Driving under the influence is a serious offense in California. The law is intended to punish offenders more severely when they have previous DUI convictions. Accordingly, the more DUI-related convictions you have, the greater the penalties will be if convicted on your current charge — especially if it’s your fourth DUI offense in San Diego.
In many instances, individuals may get away without serving jail time on their first or second conviction. Even on a third conviction, depending on the circumstances, and with an experienced lawyer, jail time could be avoided, if not minimal. However, the law is not so favorable when dealing with a fourth or successive DUI conviction. If you have three prior DUI guilty verdicts in the last 10 years, your fourth could spell serious consequences for you. You will need our experienced DUI attorneys on your side.
What You Need to Know About a Fourth DUI Offense in San Diego
A California DUI charge typically is a misdemeanor. However, if you have three or more prior DUI convictions, your fourth offense will be charged as a felony. The information that is used by the prosecution to determine your DUI history will include past guilty verdicts for breaching the California Vehicle code relating to simple DUI, high BAC DUI, DUI with injury, and wet reckless. Additionally, convictions obtained in another state will also be counted to determine whether your current charge could be considered a fourth DUI.
When facing a fourth DUI, the elements of the crime remain the same. There must be evidence that you were driving a vehicle and that you did so while impaired by alcohol or while your blood alcohol concentration exceed the California legal limit of .08. However, with a fourth DUI, evidence will also be presented to show your prior DUI convictions in order to satisfy the charge of felony DUI.
A fourth or subsequent DUI carries harsh penalties. This is because the offense is now a felony and the legal system views your past punishment as not sufficient to deter you from driving under the influence. There are a number of factors a court will consider before deciding your sentence. Each case will be evaluated on its own. However, possible penalties include 16 months to 4 years in prison and revocation of your driver’s license for 4 years. Where there are other aggravating factors involved, such as injury, the penalties will increase.
You should also know that a fourth DUI offense in San Diego does not mean that you will be automatically found guilty. You are currently facing a charge, and like all other defendants before the court, you are innocent until proven guilty.
Defending Your Fourth or Subsequent DUI Charge
A fourth or subsequent DUI is a serious matter. However, you are innocent until proven guilty, and it is up to the
prosecution to present the required evidence to establish your guilt. Having an experienced DUI defense lawyer is the key to preparing and presenting a sound case in court.
Your case begins the moment you are charged. This is a critical time, and legal decisions made at this point can make a significant difference in the outcome of your matter. Your charges can be reduced, in which case you could be facing a lesser offense. Additionally, the charges against you could be dismissed and you would be free to go back to your life without going to trial.
However, where pre-trial negotiations and motions are not in your favor, your matter will proceed to trial. The trial is where you will get the opportunity to prove your innocence, with the presentation of evidence to discredit the prosecution’s case. Additionally, your lawyer will advise you on the possible legal defenses available to you.
However, being innocent and knowing it is one thing. Proving it is another. You will need a lawyer who is experienced in California criminal law to help you prove your case and secure your freedom.
Contact a San Diego DUI Attorney Today
If you are facing a fourth or subsequent DUI, the consequences are significant. It is even more crucial to hire a lawyer when charged with a fourth DUI offense in San Diego. Attorneys are proficient in the law and are better able to navigate the complex judicial system and technical legal motions.
At McElfresh Law, we have been worked with individuals like yourself who have been charged serious crimes. We recognize that this can be a very troubling time for you, but we are resolute in providing high-quality criminal defense. Our lawyers are knowledgeable about the law and are fearless courtroom advocates who will work with you to prepare a sound case.
A possible conviction for a fourth or subsequent DUI can send you behind bars. Trust the team at McElfresh Law to defend you. Call us today at (858) 756-7107 and let us discuss your path forward.