If you are charged with your third DUI in California (and you first one was less than 10 years earlier), the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will impose administrative sanctions independent of criminal penalties described below.
Upon your third DUI conviction, the DMV will suspend your driver's license for up to three years. However, you may be eligible for a restricted license after one year that will allow you to drive to and from work and school.
Criminal penalties for a third DUI in California include a fine ranging from $390 to $1,000 (plus fees and enhancements). Most counties will require that you serve at least 120 days of jail time but the court has the power to order up to one year imprisonment. Your attorney may be able to work out an alternative sentence, such having the time converted to community service or house arrest. Penalties for a third DUI in California also include three to five years of probation. You must also attend DUI School for 18 months.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor in California
All DUIs in California are misdemeanors unless they fall within one of three categories.
- If a person other than the defendant suffers bodily injury because of the DUI. For this situation to escalate a misdemeanor to a felony, the prosecutor must believe that the person arrested for the DUI caused the accident.
- If there is a fourth DUI within the lookback period (10 years) or
- If the defendant has at least one prior felony DUI charge on their record, the subsequent DUI will automatically be a felony.
Dealing With a DUI?
If you're facing a DUI charge in California, see the following links for more information on what to expect:
- CA DUI Basics: FAQ's
- What are the Penalties/Consequences of a Conviction?
- Should You Go For a Plea Bargain?
- Blood & Breath Tests: How they Affect Your Case
- What Happens if You Don't Take the Breathalyzer or Blood Test?
- Five Things To Know About a DUI Case in California
- What Happens Before the Trial?