In the state of California under Vehicle Code 23152 it is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of drug or alcohol. Individuals who are caught driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater are looking to face misdemeanor charges which sometimes includes fines and prison time. After a first offense, the offense remains in your record for ten years. Any subsequent DUI offense within the first ten years of your first DUI will be affected by the fact that there was a prior DUI offense. DUI offenses that occur after the first offense are treated with harsher and longer punishments. By the time an individual gets to a fourth DUI offense, they are looking at time longer prison sentences and greater fines. Fourth time DUI offenses are treated as felonies and will usually hold higher consequences than the first three offenses.
In California, a felony DUI is charged if and when:
- There is a history of DUI offenses: as mentioned earlier, any DUI that occurs within ten years of the first or latest DUI will be treated with harsher punishments than the prior. The state of California treats fourth time DUI offenses as felonies.
- The DUI results in the death of another individual: If you are driving down the highway and you hit someone while driving under the influence, the consequences will increase. If the individual you hit is hospitalized and then dies, a judge may charge you with a felony.
Every subsequent DUI will hold a higher degree of punishment for those caught for second, third, and fourth offenses. The fines remain relatively the same for all four DUI offences, however, the penalties increase with any subsequent DUI offence. After a fourth DUI, individuals who have violated the driving codes will usually be subject to an Ignition Interlock Device, license suspension, and be required to follow a DUI program. However, the nature of the offender and the factors of the DUI will contribute to the judge's order. In a courtroom, a DUI order can be placed in consideration of any past DUI offense, any history of reckless driving, and a history of criminal activity. In addition, the judge may add additional punishments if the DUI offense resulted in an accident that caused harm or death to another individual.
- First-time offenders in the state of California are looking to pay fines between $1,000-$2000 and may serve a jail sentence lasting days to months. In most first time offenses a judge can order the offender to a license suspension and up to five years of probation.
- Second-time offenders in the state of California are looking to similar fines and prison times as in their first DUI. However, second offenders will typically face a longer license suspension, one lasting up to 12 months. In addition, a judge may order the second time offender to subdue to an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program for a period lasting between 12 to 48 months depending on the area where the offense took place.
- Third-time offenders are looking at similar fines as with the first and second DUI, but are looking at longer jail periods and probation lasting up to five years. In addition, third-time offenders are looking at a 24 month DUI program and a license suspension lasting up to three years.
- Fourth-time offenders are also charged with similar fines as in the first four offenses in the state of California. However, fourth-time offenders are looking at jail sentences lasting between one to four years and a license suspension lasting up to four years.
The factors involving the DUI offense will be judged in a courtroom and will contribute to the judge's order. As with any of the above cases, individuals will usually be subject to DUI school where they will learn about road safety and be subject to regulations that aim to reduce their time on the road. In addition, second-time offenders may be obligated to follow the regulations of an IID program for a certain amount of months or years. The penalties that involve a DUI will almost always increase whenever there is an accident that involved a death. Individuals who have killed someone as a result of driving while under the influence, are looking to felony charges even for first-time offenders.
If you are facing a DUI charge, do not wait to speak with a lawyer. Upon being arrested you have the right to remain silent and wait to speak with an attorney. A specialized DUI attorney will be capable of reducing jail times and/or fines. To have a legal guidance and representation, please contact The Law Offices of Ross Howell Sobel at 818-582-2350. A DUI can have grave consequences for people who rely on their vehicle to get to and from work. To learn how we can help your case, please contact us today for a consultation.
What are the consequences of a fourth-time offense?
After a second DUI offense the jail time, license suspension and probationary period, will usually increase with subsequent DUI offenses. Any prior conviction that will be taken into account by a judge can include 1) driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol, 2) a wet reckless 3) driving with a blood alcohol content above eight percent, 4) driving under the influence and causing harm or death to another individual, 5) arrest records that have been sealed that involved any of the above. Aside from prior convictions, the judge will take into account the offenders registered blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the arrest and any other factors that surround the DUI.
In general fourth time, offenders may serve a prison sentence that lasts between 16 to 48 months in prison. Fines can range from four hundred to thousands of dollars in fines and a license suspension that can last up to four years. In some cases, individuals are able to reduce the jail and probationary periods with the help of a DUI attorney.
In addition to the above, individuals that are facing a fourth time DUI will be required to register as a ‘habitual traffic offender’ Habitual traffic offenders are monitored by state authorities and are required to follow certain regulations during their probation. During the probation period, the offenders may be required to attend DUI traffic school and follow an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program. In most cases, a registered traffic offender along with the others on the list of (HTO) will have their license suspended for a number of years depending on the severity of the circumstances.
The following section will discuss some of the key terms that surround a fourth time DUI offense. Keep in mind that every DUI case involves different regional laws and various factors that can affect a judge order. To have a clear assessment of your situation, you are encouraged to speak with a local attorney. As mentioned earlier, an attorney is capable of reducing fines and probation and jail times. Every DUI case has their own set of factors and should be evaluated before entering a courtroom.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Pilot Program
Upon a fourth DUI offense, individuals who have served a period of time in jail or who are undergoing a probation program will be subject to an IID pilot program. The IID program aims to lower the number of DUIs by closely monitoring the vehicle of fourth-time offenders. While in an IID program, individuals must undergo breath testing before igniting their vehicle. The device will not start the car if it detects alcohol in the person's breath.
There are currently four counties in California that follow an IID pilot program and they include Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda, and the Tulare County. In the counties mentioned above, a judge can order an IID pilot program for first DUI offenders. Individuals who are subject to an IID pilot program will be contacted by the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) with an ‘order of installation of an ignition interlock device’. If you are in the counties mentioned above, you will be required by law to follow an IID pilot program even if you are a first time offender. For individuals in other countries, judges are not required to order an IID program but may do so upon their discretion.
Keep in mind that individuals that commit a DUI crime in the counties mentioned above, will be subject to an IID program despite their residency. For example, if Bob who lives in (Orange County a non-IID pilot county) is charged with driving under the influence in downtown Los Angeles, Bob will be required to subject to the DUI laws in the Los Angeles region.
How does a wet-reckless affect my second DUI?
Individuals charged with a DUI offense may be capable of ‘bargaining’ or settling with a wet reckless. Individuals who are charged with a DUI offense with insufficient or weak evidence may be capable of reducing their punishments after pleading for a wet reckless. Individuals who are charged with a DUI offense have the option to undergo a court proceeding where they will be charged with the full ramifications of the DUI laws or may plead guilty and face lesser charges under wet reckless. A wet reckless will be treated as a DUI in a court of law if and when there are future DUI offenses.
Despite the fact that a wet reckless is treated as a DUI, it promises lesser punishments than a DUI conviction. In wet reckless cases, individuals may keep their right to a drivers license and will usually face lesser fines. The laws that guide a wet reckless are the reasons as to why individuals must speak with an attorney before entering or speaking with a law enforcement agency. Individuals may have their punishments reduced if they are able to prove they qualify for a wet reckless. To learn more about the laws that guide a wet reckless and to learn if you may qualify for this form of relief, please contact a local state attorney.
Driving Under the Influence Accidents Resulting in Death
Driving while under the influence is a big issue within itself that is treated with harsh punishments due to the likely hood of harming other civilians on the highways. When in fact a DUI results in the death of a bystander, the DUI offender is looking at serious punishments. Individuals whose actions result in a death of another while driving under the influence of drug and/or alcohol may be charged with a felony for a DUI murder, vehicular homicide, or gross vehicular manslaughter.
Gross Vehicular Manslaughter or any vehicular homicide usually involves an individual who is carelessly conducting a motor vehicle. If their conduct results in the death of another individual the laws will usually treat the situation with a long prison sentence and other fines that may arise. Furthermore, punishments increase in situations where the offender was intoxicated while driving and his actions have caused harm to another person. In addition, the fines and prison sentence can increase if the DUI offense resulted in property damage.
In the state of California, the penalties increase the number of DUI offenses that occur within a ten-year span. If you are charged with a DUI offense, you will require the attention of a DUI attorney who is capable of representing your case in a courtroom. Our objective is to help our clients achieve lesser punishments by fairly representing their case upon a clear review of the factors that pertain to their DUI. In some cases, fourth offenders will benefit form a review of their past DUI offences. Our team is capable of finding any flaws in past DUI offences. Sometimes we are able to contest a past DUI offense so that subsequent DUI’s are treated with lesser punishments. To have a clear understanding of the penalties of your DUI and you wish to learn ways in which to reduce those penalties, please contact The Law Offices of Ross Howell Sobel at 818-582-2350.