Are you facing your third DUI offense in San Diego? If your matter goes to trial and you are found guilty, the sentence will not be a slap on the wrist. California DUI laws allow for a progressive increase in penalties based on the number of previous convictions. Accordingly, if you’re facing your third DUI offense within the last 10 years, you should seriously consider hiring a San Diego DUI Lawyer.
Penalties for a Third DUI Offense in San Diego
After two convictions — possibly escaping jail time — you might not be that lucky the third time around. In the absence of aggravating circumstances, a third DUI is still charged as a misdemeanor. However, the penalties, if you are found guilty, will be more severe than on previous occasions:
- Probation – 3 to 5 years of summary probation is allowed
- Jail time – From a minimum of 120 days to a maximum of 365 days
- Fines – These can go as high as $1000
- DUI Education – The court is at liberty to order completion of a 30-month program
- License revocation – If found guilty, you license will be revoked for 3 years
In addition to these penalties, the DMV may designate you as a habitual traffic offender and the court may order the use of an ignition interlock device. The latter will prevent you from starting a car without first passing a breath test installed in your car.
You should know that there are certain circumstances that are not elements of the crime of DUI, but if found guilty, and they are present, your penalties will be enhanced to reflect what the law deems aggravating factors. Such factors can include:
- Driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or more
- Your refusal to take a breath test, when the law required you to do so
- Your DUI behavior led to an accident
- Speeding while under the influence
There is no exact way of knowing how the court will enhance your penalties in light of these factors. Each case will be different and will depend on the facts and the history of the offender. If this is your third DUI, the latter should be of concern to you, and it is prudent to have the experience and knowledge of a San Diego DUI lawyer on your side.
Contact a Skilled San Diego DUI Lawyer
The penalties are higher and the risk of going to jail is very likely when you are before the court for a third DUI. In many instances, people who have previous DUI convictions believe there is no way they can win their case. However, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Plus, having an experienced DUI lawyer can make a world of difference in your criminal matter.
- Your lawyer may get your case dismissed – Like in every other criminal matter, the police are required to follow certain procedures. When police fail to follow proper procedures, the resulting legal technicalities can create a strong foundation to have your charges dismissed. Additionally, you may also be the target of law enforcement, in light of your previous convictions of DUI. Having a lawyer who understands the system and the law will be to your advantage.
- Your lawyer can negotiate – Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, your lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced. There are a number of lesser offenses associated with driving under the influence that can be pursued if the facts allow. When you are unrepresented, you are not in a strong legal bargaining position and may not be able to negotiate in your best interest.
- Your lawyer can fight your third DUI case – There is no rule that says that you must be guilty because you were convicted of DUI in the past. Each case is adjudicated on its own merits, and having a lawyer to research and prepare your defense will raise your chances of securing a not guilty verdict.
- Your lawyer may keep you out of jail – While jail time seem like the obvious penalty when sentencing a person on their third DUI, having a lawyer can alter that path significantly.
There are a number of alternative sentencing options that a court can exercise in lieu of a jail sentence to ensure that justice is served. A lawyer without DUI criminal defense experience may not be aware of these options, so hiring the right legal team is crucial to your freedom.
Refusing legal representation is usually a bad idea. Hiring a lawyer who does not have the required DUI experience would be a mistake. At McElfresh Law, we have years of courtroom experience representing clients charged with numerous types of criminal offenses and securing positive legal outcomes. Our legal team is ready to be by your side, from the beginning to the end. Call our office today at (858) 756-7107 and schedule a consultation to discuss your third DUI offense in San Diego.