The most dreadful thing about a DUI conviction is having your driver’s license revoked or suspended. Being unable to drive freely can be unbearable. It can also cause many inconveniences, considering you must go to school, work, or run errands. In most cases, the DMV will suspend your driver’s license when the police arrest you for a DUI crime. A suspension could be inevitable if you are found driving with a BAC beyond the legal limit or fail to challenge the impending suspension. DUI crimes are usually priorable crimes. If you are a repeat offender, you will face enhanced penalties depending on your previous sentences. The first DUI crime attracts a shorter license suspension period than the second. If you face a DMV license suspension or second offense, Koenig Law Office can help you create a solid defense for your charges in Bakersfield, CA.
Overview of a Second DUI Crime
The judges are always strict on DUI repeat offenders. If the prosecutor accuses you of a second DUI crime, it is always essential to understand the penalty difference between the first and the second DUI. The prosecutor must prove the following elements before you face second DUI charges:
- You were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You could be deemed to have been driving under the influence if your conduct was impaired at the time of arrest or your BAC exceeded the legal limit.
- You were previously charged with a DUI. A second DUI charge happens if you have a prior charge for wet-reckless or drunk driving.
The Court's License Suspension For a Second DUI Offense
If you are guilty of a second DUI crime within ten years of your first crime, a conviction is likely to attract a driver’s license suspension. Typically, you could face a more extended suspension period for a second DUI than the first DUI. The court can only suspend your driving privileges for a second time if you have a prior conviction for a wet-reckless or DUI crime in ten years.
The court could suspend your driving privileges for two years if you are guilty of a second DUI crime. However, the court does not implement or impose this sentence, even if the judge gives it. The court only notifies the DMV of its ruling. The penalty implementation responsibility often lies with the DMV.
Your attorney, however, can negotiate with the prosecutor for a lesser charge. The court cannot suspend your driver’s license if your attorney succeeds in negotiating for reduced charges like reckless driving. Additionally, if your case leads to a mistrial or you are found innocent of the allegations, the court cannot suspend your driver’s license.
DMV License Suspension For a Second DUI Offense
The Department of Motor Vehicles will have your license suspended during the administrative per se violation, abbreviated as APS if you are guilty of a second DUI crime. Usually, the arresting officer will take your driver’s license once he/she arrests you for a second DUI crime. You will then receive a temporary license valid for thirty days. The law enforcement will inform the DMV of your arrest and provide your license details. The DMV will notify you of the impending license suspension once they receive communication from law enforcement. You will then have ten days to request a hearing when you receive information from the DMV.
The purpose of the hearing is to give you a chance to challenge your license suspension. The DMV will suspend your license automatically if you fail to request the hearing within ten days. The hearing date will be set if you request it, and you will have an opportunity to present your case before the DMV officer.
You are allowed to have legal representation during the hearing. Having an attorney enhances your chances of winning your case. A DUI attorney is always aware of the questions the DMV officer will likely ask and can challenge the arresting officer’s evidence.
The Difference Between Court and DMV License Suspension
Both the court and the DMV carry out their proceedings independently. The court trial focuses on determining whether you are innocent or guilty of the crime you are charged with. On the other hand, the DMV trial focuses on the facts of the DUI arrest and your driver’s license.
The other differences between the court and DMV proceedings are:
- You could face more severe penalties for a second DUI court case than for a license suspension alone. In this case, you could face a jail sentence if you are guilty. Conversely, the DMV will not impose severe penalties on you as a reason to adjust the charges against you.
- If your attorney negotiates for a lesser charge and the court stops suspending your license, the DMV’s decision to suspend your license will not be affected by the court’s ruling.
- You have a right to another hearing in a year from the date you got arrested if you lose at the DMV hearing. However, this can only occur if the court drops the DUI charges against you or the district attorney fails to file charges. Usually, the court can dismiss the accusations against you without substantial evidence. The court can also dismiss your charges if you are a victim of illegal search and seizure under Penal Code 1538.5. All these circumstances allow you to file another DMV hearing to contest the suspension of your license.
- Winning a DMV hearing cannot influence the court's DUI trial. The DMV hearing officer can only take action against your driving privileges. This ruling is independent from the court proceedings where you face criminal charges.
- The court trial is mandatory, and you or your attorney must attend the proceedings. Conversely, the DMV is optional, and having an attorney represent you is optional.
Possible Penalties For a Second DUI Crime
The court could impose on you the following penalties if you are guilty of a second DUI offense:
- Completion of a court-ordered DUI school for 18 to 30 months.
- Fines and penalty assessments that do not exceed $1,000.
- Misdemeanor probation for three to five years.
- Mandatory jail term of 96 hours to one year.
- Suspension of your driver’s license for two years — If the court suspends your driver’s license for a second DUI, you could secure a restricted license after the first year. The restricted license permits you to drive to specific places only, like work and school.
If the judge imposes probation after a DUI conviction, it usually serves as an optional jail term. Second, DUI probation always takes three to five years. You could face the following conditions once the judge imposes probation:
- Installation of an Ignition interlock device.
- Paying restitution if you caused an accident and injured someone else.
- You must submit to a chemical test if you are arrested while on probation.
- Avoid committing another offense while on probation.
- Avoid driving a car with a measurable amount of BAC.
You could also face the following consequences, apart from administrative and criminal penalties:
- You could be denied an opportunity to serve in the military.
- The DMV could notify your car insurance company to increase your insurance premiums.
- You could be rejected from the university or college.
Circumstances That Could Enhance The Penalties For Your Second DUI
Some aggravating factors could enhance your second DUI penalty. The common ones include:
- Driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle — In this case, you could face child endangerment charges in addition to the DUI charge.
- Causing an accident and being arrested for a second DUI.
- If you overspeed and are arrested for a second DUI,.
- Failure to undergo a chemical test.
- If your BAC is 0.15% or more.
Defenses Against A Second DUI Driver's License Suspension
You could raise several defenses if the prosecutor accuses you of a second DUI offense. Some of the defenses you could present include:
DUI Plea Bargain
If the prosecutor accuses you of a second DUI, you can opt for a plea bargain as a defense strategy. A plea deal is usually a negotiation between your attorney and the prosecutor. A plea bargain could be an alternative to taking your DUI case to trial and suffering a conviction.
You should carefully assess your case before seeking and accepting a plea deal. You also need to seek the services of a skilled and experienced DUI attorney before accepting the deal.
Your attorney could consider some factors while seeking a plea bargain for your second DUI charge. Some of the factors include:
Your Risk Tolerance
Your attorney will determine if you are willing to take a risk before negotiating a plea deal. The plea deal might not be the best option if you feel your case is strong enough and you can defend yourself effectively.
The Nature of Your Previous Charges
The severity of your punishment could increase if you face charges for a second DUI. The DUI statutes are always strict for repeat offenders. You should enter into a plea bargain to help you avoid severe second-degree DUI penalties.
The Strength Of The Prosecution’s Case
Your attorney could recommend accepting a plea deal if the prosecution’s charges are substantial, and you could face a DUI conviction.
The Plea Deals You Could Consider For Your Second DUI Charge
The following are the plea deals you could explore if the prosecutor accuses you of a second DUI:
- Traffic infractions — The last resort when facing a second DUI charge is to plead guilty to a traffic infraction. Generally, a traffic infraction attracts a small fine only because it is not a criminal offense. The prosecutor could accept this plea when the judge will likely dismiss your charges.
- Exhibition of speed — This is a rare plea agreement for DUI. However, your attorney could enter into this plea agreement if the prosecutor’s case is weak. An exhibition of speed rarely attracts license suspension and jail term.
- Wet reckless — Wet reckless DUI charge is popular with prosecutors. This is a reckless driving charge with a note that alcohol was involved. Fortunately, a charge with this crime often attracts lesser penalties than a DUI.
- Dry reckless — A dry reckless is a crime in which alcohol is not involved. The advantage of entering a dry, reckless plea agreement is that it does not count a previous DUI on your criminal record.
Benefits of a Plea Bargain
When you enter a plea agreement for a second DUI, you will need to plead guilty to reduced crimes like exhibition of speed, wet recklessness, or dry recklessness. You could enjoy the following benefits, depending on the plea bargain you choose to take:
- Less social stigma —You could face significant social stigma in addition to jail terms and fines for a second DUI. You could face less social stigma if you enter a plea agreement and are convicted of a lesser crime.
- Reduce the negative influence on your vehicle insurance — The DMV could notify your insurance company of your license suspension and conviction if the court convicts you of a second DUI charge. Your second DUI could negatively influence your driving record and cause your insurance company to increase However, the impact on your vehicle insurance could be lower if you are convicted of a lesser crime, like an exhibition of speed or being dry-reckless.
- Reduced jail term and fines — You could face a longer jail term and hefty fines if the court convicts you of a second DUI crime. However, entering a plea agreement could significantly reduce your jail term and fines.
- No mandatory suspension of your driver’s license — You are likely to face a compulsory driver’s license suspension if you are found guilty of a second DUI. This requirement, however, does not.
apply to most DUI plea deals.
Your BAC Was Within The Allowable Limit
You can fight second-DUI offense charges and the accompanying license suspension by proving that your blood alcohol concentration was within the allowable limit. The prosecutor should prove that your BAC reading was 0.08% or above if you are accused of DUI under Vehicle Code 23152(b). If the chemical test results demonstrate that your BAC reading was less than 0.08%, you can use that evidence to defend yourself against the allegation. You can also use this proof to avoid having your license suspended at your DMV hearing.
Faulty DUI Testing Procedure
Breathalyzer tests are unreliable and prone to a variety of errors. Chemical test findings can be contested if the testing protocols were not followed correctly or if the agency in charge of the testing instrument did not adhere to regulations. For the most accurate readings, breathalyzers must be regularly re-calibrated; even when correctly calibrated, they could still be inaccurate. By studying the breathalyzer tests, an expert DUI attorney can help you reach the best outcome in your case.
Securing A Restricted License After a Second DUI Offense
The law allows you to enjoy your driving privileges as long as you comply with certain conditions. You can secure an IID or restricted license when you are convicted of a second DUI offense, and your license is suspended. Both licenses permit you to get behind the wheel, but each license has certain conditions.
IID Restricted License
The IID prevents your car from starting once it detects alcohol in your breath. The DMV allows you to drive to any place if you install this device in your car while your license is suspended.
Before you start your car, you must provide a breath sample if you have installed an IID. The car will not start if alcohol is detected. The device will also demand periodic breath samples once the car starts. The IID will behave this way to check if your breath still has no alcohol.
You must provide an SR22 form for you to secure an IID-restricted license. Your insurance company offers the SR22 form. You also need to provide evidence that you have enrolled in a DUI school for you to secure an IID-restricted license. You will obtain an IID-restricted license once you have met all the requirements. An IID-restricted license takes one year.
A restricted license limits where you can drive. This license permits you to drive to and from work. You can also drive to a hospital, school, or DUI school when necessary. You need to secure an SR22 form to get this license. The DMV could also order you to maintain the SR22 with them for three years from the date you obtained the restricted license.
The other qualification you need to secure an IID or a restricted license is to undergo a chemical test. You cannot obtain these two licenses without undergoing DUI testing. Refusing to undergo a chemical test results in a one-year license suspension.
Find a DUI Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
If the prosecutor accuses you of a second DUI crime, the repercussions of a conviction could be more severe than those of a first DUI. However, being arrested for a second DUI does not mean facing a conviction. You can create a solid defense to challenge the charges with the guidance of a skilled DUI attorney. At the Koenig Law Office, we have a reputable team of attorneys who will assist you in challenging your charges in Bakersfield, CA. Contact us at 661-793-7222 to talk to one of our attorneys.