What Happens If I Get a Fourth California DUI?

July 27, 2020

You could be sentenced to a term in state prison for a 4th DUI in 10 years.

What Happens If I Get a Fourth California DUI?

California takes the issue of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI) very seriously. Even a first-time DUI offense may result in jail time, plus a license suspension of up to 10 months, and other penalties. But what happens if you get multiple DUIs?

The answer to this question depends, in part, on when the DUI offenses occurred. California has a 10 year “lookback” period. This means that DUI convictions will only be counted as a prior offense if they occurred within 10 years of a current arrest. As a DUI attorney in Orange County, CA can explain, if you got a DUI in California in 2007, and are arrested again for DUI in 2020, then the 2020 arrest will be considered a first-time DUI. However, if that first DUI conviction was in 2011, then the 2020 arrest will be deemed a second-time offense. Importantly, these prior DUIs must be convictions — not just arrests.

To prove that you have prior DUI convictions, a prosecutor will use court records, your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records, and certificates of completion from court-ordered alcohol or drug programs. For these purposes, out-of-state DUI convictions and convictions for wet reckless in California also qualify as a prior offense.

If you have at least three prior DUI convictions, the prosecutor will charge you with a felony DUI. The specific punishment will vary based on the facts of your case, the level of intoxication (blood alcohol concentration) you had at the time of the arrest, whether there are any other aggravating factors, the number of prior DUI convictions you have had, and how long ago those convictions were. You may be sentenced to:

  • 16 months in county jail, or 2 to 4 years in state prison
  • $390 to $1,000 in fines
  • A 4 year license revocation;
  • A 5 year license suspension;
  • 18 or 30 months of DUI school; and
  • Having a Habitual Traffic Offender status for 3 years.

It is possible to fight back against a felony DUI charge. A skilled DUI attorney in Orange County, CA may work to have the charges in your case reduced or even dismissed. This may be done based on the facts of your case, or through a legal argument, such as the police lacking probable cause to arrest you. At the same time, your lawyer will review each prior DUI or wet reckless conviction to determine if it can be challenged. If even one prior conviction can be stricken from your record, then your felony DUI charge may be reduced to a misdemeanor.

If you have been charged with a fourth DUI, it is critical that you hire a skilled DUI attorney in Orange County, CA to represent you. The Chambers Law Firm has experience handling all types of DUI cases, including felony DUIs. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or info@orangecountyduifirm.com to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.

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