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What If I Am Arrested for a Second DUI?


A second DUI charge is serious and any person suffering an arrest for driving under the influence should be informed about the laws and consequences of a conviction. A prior DUI conviction permits the prosecutor to charge your current DUI arrest as a second DUI. The first DUI conviction must be within ten (10) years of the current DUI arrest. Pleading guilty to a second violation of CA VC 23152 increases penalties and fines significantly over a the first DUI.


Jail/custody will not be ordered on a first DUI conviction however a second DUI requires at least 96 hours custody with the San Diego Sheriff. Second time offenders must enroll in the multiple conviction program through the court SAAU (Substance Abuse Assessment Unit) as well as MADD classes. The mandatory classes not only cost more but also last up to 18 months.


The DMV will automatically suspend your license within 30 days of you arrest for a DUI. The automatic suspension should be avoided since it is a valuable opportunity to confront the arresting officer. California vehicle laws give you the right to a hearing before your license is suspended. A license suspension with a second DUI can last as long as two years. The severe increase in license suspension length is among the reasons that a second DUI conviction needs to be opposed vigorously. A restricted license after arrest for a second DUI can be obtained but requires at least six months and possibly an IID device. Having your case handled by an experienced San Diego DUI lawyer is an important decision which any defendant must consider.


The San Diego Sheriffs PSP (Public Work Service) program will be ordered in a second DUI conviction. The number of days spent in this community service program will depend on how high a persons BAC was when arrested. There are multiple factors that determine the amount of jail custody if any will be imposed in your sentence. These include the seriousness of your prior DUI conviction and the facts in your current case. A charge of VC 23153 for drunk driving causing injury can impose a longer jail sentence and increased length of alcohol abuse classes and fines.


An experienced San Diego Criminal Attorney will look at the facts of any DUI case to see what options there are to have the case dismissed. Improper police contact with a defendant such as a violation of 4th amendment search and seizure laws are a powerful basis to defend against these charges. Law enforcement does NOT operate with a complete right to detain or search a person or their vehicle.

As in any DUI prosecution there are certain factors the prosecution must show. Allegations are not facts and proof only comes from testimony at trial. Was the vehicle actually moving. If it was moving what is the proof and how did the officer learn the car was moved by a person who had consumed alcohol?

The chemical tests used to allege a person’s blood alcohol level is also a common area for defense success at trial. From the small PAS handheld breathalyzers to more sophisticated blood analysis machines there is significant science that underlies everything. Defense experts are often crucial to test and re-test not only samples used by the police but also the machines themselves. Improper maintenance and use of machinery has lead to thousands if unlawful convictions and arrests in DUI cases.


There are two factors in an unlawful search and seizure defense. The initial vehicle stop and the actual arrest require police to follow Constitutional and California court requirements. A vehicle stop requires the officer have reasonable suspicion that a crime or some unlawful activity is occurring. In a DUI case a stop will usually come from a vehicle code violation such as speeding, failure to stop at a road sign, improper or erratic lane changes and many others. The officer must have some actual facts that allow him to conclude that you violated some law or code. This motion usually attacks the evidence submitted by the prosecution to the court and demands that part or all of the evidence be withdrawn from the record. A positive result on a suppression motion could allow a defendants case to be dismissed.