A conviction of a second DUI when the prior DUI conviction or “wet reckless” offense was within the past 10 years increases the penalties under California Vehicle Code Section 23540. This means longer jail time and more expensive fines, in addition to a longer DUI program and SR-22 filing requirement.

Penalties for a Second Offense

Certain mandatory penalties exist for a 2nd time DUI. Those include:

-Possible jail time is increased dramatically in the county jail, but no more than one year unless there are other circumstances, violations of probation, Failure to Appear (FTA’s) or enhancements.

-The fine is between $390 and $1,000 and will likely be higher than the fine from the first offense. The court will also add penalty assessments to the fine which will increase the total amount substantially.

-Jail time or community service can be completed in lieu of the fine. There is also County work release options and other jail alternatives like the electronic bracelet, electronic confinement, GPS, et al.

License Suspension

A second offense within 10 years of your prior offense brings your license suspension or revocation to at least one year. You may be able to get a restricted license after three months but until then, you are not permitted to have any driving privileges. Mandatory installation and maintenance of the Ignition Interlock Device (IDD) becomes an important issue with a second DUI.

DUI Classes

The court will also require that you attend a mandatory DUI program that can range from 18 to 30 months. Only upon proof of completion of the course will you be permitted to receive your driving privileges back. As you can see, the penalties for a second DUI offense within a 10-year period can severely impact your daily life and the lives of those around you.

Legal Defenses

Depending on the circumstances of your case we can employ a number of potential defenses in a second time DUI to potentially reduce charges, minimize the effect or get a case dismissed:

Probable Cause In A DUI Stop- In order to arrest someone for a DUI an officer has to have a reasonable belief that a crime is being committed. If the officer cannot establish to the court, probable cause for the arrest than we may be able to suppress any evidence through a suppression hearing.

Misconduct at a sobriety checkpoint – If the officer administering the field sobriety tests at a DUI checkpoint did not follow the correct procedures the evidence can be challenged. For example, many officers do not take into account medical conditions, contour of pavement etc when administering the field sobriety tests.

Rising Blood Alcohol Defense – If someone was pulled over for a DUI and their body was still in the process of absorbing alcohol than the BAC reading on a breathalyzer test can be inaccurate when compared to the time the “driving” took place.

DUI 2nd Offense FAQs

1) What Is A “Wet Reckless” Offense?

A “wet reckless” is another name for California Vehicle Code section 23103 charge of reckless driving involving alcohol. If you have a good defense or the prosecution believes there is some weakness in your DUI charge, such as an exact 0.08% chemical test, the prosecution may offer a plea bargain for a wet reckless. We even push for what is known as a, “Dry Reckless.”

However, note that a wet reckless is still a prior offense on your record and if you are convicted of another DUI within 10 years of the wet reckless, the DUI will be considered your second DUI and the penalties will be applied accordingly.

2) What Are Considered “Aggravating Factors” In My DUI Case?

An aggravating factor is an additional charge that can affect the penalties and severiy of your DUI and the following is a partial listing only:

-Driving on a suspended license (Vehicle Code 14601)

-Auto accident and or an injury accident

-Hit and run (California Vehicle Code 20001-With bodily injury)

-Minor or child in the car (Vehicle Code 23572 VC)

-Reckless endangerment of a child

-Chemical test refusal

-Speeding Enhancement ( California Vehicle Code 23582)

-Alcohol content of .15 or higher and additional enhancement of .20 and higher

3) What Happens If I Was Still On Probation From My First DUI At The Time Of My Arrest For My Second DUI?

It is likely that your probation will be revoked and the penalties associated with your second DUI will be much harsher than if you were no longer on probation. Furthermore, the DMV will suspend your license for a period of 1 year before you are eligible for a restricted license. The suspension will be a total length of 2 years this may vary due to the circumstances.

4) How Does My Refusal Of A Chemical Test For Both DUI Arrests Affect The Penalties?

In California, if you are suspected of driving under the influence, you are deemed to consent to a chemical breath test. If you refuse one or both times when arrested, the punishments will be much harsher. Additionally, if you refuse a Breathalyzer test you will not qualify for the limited privilege of a restricted license. There is a different analysis for minors who refuse.

5) Is It Likely That The Judge Will Allow Community Service Or a Work Release Sentence To Replace The Mandatory Jail Time?

The Judge does not have the complete discretion to eliminate jail time in a 2nd offense DUI.   It is set by the legislature by statute. The Judge can, however, allow you to complete your jail sentence in a private (City) jail or may allow you to complete your sentence in a lockdown residential rehabilitation/treatment facility for substance abuse. However, we fight for day for day rehab credit.

Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC Will Defend Your Rights

The state of California has implemented some of our nation’s harshest DUI laws and if you get arrested for a DUI a second time, the penalties increase immensely in severity. It is important to find a knowledgeable experienced and highly skilled California attorney who can assist you in reducing the charges or fighting for lesser penalties. The penalties and consequences of a DUI on your record are severe and long lasting and two DUI offenses are worse.

At Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC we can help you with questions you might have about the entire DUI process and penalties for an offender.

Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.