The DUI laws in California are not forgiving of your third DUI offense. Your penalties increase with each subsequent arrest within 10 years. As you start accumulating DUI arrests, you not only face longer jail sentences and license suspension periods, you risk facing felony DUI charges too.
After a third DUI offense in Sacramento, you likely need to face demons and start a path towards recovery. This can be difficult if you are also managing harsh legal penalties and a criminal justice system that has no intention of taking it easy on you. Your first line of defense is your attorney, who can work to dismiss charges or reduce your sentence. This requires honed advocacy and investigation skills so every angle of your case is examined thoroughly to produce the best possible scenario for you.
Accumulating a Third DUI
Just as with your second DUI offense, California will apply the 10-year look back period. It will not apply to just your second offense; it will look back to your first. If your first three arrests were within this 10-year period, you will face penalties for a third offense DUI.
For example, let’s assume the following situation:
- First DUI arrest: May 1, 2001
- Second DUI arrest: May 2, 2006
- Third DUI Arrest: September 21, 2016
In that example, your first and third arrest were not within 10 years of each other. Also, since there are also over 10 years between your second and third arrest, it is likely that your most recent offense will be treated as a first offense. This gives you the option of pleading the DUI down to Wet Reckless or at least facing less severe penalties.
However, if your record resembles the following, you will be assessed for a third offense:
- First DUI arrest: September 1, 2007
- Second DUI arrest: May 13, 2011
- Third DUI arrest: September 4, 2016
This look-back period also applies to Wet Reckless charges. So, if in the example above your first arrest resulted in a successful Wet Reckless plea bargain, you still fall under third offense penalties.
Third Offense DUI Consequences
The consequences for your third DUI offense are not meant to be easy. If you are 21 years and older, did not refuse a chemical test, and face conviction for a third DUI conviction, you will likely endure these penalties:
- Probation. You will undergo informal probation for five (5) years. During this time, you must obey all laws, never drive unless licensed and insured, and, if you are pulled over for suspected DUI, never refuse the chemical test. You must not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system, or you will be in danger of facing a violation of probation with the court and the DMV and additional criminal charges.
- Jail. In Sacramento County, you will spend at least one hundred twenty (120) days incarcerated. Six of these days can be served in the county jail with the option of additional time (114 days) served on an alternative sentence. Electronic monitoring is an alternative option in some cases, especially if you are unable to perform work offered on sheriff’s work project.
- License Suspension. Your license suspension period will be three years. Once you complete the first year under “never drive” requirements, you may pursue a restricted license that allows you to drive in the course of your employment and to your alcohol education program. There is also an option to eliminate all driving restrictions if you finish six months of no driving and install an ignition interlock device (IID).
- Alcohol Education Program. For a period of eighteen (18) months, you must attend classes regarding alcohol use. Sometimes referred to as “alcohol school”, they intend to discourage future arrests. However, if you are unable to get around your license suspension and you are not near public transit, you will likely find traveling to this class very burdensome, especially if you have work or family responsibilities.
- Fines. Fines for your third DUI in Sacramento are at least $2,800.00. This will be addition to any other fees you owe to comply with DUI penalties.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID). The IID must be installed on every vehicle you own or operate—there is an exception for an employer owned vehicle– for at least twenty four (24) months. This will be at your expense after you pay fines, class fees, and your attorney. Your best bet may be to install it as soon as possible to remove your suspension requirements since it is an expense you will have to absorb eventually.
There is no easy road when you face your third DUI offense. However, there may be ways to dismiss your charges or control the effect the penalties have on your life. Hiring Lance Daniel, Attorney at Law, provides you the legal defense you require while making sure all your decisions are informed ones. Call our office today at (877) 260-6227 or use the email contact form to set up a free no-obligation consultation.