DUI Third Offense

3rd DUIWhile a 1st offense DUIs is a serious charge, a 2nd DUI offense entails even harsher consequences. For motorists who are unfortunate enough to be arrested for three DUI offenses within 10 years, the possible penalties can be frightening.  Drivers with a 3rd DUI charge can face serious sanctions from the DMV. The DMV will attempt to suspend the driver’s license of multiple DUI offenders in what is known as an administrative per se (APS) hearing. Drivers arrested for DUI have only 10 calendar days to request a DMV hearing. If no hearing is requested within 10 days, the DMV will automatically begin the process of suspending a driver’s license.

Because the consequences of multiple drunk driving arrests are so severe, it’s critical to have aggressive legal representation. An experienced California DUI criminal defense lawyer can represent the interests of an accused drunk driver at an APS hearing and fight to maintain the individuals driving privileges. Drivers convicted of three DUIs in 10 years can expect consequences at the DMV, hefty fines, and other penalties.

Fines & Fees:

If you’re convicted of your third DUI in 10 years, you can expect a fine of between $1,800 and $2,800. This includes court fees and other various costs associated with the crime, and can be paid over time for an additional charge, or in full within 45 days. In some courts, people can work off part of the fine through community service.

Jail Time & Probation:

For those convicted of a third offense DUI, there is a required 120 days of jail time. It is possible to have this time converted to some alternative, like home arrest, rehab, or a combination of the two. Many counties will insist on at least 210 days of jail, and some counties require a full year. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, those charged with a third offense DUI will be faced with 3-5 years of Court OR Formal Probation. Court Probation means there is no probation officer to report to, but there is absolutely no drinking and driving permitted during that time period. Formal Probation means reporting to a Probation Officer on a regular basis. The court decides which type of probation to give based in part on what your lawyer has to say on your behalf.

DMV Consequences

The DMV consequences imposed on drivers with multiple DUI arrests depend on whether the motorist refused to take a chemical test. A driver arrested three times for DUI within 10 years who submits to a chemical test faces a two-year license suspension and the requirement to file formal proof of insurance (an SR-22) with the DMV for the next three years. The motorist also is required to enroll in alcohol education classes. The driver may be entitled to a restricted license after 18 months that allows travel to work and alcohol education classes.

Third-offender DUI drivers who refuse to take a chemical test face harsher consequences. Drivers who refuse a chemical test also face a license suspension of one year for a first refusal, two years for a second refusal, and three years for a third refusal. Under California’s implied consent laws, drivers who refuse chemical tests cannot obtain a restricted license. The driver must file an SR-22 in order to have the license reinstated at the end of the suspension period.

A DMV hearing officer must find three facts to be true in order to suspend a driver’s license that police had a reasonable belief that the driver committed a crime, that the arrest was lawful, and that the driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater while behind the wheel. An experienced California DUI criminal defense attorney will aggressively challenge each of these assertions.

The punishment imposed in connection with an APS hearing is separate from any consequences stemming from a court conviction. Although courts no longer have the authority to order driver’s license suspensions, the DMV will suspend a driver’s license for two years upon learning of a third drunk driving conviction within 10 years. This suspension is concurrent with, not in addition to, any APS suspension. The DMV also will require the installation of an ignition interlock device and attendance at an 18- to 30 month alcohol education class.

Motorists with three DUI arrests within 10 years risk losing their drivers licenses as a result of an unsuccessful APS hearing or a criminal court conviction, but both actions may be avoided with savvy legal representation. An experienced California DUI attorney will plan strategies to aggressively defend a client at both the DMV and in court, and keep repercussions to a minimum.