When you are charged with DUI within 10 years of a prior conviction, your matter proceeds as a second DUI offense in San Diego. A second DUI under California law carries higher penalties. Although you are innocent until proven guilty, being accused of a second DUI can be hard to beat without having an experienced DUI lawyer on your side and can lead to:
- A jail sentence
- Costly fines
- Driver’s license suspension
- Increased car insurance rates
Penalties for a Second DUI Offense in San Diego
Jail time is a strong possibility with a second DUI conviction. In addition to license suspension, DUI school enrollment, fine, and probation, a court can sentence you to up to 1 year in jail. Sentencing will vary depending on the county, and you should discuss your case with a lawyer before pleading guilty or accepting any form of a plea deal.
Generally, a second DUI is charged as a misdemeanor. However, where there are certain aggravating circumstances, the prosecution can charge you with felony DUI. The following circumstances will enhance your misdemeanor penalties:
- A BAC of .15 or higher
- Refusing to submit to a chemical test
- DUI resulting in an accident
- Excessive speeding
- Having a child in the car
- Under 21 years of age
If your second DUI results in injury to another person, this may open the door for a felony charge. Along with other non-custodial options, a felony conviction carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. Sentencing and penalty will vary from one case to another, but the court will consider the number of persons injured and the nature of their injuries.
How a San Diego DUI Attorney Can Help
A possible DUI conviction can be daunting to many. The obvious increase in penalties if found guilty a second time should never be taken lightly. Mistakes can happen, even a second time around, but when you have an experienced San Diego DUI lawyer, a conviction or jail time can be avoided. You will need legal representation to facilitate the following:
- Dismissal of charges – Not every case of second DUI will make it to trial. In many instances, the charges are dismissed for a number of legal reasons. With a knowledgeable lawyer, versed in the law and the criminal justice system, you may walk away without a trial.
- Acquittal – Your past mistakes will not make you guilty if your second DUI matter goes to trial. Despite a previous conviction, you are still innocent until proven guilty in your current case. Having an experienced lawyer with valuable courtroom experience, and the ability to prepare a sound defense will be the key to your not guilty verdict.
- Charge reduction and plea bargains – If there are no legal opportunities to beat your second DUI charge, having a lawyer to negotiate lesser charges or a plea deal can make the difference in the penalties that will come your way.
- Minimizing consequences – If you pleaded or were found guilty of second DUI, there are a number of penalties on the books. Sentencing can be based on a number of variables and a lawyer is trained to argue on your behalf in sentencing hearings to prevent or reduce jail time.
Representing yourself is often inadvisable, even more so in a second DUI case. To maximize the best legal options available to you, it is imperative that you retain a San Diego DUI lawyer as soon as possible. The earlier your lawyer starts working, the better your chances for an acquittal.
Contact McElfresh Law Today
For years, McElfresh Law has worked with clients facing various criminal charges. We possess the required experience to handle your second DUI case and will deliver high-quality legal representation. We are committed to fighting to obtain the best possible result for your case.
Finding a law firm with the experience you need to beat your case can be difficult. At McElfresh Law, your case is in the capable hands of a legal team with excellent courtroom and legal knowledge. Call us today at (858) 756-7107 and learn what we can do to help you.