Driving under the influence (DUI) is a severe crime with life-altering consequences. When you are under arrest or charged with the crime of DUI and you have two past DUI convictions on your record, the prosecutor will file a third-time DUI offense against you. That means the penalties you are likely to face upon conviction are more severe than the penalties you received for your past DUI convictions.

Aside from the lengthy jail time, you could lose your driver's license for an extended period, affecting several aspects of your life. Because of the severity of the penalties you are likely to face for a third-time DUI conviction, retaining the services of a skilled and experienced defense attorney is a decision you cannot regret.

Our reliable attorneys at Koenig Law Office can help you or a loved one avoid or minimize the consequences of a third-time DUI offense. If you are under investigation or have a pending third-time DUI charge in Bakersfield, you can count on us for exceptional legal representation to obtain the best possible outcome.

Third-Time DUI Offense at a Glance

According to Vehicle Code VC 23152, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or any other drug, including prescription drugs. Since it is a "priorable" crime, the penalties you will face for subsequent DUI convictions will be steep.

If you have two past DUI convictions on your record within the past ten years, a subsequent arrest on suspicion that you were driving under the influence could attract third-time DUI charges. To secure a conviction against you for a third-time DUI offense, the prosecutor must prove that:

  • You were driving
  • You were impaired by alcohol or drugs, meaning you could not drive like a sober person would under similar circumstances
  • You have two past DUI convictions on your record within the past ten (10) years

Potential Penalties for a Third-Time DUI Conviction

The prosecutor will typically file a third-time DUI offense as a misdemeanor unless your case has aggravating factors. Below are the potential penalties you are likely to receive for a third-time DUI conviction:

  • Up to one (1) year of jail time and an additional ten days if you refuse a chemical test upon a DUI arrest
  • Five-year DUI probation
  • Install an IID (ignition interlock device) in your vehicle for not less than two (2) years
  • Fines and legal penalty assessments not exceeding $3,000
  • Attend a DUI course for not more than three (3) years
  • Three-year driver's license suspension

Some of the aggravating factors that could make the above penalties severe upon a DUI conviction  include the following:

  • You had a child aged 14 or below onboard
  • Your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was at 0.15 percent or above at the time of the arrest
  • You declined to take chemical blood or urine tests required after a DUI arrest
  • You were speeding
  • Being underage at the time of the arrest
  • At the time you were drunk driving, you caused the injury or death of another person

With the presence of the above aggravating factors, imprisonment could be unavoidable upon conviction for a third-time DUI offense.

Third-Time DUI Offense and Driver's License (DL) Suspensions

Many people do not recognize the importance of a DL until they lose it due to DUI-related cases. When you are under investigation or charged with a third-time DUI offense, you could lose your DL in any of the following ways:

     1. Court-Imposed Three-Year DL Suspension Upon DUI Conviction at Trial

If you are guilty of a third-time DUI, your penalties will include a three-year DL suspension. Although the judge will not suspend your DL, he/she can contact the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to do so.

If you did comply with chemical test requirements upon your DUI arrest, the DMV would allow you to continue driving with a restricted DL. A restricted DL will allow you to continue operating your car during your DL suspension period. However, you must be ready to install an IID in your vehicle, which prevents it from igniting when it detects alcohol in your breath vapor.

     2. DMV DL Suspension for a Third-Time DUI Offense

Generally speaking, when the police arrest you on suspicion that you are driving under the influence, they will confiscate your DL. Then, they will issue you a pink temporary DL (Notice of Suspension) valid for not more than thirty (30) days from the date of your arrest.

After thirty days, the DMV will automatically suspend your DL license unless you request a DMV hearing within ten (10) days of your DUI arrest. Once you request the DMV hearing, the DMV will delay the suspension of your DL pending the outcome of your case.

If you win this hearing, the DMV will set aside the suspension of DL. However, when you lose the hearing, a one-year suspension of your DL will go into effect. Fortunately, even if you lose the DMV hearing, you could retain your much-needed driving privileges by installing an IID in your vehicle during the DL suspension period.

Although DMV hearings are more relaxed than criminal case hearings, it is a brilliant idea to retain the services of an attorney to represent your best interests during the DMV hearing for the best possible outcome.

How DMV Hearings and Criminal Court Proceedings for a Third-time DUI Offense Relate

Upon an arrest as a suspect in a DUI case, the criminal court proceedings will not begin immediately because the prosecutor must receive the police's report and analyze it before filing formal charges against you. Sometimes, the prosecutor could find the available evidence insufficient to file formal charges against you, forcing him/her to drop your DUI case.

On the other hand, the DMV hearing will commence immediately once the DMV hearing officer receives a report from the arresting officer. The police report will typically indicate your DUI arrest and whether your BAC was 0.08% or above. The report could also indicate whether you refused to take a breathalyzer chemical test after your DUI arrest.

Whether or not the prosecutor files formal DUI charges against you, the DMV proceedings will commence immediately after your arrest. The main purpose of the DMV hearing is to determine whether to suspend your DL. That means the DMV could suspend your DL even if the court or prosecutor decides to dismiss your case.

During the criminal court proceeding and DMV hearing, the prosecutor and your defense attorney can cross-examine the available evidence and present their arguments. Generally speaking, DMV administrative hearings are not formal like criminal court proceedings and will only take a few hours of your time to complete.

Defenses That Could Work in Your Favor During the DMV Hearing

An aggressive attorney with experience defending clients in similar DUI cases can help you obtain a favorable outcome during the DMV administrative hearing. Your DUI attorney could win the DMV administrative hearing if he/she can provide evidence to support the following legal defenses:

You Were Not Driving

Sometimes, a police officer can arrest you on suspicion that you were drunk driving after a collision or an accident, even if he/she did not witness you driving. The DMV administrative hearing officer will set aside your DL suspension if the arresting officer cannot prove that you were driving before your arrest.

The Arresting Police Officer Did Not Have Probable Cause for Your DUI Arrest

Before initiating a DUI arrest, a police officer must have probable cause to believe and conclude that you were drunk driving. To prove that the arresting police officer lacked probable cause to initiate an arrest against you on suspicion that you were driving under the influence, your attorney can argue that:

  • You are a victim of racial profiling due to your ethnicity, meaning you were abiding by all the traffic rules before your arrest
  • You did not exhibit objective signs of intoxication at the time of the arrest
  • You performed well on field sobriety tests (FSTs)

If the arresting officer lacked probable cause to arrest and detain you on suspicion that you were driving under the influence, the DMV will set aside your DL suspension. That means you will retain your driving privileges before the outcome of your DUI case is decided at trial.

Your Chemical BAC Test Results Were Inaccurate

After your DUI arrest, the arresting police officer will require you to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your level of intoxication. Since chemical test results are the most crucial evidence in a DUI case, a seasoned attorney will focus on attacking the reliability of these results.

If your attorney proves the breathalyzer equipment was faulty, the DMV could set aside your DL suspension.

The Objective Signs of Intoxication you Displayed Were Not Due to Alcohol

Your physical appearance will come into play during a DUI investigation. If the arresting police officer testifies that you displayed objective signs of intoxication, like watery eyes, your attorney can argue that your appearance was due to innocent reasons like fatigue.

Mouth Alcohol Led to High BAC Results

A falsely high BAC result is also a viable legal defense during the DMV hearing. Before asking you to blow a breathalyzer, the police should observe you for a minimum of fifteen minutes to ensure you do not eat or swallow anything containing alcohol, including mouthwash and beverages.

During this fifteen-minute duration, the officer must also ensure you do not regurgitate, burp, or belch because the natural body activities could bring alcohol into your mouth. If you had consumed alcohol before taking the breathalyzer test, your attorney could argue that your BAC results were inaccurate for the best possible outcome during the DMV hearing.

The Arresting Officer's Paperwork Had Fatal Flaws

Once a police officer initiates a DUI arrest, he/she must fill out and complete specific mandatory paperwork and reports. If the arresting officers fail to report your BAC results, forget to sign the paperwork, or write an inaccurate date on the paperwork, there are chances that you could win the DMV hearing.

Other viable legal defenses that could work in your favor during the DMV hearing include the following:

  • The police did not inform you of the possible consequences of refusing a chemical test
  • You had a rising BAC
  • The DUI checkpoint was unconstitutional

If these defenses work in your favor at the DMV hearing, your attorney can use all or some to challenge your third-time DUI charge at trial for the best possible outcome.

The Role of an Attorney When Charged with a Third-time DUI Offense

If you are under arrest or charged with a DUI offense, you can increase your chances of obtaining a desirable outcome by hiring an attorney. However, if you cannot afford a personal attorney, the court can appoint a public defender during the arraignment hearing to offer much-needed legal assistance.

Here are various ways your defense attorney can help you if you are in trouble with the law as a suspect in a DUI case:

He/she Can Analyze Your Case

A reliable attorney understands the importance of analyzing your case before crafting legal defenses to challenge your charge at every stage of the legal justice system. Your attorney can use the gathered evidence to prepare pretrial motions to support your unique case. These motions could include a motion to suppress evidence and the Pitchess motion.

During your case's trial, your attorney can also apply the gathered evidence, including eyewitness testimonies, to help convince the judge to drop or reduce your charges to a less severe offense.

He/she Can Negotiate with the Prosecutor on Your Behalf

You cannot undermine the importance of having an attorney at every stage of the legal justice system. A reliable attorney can help prevent your DUI case from reaching the trial phase of the legal justice system, which could result in a conviction. If you have a reliable attorney who aggressively negotiates with the prosecutor, the potential outcome of your case could be favorable.

With proper evidence backed up by proper arguments, the prosecutor could agree to reduce your DUI offense to dry reckless or wet reckless.

He/she Can Gather Evidence to Strengthen Your Defense Arguments

One of the primary roles of the defense attorney you will choose to handle your third-time DUI offense is to gather evidence to help challenge the allegations you are up against for the best possible outcome. With proper and clear evidence, the court could challenge and weaken the prosecutor's case against you to obtain a favorable outcome.

The only way to avoid DL suspension after a DUI arrest is to win the DMV hearing and win your criminal charge at trial.

Requirements for DL Reinstatement After Suspension by the DMV

Reinstatement of your driving privileges after DL suspension by the DMV is not automatic. The first step to reinstating your DL after a suspension by the DMV is to wait for the one-year suspension period to expire. Once this DL suspension period expires, you should file a reinstatement application with the DMV with the help of your DUI attorney.

It is worth noting that the DL reinstatement procedure is not the same for every motorist. The application process will vary for some motorists depending on the reason for their DL suspension. Some of the common requirements for DL reinstatement after a suspension include the following:

  • Pay a DL reinstatement fee of up to $150
  • Submit proof of insurance (SR-22 Proof of Financial Responsibility)
  • Provide proof to show that you have completed the recommended drug or alcohol education courses
  • Wait for the judgment of your pending DUI case

Before you begin the DL reinstatement process, you should check your license suspension order, which informs you of the requirements and conditions you must fulfill for reinstatement.

To continue driving legally, you must apply for reinstatement of your DL. Otherwise, when you drive with a suspended license, the police can arrest you for driving with a suspended license, which is an offense. That is true, even if your DL suspension period has already expired.

Driving with a suspended DL is chargeable and punishable as a misdemeanor. Below are the potential penalties for this offense:

  • A fine not exceeding $1,000
  • Three-year informal probation
  • Up to one year of detention in the county jail

Find a Bakersfield DUI Attorney Near Me

Having your DL suspended can be frustrating, primarily if you rely on your vehicle to move to and from work and to drop off and pick up your children from school daily. However, there are chances that you could avoid the suspension when you retain the services of a skilled DUI attorney.

Our attorneys at Koenig Law Office are available 24/7 to help you if you are arrested or charged with a third-time DUI offense. We understand how severe and life-changing the consequences of a DUI conviction could be, especially if you are a repeat offender. Call us at 661-793-7222 to discuss your DUI case with our attorneys, wherever you are in Bakersfield, for prompt legal intervention.