Every year California sees many deaths due to drunk driving. Talking about the number in specific, drunk driving makes up 29% of the state’s traffic fatalities. Driving under the influence is a crime which is often referred by its abbreviated term “DUI”. DUIs are considered “priorable” offenses, which means the penalties for each successive DUI offense increases once convicted.
Here, while we will talk about DUI, we will also highlight important details about DUI third offense in Los Angeles and how intense it gets to be convicted of DUI the third time:
What is considered as a DUI in California?
You can be convicted of a DUI if you are operating, driving or being in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or any other substance that affects your driving. For anyone to be convicted of DUI because of alcohol presence, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level has to be over the legal limit, which in case of most adult drivers is .08%. However, there is a low BAC limit for commercial, taxi, limo rideshare and underage drivers, which are as follows:
- Commercial drivers: .04%
- Taxi, limo, and ride-sharing drivers: .04%
- Underage drivers: .00%
What is DUI third offense in Los Angeles?
The state of California considers you guilty of third DUI offense, if you commit DUI offense within ten years of two previous DUI convictions. DUI charges older than 10 years are not counted as priors.
All DUIs are handled by two different processes: the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the criminal justice system. There is one policy carried out by the state (DMV) called the Administrative Per se, according to which even if a person is believed to have operated a motor vehicle with BAC of 0.08% or greater, they are per se (latin for “by itself”)presumed in violation of the law and must be punished. In simpler terms, this policy allows for confiscation and suspension of the license by presuming the person guilty. It is also called the on the spot license suspension program. For an accused to defend himself, he needs to request an administrative hearing before the California DMV known as an Administrative Per Se Hearing (APS Hearing).
Like this, there are different penalties applied by both, the criminal justice system and the DMV.
What are administrative (DMV) penalties for a third offense DUI?
The DMV will automatically suspend the license if the accused doesn’t request APS hearing within 10 days of getting the suspension notice, which is usually given at the time of arrest. Penalties related to this suspension include:
- Suspension of license for at least one year.
- In case the accused is able to apply for “restricted” driving privileges, he/she will have to wait for at least twelve months to do so.
- For one to reinstate the license or to get a restricted license, he/she will need to carry expensive SR-22 insurance.Though DMV is not part of the court system, but it does allow certain rights:
- You can opt for an attorney to represent you throughout the DMV hearing process.
- You are allowed the option of in-person hearing rather than over the phone. This works better in your defense.
- When you request a hearing, DMV cannot suspend the license until the hearing is over. This buys you time while you handle your criminal defense. The best part is that if you win at court, you might prevent yourself from any suspension at all.
What are the criminal penalties for a DUI third offense in Los Angeles?
The court imposed penalties include:
- A minimum of 120 days to a maximum of one-year in a county jail.
- A fine of $2,500 to $3,000, together with penalty assessments which raises the total substantially; some DUIs can cost as high as $18,000.
- Installation of IID in your motor vehicle for up to 2 years.
- Completion of court-approved DUI education program that lasts 30 days.
- Serving probation period between three to five years.
- Three year California driver’s license revocation
While these are basic penalties, California judge may impose harsher penalties based on aggravating factors like:
- Causing a car accident
- Being younger than 21 years of age at the time of committing the DUI offense
- Child endangerment (having children below 14 years in the vehicle)
- Refusing to take a breath or blood test
- Having a BAC of 0.15 or more
Can an attorney beat DUI third offense in Los Angeles?
Judges or prosecutors are not much lenient towards repeat DUI offenders, but having said this, a third time DUI arrest in Los Angeles is beatable with the right attorney by your side.
When it is the third DUI offense, it becomes all the more imperative to create an effective DUI defense which can be done only if you hire a good and experienced defense lawyer. As some of the steps need to be taken within hours after your DUI arrest, you must not wait to hire the attorney. And if you are currently looking for an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer, contact C. Robert Brooks for a free consultation at (310) 994-7989. Mr. Brooks has more than 25 years of experience in handling DUI cases and has built a strong presence across Los Angeles in all these years.