Your first DUI offense may have been an accident, but being caught a second time is considered much worse in the eyes of the law. If you’ve been charged with drinking and driving twice, it’s critical to contact an experienced Orange County second offense DUI lawyer.

Scott D. Henry is a leading defender of citizens accused of driving under the influence. It’s important to understand the penalties associated with a second offense and how a DUI attorney can help you build a strong defense.

What Counts as a Second Offense DUI?

Not all repeat offenders are guilty of a second DUI. In California, you have a prior DUI if your conviction occurred within the 10 years before your arrest. However, the law defines prior DUI convictions broadly. It includes both traditional DUI convictions and those for other offenses like “wet reckless” convictions. If you were simply arrested for driving while intoxicated, but not convicted, it does not count as a prior offense. Another way prosecutors can define your second offense is if you had a charge leveled against you in another state. If that state’s intoxication charges match California’s bylaws, it’s considered a first offense that counts toward a second one if applicable.

Just as with a first offense DUI, your second will be handled by two different processes: the California DMV and the criminal justice system. Each comes with penalties. Consult with our local attorneys for help through this process following a second DUI offense.

What Penalties Could I Be Facing for a Repeat DUI Offense?

The California DMV handles the administrative process, which focuses on your driving privileges. The criminal justice system and the courts will address your criminal penalties.

After a second offense DUI, you must act quickly to protect your driving privileges by contact an Orange County attorney. Unless you request an administrative per se hearing with the California DMV within 10 days of receiving your suspension notice, they will automatically suspend your driver’s license.

Typically, you receive this notice at the time of your arrest. This suspension will be in effect for at least one year, although in most cases our attorneys can help you obtain a restricted license immediately. Even if you eventually regain your driver’s license, you will have to purchase SR-22 insurance, which can be incredibly costly. The DMV can (and will) impose these penalties before you’re convicted.

Notably, if you request an administrative per se hearing with the California DMV, the agency cannot suspend your license until there is a formal decision made on the merits of your case. Since it can take months to complete the DMV hearing process, this can give you much-needed time to come up with a plan.

It’s in your best interest to file an appeal with the help of an experienced Orange County DUI attorney if you have been charged for the second time. Your lawyer can guide you through the appeal process and attend your hearing with you. We can also present helpful testimony and question the officer that arrested you. We typically recommend an in-person hearing, rather than one over the telephone.

Criminal Penalties

If you face the court on a second-time drinking and driving offense, the judge will weigh several factors. Details regarding the pullover sequence, your reputation and other factors will all combine into potential penalties in your case. These penalties range from generous and minimal to long-term and damaging. Consider this minimum and maximum penalty ranges, including:

  • 96 Hours to 365 days in jail
  • Three to five years of probation
  • Fines between $390 and $1,000 plus Penalty Assessments
  • Suspended license for up to two years
  • Eighteen to 30 months of California driving-under-the-influence school

Because one small detail can quickly change a minimum penalty into a maximum type, you need a strong criminal defense lawyer by your side. Our law firm has experience in nearly every court in Southern California.

Negotiating the Penalty Types

It’s the job of the prosecutors to make you an example for other citizens. In most cases, prosecutors will seek the maximum penalty to prove a point about not driving under the influence. You’ll need a lawyer who knows the California law inside and out. Many times, an experienced Orange County second offense DUI lawyer can identify important information during their investigation that can be used during negotiations with the prosecutors.

Each case is unique, and details will help your defense secure minimum penalties. When you work with our legal team, we carefully study the circumstances surrounding your arrest and may  consider these important case details, such as:

  • Property damage involved
  • Injuries or deaths as a result of your driving
  • Children present at the scene

If your intoxication situation was relatively uneventful, minimum penalties can be applied without too much effort. Without a good lawyer by your side, however, even simple cases can be lost to the prosecution.

Aggregating Factors

Your case might be complicated by several known factors. Under California law, prosecutors can demand increased penalties under certain circumstances. Harsh penalties are often imposed when these issues are part of the charge, including:

  • Blood alcohol content exceeding 0.15 percent
  • Child under age 14 inside the vehicle
  • Driving without a current license
  • Inflicting injury or death on another person

It’s not just the penalties that become harsher but also the type of charge. A misdemeanor can quickly turn into a felony if bodily injury is involved. For this reason alone, a strong defense team is necessary.

At the Law Offices of Scott Henry, we focus our practice primarily on DUI defense. Unlike some law firms that simply dabble in these complex cases, we have a detailed and sophisticated understanding of California’s DUI laws. We can put all of our efforts into your case in order to fight off a felony charge.

Controlling Driving Privileges

If you have a solid defense team, it’s possible to receive a restricted license while fighting a second-time intoxication offense. However, the court still needs proof that you’re driving sober.

A judge can request for an ignition interlock to be installed on your car. These calibrated devices require your sober breath before the engine will turn over. Some devices can even have restrictions on the destination, such as a cocktail bar instead of your work address.

Think of the ignition interlock device as a way to prove yourself to the court. Every time that you have a sober drive to an approved destination, you gain trust with the judge. These sober readings are recorded in order to show your compliance with the court too.

Does California Impose Second Offense DUI Penalties for Drugs?

California’s second offense DUI laws cover both drunk and drugged driving. If you were arrested for driving while under the influence of either legal or illegal drugs twice, you should consult with an experienced Orange County lawyer. Defending these cases requires intensive attention to detail and a deep understanding of how our bodies process and metabolize drugs and medications.

Consult With an Orange County Second Offense DUI Attorney

Our attorney team can help you wade through the legal system and emerge successfully. Don’t let that intoxication charge turn into a conviction. Learn more about how the Orange County second offense DUI lawyers at The Law Offices of Scott Henry can help today.

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