A third DUI within a 10-year period is very serious. While it is still classified as a misdemeanor (so long as no serious injuries occurred in relation to the DUI) the penalties for a third DUI are understandably harsher than those associated with a first or second. For example, driving privileges could be revoked for up to three years if you are classified as a ‘habitual traffic offender’
As a priorable offense, past DUIs can be considered when the judge determines what punishment to hand down. Having the help of an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer to minimize fines and jail time can make all the difference to the outcome of a DUI case.
Because driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is so dangerous, only minimal levels of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) can be present in a person’s system. And for people who are still in the probationary period of a previous DUI, there may be a zero-tolerance clause that does not allow that driver to have any alcohol in their system.
When an on-site breath test is done, it is illegal for a driver over the age of 21 to have a BAC that is equal or greater than 0.08%. Additional rules apply to commercial drivers when they are operating a vehicle in the course of business (their BAC must be under 0.04%), and drivers under the age of 21 have even stricter rules to follow (with a limit of 0.01%.)
A breath test is one way for a police officer to determine whether a driver might be under the influence of drugs and alcohol and a BAC reading that meets or exceeds the limits outline above can be cause for an immediate DUI arrest. But a low BAC doesn’t necessarily mean the driver in question is cleared of an offense. Behaviors such as driving or acting erratically might be a sign that someone is under the influence of a substance other than alcohol that cannot as easily be tested on the spot.
A field sobriety test could also reveal impairment in motor skills that might be caused by certain drugs. The arresting has some discretion, which must be based on observed evidence, to give out a DUI.
A third DUI will result in substantially harsher penalties than a first or second DUI if it occurs within 10 years of the last one was registered. This is especially true if the third DUI occurs before the probation period is over. Counties can differ in minimum penalties for a third DUI, but Los Angeles County observes the following:
Harsher penalties may be added on top of these minimums of other aggravating circumstances occur relating to the DUI. This might involve driving at excessive speeds, the presence of children in the car with this offense is occurring, being the cause of an accident, etc. Engaging a highly experienced Los Angeles Criminal Attorney is the best way to defend yourself against these charges. They will be able to help you lessen or avoid jail time by negotiating alternative solutions on your behalf.
One question that is often important to repeat DUI offenders is whether a third DUI charge counts as a felony in California. The short answer is a third DUI is NOT typically a felony. Just as the first and second DUI charges are most often classified as misdemeanors, so too is a third (as long as there aren’t any serious injuries or other aggravating issues associated with the incident.) Although a third-time DUI offender may not be charged with the most severe classification of crime (felony), a third DUI conviction within a 10 year look back period will inevitably subject them to harsher penalties than before for repeatedly engaging in such dangerous behaviors.
Getting a third DUI is something that the courts do not take lightly. This is why obtaining the guidance of a seasoned Los Angeles Criminal defense lawyer is so crucial. They can suggest the best defense to the evidence that is presented against you in the hearing and advocate for you to possibly avoid the harshest penalties.
A qualified DUI lawyer will be able to implement a range of common defenses for your case if they apply. These might include:
Having private counsel to help you fight a third DUI case is incredibly important because the stakes are much higher. Without the proper assistance you may be subject to significant jail time, fines, and loss of license altogether.
Proper counsel is more likely to work on your behalf to get a plea deal or even have your case dismissed altogether. Daniel Perlman and Matthew Cohen are Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys who are well versed in DUI cases and frequently obtain the best outcomes for their clients. If you are looking to avoid jail time, getting a great lawyer by your side is the your best bet.
To get immediate assistance with your third DUI case, and to speak with a lawyer at our firm, call us today at 1 (310) 557-1700