.
What Happens If It’s My Second License Suspension?
If you lose your hearing for your second DUI offense, your license will be suspended for two years. Depending on where you live and work, you may experience a great deal of difficulty getting to work on time. It is possible to convert your suspension to a restricted license after one year, but there is no guarantee.
However, a skilled and experienced DUI attorney will be aware of all factors that could convert a suspended license to a restricted one in just 90 days. These factors include:
- your DUI is based on misuse of alcohol only, not drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
- there were no aggravating factors, such as you caused an accident that resulted in serious injury or your BAC was extremely high.
- submit proof that you are enrolled in a California alcohol treatment program for a minimum of 18 months.
- submit proof that you have an IID device installed in your vehicle.
- you meet all the criteria for a first offense DUI restricted license, which includes the following stipulations: you are only driving to work and/or a California DUI school, submit an SR-22 insurance form, pay a $125 reinstatement fee, did not cause injury to another person during the commission of your DUI, and did not refuse to submit to a BAC or chemical blood test.
Will I Get Probation for A Second Dui Offense?
Probation is a possibility for any DUI offense and lasts a minimum of three years. If you get another DUI or break any other laws during your probationary period, you may end up being found guilty without a trial and given additional penalties, because you violated the terms of your probation.
These penalties are subject to change for a number of different reasons including:
- if your BAC is higher than 0.15% or 0.20%, depending on the specific circumstances.
- if your DUI resulted in injury of or death to another, it may be classified as a felony. Unless you have an attorney, who is able to get this charge reduced, you are looking at one to five years in prison.
- if you refused to take a BAC or chemical blood test, you will be facing additional penalties.
- if you face additional charges.
Because of the many complexities of California DUI laws, the necessity for representation by a dedicated DUI attorney is paramount.
Is It Still A Second Offense If My First DUI Was Expunged?
While an expungement of your first DUI will erase it from your criminal record, there are several exceptions:
- Since a DUI is classified as a priorable offense, an expungement cannot hide that offense, because the required penalties for the second offense are higher.
- Various law enforcement agencies still have access to your original criminal records.
- Although one of the biggest advantages of having an expungement is so potential employers will not have access to your prior conviction, there are certain positions that require you to disclose the information on your application, such as jobs that require state licensing or certification.
Unfortunately, an expungement is not a get out of jail free card of sorts. It is, however, designed to help you start your life over after a prior conviction since finding a job or renting an apartment may require a routine criminal background check.
Contacting an Attorney Near Me
Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney has been protecting DUI defendants for over 20 years. Call 323-464-6700 to schedule your free consultation today.