Being detained for a second California DUI could be stressful for everyone involved. It is essential to hire a skilled Los Angeles DUI attorney to defend your best interests throughout your court appearances. An attorney can defend your rights, help lessen your sentence and eventually have the second DUI expunged from your record.

You can contact the Los Angeles Criminal Attorney if you are facing second DUI charges. Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation if you need professional and personalized dedication to your DUI case.

When Does a California DUI Count as a Second DUI?

A second DUI charge arises when you're suspected of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and have previously been convicted of a similar offense. The prior crime must have occurred during the look-back time allowed by your state.

Many individuals with prior DUI convictions on their records might need to be made aware that the prior conviction could be utilized to increase the penalty on any following DUI conviction. According to California VC § 23622, if a recent DUI charge has an incident timeline of ten years:

  • With charges involving an infringement of California VC Sections 23152 (DUI)
  • VC 23153 (DUI with injury
  • Vehicle Code 23103, or
  • VC 23103.5 (wet reckless)
  • Then the court will consider the initial offense or violations as a prior

However, DUI arrests (without a conviction) are not considered. The 10-year limit begins on the day you were arrested. Similar to your first, the second DUI will be addressed by two separate systems: the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the justice system. Each carries a distinct set of consequences and penalties.

Penalties for a California Second DUI offense

One typical question for those caught and convicted of a California second DUI California is how the consequences and penalties vary from those imposed following their first DUI charge.

There is no easy way to respond to this question. That's because the response is substantially dependent on the specific details of each unique scenario. Nevertheless, the following parts outline what you might typically anticipate if you receive a second California DUI charge.

Second-time DUI Administrative Penalties

If you fail to request a hearing within ten days of receiving the suspension letter, the DMV will immediately suspend your driving license. This typically implies within 10 days after the arrest. The following penalties are associated with this suspension:

  • Your driver's license will be suspended for a minimum of one year
  • If you are eligible to apply for "limited" driving rights, you must wait 3 months before doing so

To recover your driver's license or acquire a limited one, you'll need to pay for SR-22 insurance, which is usually costly.

The Department of motor vehicles can uphold this suspension beginning just 10 days following your incarceration, even though you have not been convicted. The best step you can take right now to change your current situation is to request a DMV hearing.

You will have certain rights during theThey consist of:

  • Having the right to legal counsel
  • Instead of having a hearing conducted over the phone, you can ask to appear in person. This usually works in the defendant’s favor
  • You have the right to ask the arresting officer to appear at the proceeding and respond to questions. This may not only benefit the DMV case, but it may also reveal flaws that you can apply in your legal defense

When you request a hearing session, the DMV will only be able to suspend your driver's license once the hearing is completed. This can provide you several months of room to breathe while you take care of your legal defense, and in certain situations, you might even avoid receiving a suspension.

Having a DUI defense attorney on your side is ideal for handling the DMV procedure. You will get a greater chance of receiving leniency when you've got an attorney on your side determined to fight for you and your interests.

Criminal Penalties for a Second DUI Offense

A second DUI charge carries substantially more significant criminal consequences than the first. Among the penalties are the following:

  • Serving a minimum of 96-hour obligatory jail sentence. In contrast to a first-time DUI, you usually cannot waive it, and the highest possible jail term is a year rather than six months.
  • Having to pay a 390 to 1000 dollar fine, the court will add "penalty evaluations," bringing your total to over $2,000. The fine often becomes substantially higher for second DUIs.
  • You'll be obliged to attend a considerably longer round of DUI lessons, which can last anywhere from eighteen to thirty months.
  • You will possibly be subject to drug or alcohol treatment as well as other court-ordered measures while you are on 3 to 5 years of your DUI probationary term.
  • Your vehicle must have an ignition interlock device installed. The IID devices are pricey, and your vehicle will automatically shut off if you don't provide breath samples at random intervals while you're driving.
  • It takes 10 years for a DUI to be removed from your record. If you are arrested for DUI again within that time, it will qualify as a third offense, putting you perilously closer to a felony charge.

If you cause injury to another person, have a very high BAC (blood alcohol content), do not consent to a chemical test, or have any other aggravating factors in your case, you could face harsher sentencing.

Other Implications of a Second DUI Charge

Besides criminal and administrative consequences for a 2nd offense DUI, there are additional consequences to be aware of. Several of these are a direct result of your conviction, including:

  • Either being turned down for a job or being fired
  • Being turned down for admission to a university or college
  • Being turned down for military service
  • Having a hard time getting financial aid or loans
  • The DMV will assign multiple points to your Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS), which will significantly raise your insurance costs

Being guilty of a second DUI conviction can have severe financial and social repercussions. Don't let a single mistake ruin your entire life.

Can You Lose Your Driver's License?

The only entity that can suspend a California driving license or issue restricted licenses is the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

However, the California DMV can impose a license suspension in two ways:

  • A suspension imposed due to a DUI conviction in a California court under VC 23152 a or b, respectively
  • A suspension results from either failing to obtain a DMV administrative hearing within ten days of the arrest date or losing a DMV hearing. This is known as an Administrative Per Se (APS) suspension

The court-ordered suspension is two years when there has been a previous wet reckless or DUI conviction within the last ten years. If there has been a prior DUI conviction within ten years, the APS suspension lasts one year.

However, if you underwent a chemical test and provided evidence of installing an ignition interlock device ("IID") after 90 days, you could be granted a restricted license. This license enables you to drive as long as you're in a vehicle equipped with an IID. This is mandatory for one year.

Motorists facing a 2nd California DUI offense who refuse to consent to chemical testing would face significantly harsher penalties. These individuals will have their license revoked for two years and will not be able to obtain a restricted license during their suspension period.

There's no way to avoid the 12-month IID requirement. Therefore you should configure it as soon as possible so you'll be able to obtain a restricted license after 90 days of suspension.

In addition, your California DMV records should reflect that a court-ordered suspension had already started before you can seek a restricted license. However, a suspension caused by a court conviction doesn't have to have lasted 90 days, so long as the Administrative Per Se has already lasted 90 days, which is normal.

Expunging Your Record

A 2nd DUI conviction could be expunged from your criminal record. This is possible by requesting an expungement. You would be able to have your DUI conviction expunged if:

  • You were sentenced to probation
  • You completed your probation successfully

A California DUI expungement is similar to other criminal record expungements. A petition is submitted to the court and scrutinized by a magistrate. If a judge allows the DUI expungement, you could withdraw your "no contest or guilty plea" and file a "Not Guilty" plea. Once a "Not guilty" plea is filed, the case would be closed.

Attending AA Meetings for a Second DUI Charge

The penalties outlined above constitute the minimum penalties necessary for a 2nd DUI. Courts get a lot of leeway in imposing additional punishments as a part of your probation, mainly if they believe you haven't learned from your mistake.

This could consist of the following:

  • Having to follow a strict no-drinking rule
  • You are mandated to attend AA meetings or another drug or alcohol treatment program. You'll need to keep track of your attendance to show the judge you showed up
  • Committing to a rehabilitation program
  • Being mandated to attend specific programs designed to "scare you," such as ones organized by the group MADD, which introduce you to individuals who lost dear ones due to drunk driving
  • Being obligated to have a SCRAM wristband that checks for alcohol inside your system

If you violate any of the above terms, it'll be regarded as a probation infringement, and you risk further time behind bars and other penalties.

Aggravating Factors in a DUI Case

Any feature of your DUI offense that prompts the prosecutors to seek a harsher prison or jail sentence is known as an "aggravating factor." For instance, if the police detain you for a 2nd DUI, they may impose harsher punishments if you:

  • Were driving while having a BAC of almost 0.15%
  • Refused to undergo a chemical test
  • Driving while impaired as a minor
  • Excessive speeding while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Driving Under the Influence with a child onboard
  • Inflicting injury on another person

Your enhanced punishments for any one of the aggravating elements will mostly depend on the following:

  • The specifics of your DUI arrest, and
  • Your criminal background (with the focus being on your previous DUI history)

An increasing number of alcohol-related offenses means more severe penalties for people with a past DUI conviction.

Fighting Second DUI Offense Charges

Fighting a 2nd California DUI charge is a challenging but doable undertaking. With a skilled DUI lawyer on your side, there's usually a chance of getting the charges reduced or dismissed. It helps to consult a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible following your arrest.

Solid DUI defenses require a lot of work, some of which might have to be completed immediately following a 2nd DUI arrest. The following are the key reasons why you should retain a criminal defense attorney to defend you:

  1.  Gathering and Evaluating Evidence

A qualified DUI defense lawyer will know how to gather and assess the evidence supporting your case. This includes seeking witnesses who may provide evidence in your favor. It could also entail acquiring your stop's law enforcement vehicle footage and associated audio recordings.

If, for instance, an officer testifies that they pulled you over because you lacked a front license plate. Still, it is later revealed that the police officer never saw the front of your car before the stop. This could be crucial in discrediting the officer's testimony.

  1. Legal Analysis and Writing

A qualified criminal defense lawyer would be able to use these details as a basis for initiating written motions in your case, in addition to collecting and interpreting the facts of the case. For instance, your lawyer can submit a "Pitchess Motion" if you feel that any law enforcement officers involved in your DUI arrest singled you out or handled you improperly or inappropriately, which would indicate police misconduct.

This petition would allow your lawyer to unearth information from a policeman's personnel records, providing you with more facts to defend your case.

Legal Defenses

If you have been charged with a second DUI, your lawyer would be able to use one of the following defenses to mitigate the charges or have the charges dropped:

Probable Cause in a DUI Stop

An officer should have reasonable grounds to believe that a violation is being committed before they make any arrest for DUI. If the arresting officer cannot prove probable cause for initiating the arrest before the court, an attorney will be able to discredit any evidence provided through a suppression hearing.

Misconduct at a Field Sobriety Checkpoint

Your attorney can dispute the findings if an officer conducting sobriety tests at a DUI checkpoint does not follow the necessary procedures. For instance, most officers need to consider the pavement's structure and medical conditions when administering the tests.

Defense Against Rising Blood Alcohol Levels

If an officer stopped an individual for DUI while their system was still absorbing alcohol, the BAC test reading on the breathalyzer would be inaccurate.


Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about 2nd offense DUI:

Is Attendance at DUI Alcohol Meetings Obligatory?

If you are incarcerated for a second DUI offense, you must complete an 18–30 month recovery program. The judge can order you to participate in additional courses, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) sessions.

What is a “Wet Reckless” Charge?

A "wet reckless" offense is another term for a California VC § 23103 reckless driving charge. If you present a strong argument or the prosecutors determine a flaw in your DUI case, the prosecution could agree to a wet reckless plea bargain.

However, remember that a wet reckless conviction still counts as a prior crime on your history. If you're charged with another DUI charge within ten years of your wet reckless conviction, the subsequent conviction will be treated as your 2nd DUI offense, and the magistrate will impose the appropriate penalties.

How Likely is it For a Judge To Consider Community Service or Work Instead of the Jail Term?

The Judge doesn't have the authority to reduce the jail sentence for a second offense DUI. The laws establish this. The Judge can permit you to serve the remainder of your term in a secured residential rehabilitation or treatment institution for alcohol or drug abuse or in a privately run or City jail.

Do California’s DUI Penalties Vary by County?

California DUI penalties and laws apply statewide, although your experience would differ slightly based on the jurisdiction where the allegations were filed. Since statewide punishments contain a range of maximum and minimum sentences, the severity of your conviction would be determined by a judge's opinions. Some magistrates are more likely to impose harsher punishments.

Because of this difference between each county, you should engage a lawyer who has handled DUI cases in the county where you were accused. A local lawyer would have a long-standing professional network with magistrates and prosecutors and a better understanding of the local courts. Local experience and knowledge are often valuable when defending against DUI allegations.

Does it Count as a Second Offense if Your First DUI Occurred in Another State?

Most of the time, the answer is "yes." When a new California resident applies for a driving license, the California Department of Motor Vehicles gets information regarding any DUIs from other states. If your prior out-of-state DUI conviction is less than 10 years old and the initial state's DUI regulations are similar to California law, it will likely be treated as your first crime.

What Happens if I'm Arrested for a Second DUI While I'm Still on Probation from a First DUI charge?

A magistrate will most likely cancel your probation, and the penalty for your 2nd DUI will be substantially more severe than if you weren't on probation. In addition, the Department of motor vehicles will suspend your driver's license for one year before allowing you to apply for your restricted license. Your suspension will last for a maximum of two years.

What Impact Would It Have on the Penalties if I Refused a Chemical Test for Both DUI Arrests?

You are presumed to have agreed to a chemical breathalyzer test if you're under suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The penalties will be substantially harsher when you refuse once or even both while you are arrested. Also, you won't be eligible for a restricted license when you refuse to undergo a breathalyzer test.

Should I Consult an Attorney Regarding My 2nd DUI Charge?

Contacting a lawyer should be among the first steps you should take after being charged with a 2nd DUI offense. The clock is ticking, and the law is not guaranteed to work in your favor. However, you do not need to fight the charges by yourself.

Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers can assist you in winning your matter by:

  • Gathering evidence that will support your case
  • Evaluating the information used against you
  • Utilizing any of the defenses mentioned above can assist you in fighting the charges
  • Make sure that none of your constitutional rights have been violated
  • Speak to witnesses and specialists in different disciplines
  • Examine all plea deals to guarantee that they are and will work to your advantage

Remember that hiring legal counsel is still preferable, even when you can defend yourself before the court. Consider the value a lawyer can add to your cause, especially if there is a lot on the line if you are found guilty.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI Attorney Near Me

DUI is a serious crime, punishable by hefty fines and stiff penalties. If you have been arrested or are facing charges for a second DUI offense in Los Angeles, you can contact the Los Angeles Criminal Attorney. Our seasoned attorneys will work diligently to ensure you receive the best possible result. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information about your legal alternatives. Call us today at 424-333-0943.