California has a 10-year "lookback period" for prior driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) convictions. Anyone in California who is arrested for driving under the influence in a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 - Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, and has a prior DUI conviction within the past 10 years faces increased punishment in criminal DUI court and at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing on the new count. If more than 10 years pass between arrests, the later arrest is treated as a first-time DUI offense.
Prior driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs convictions impact nearly every aspect of a drunk driving arrest, from bail to DUI sentencing. California drivers with multiple DUI offense face greater fines, driver license suspensions, alcohol education classes, and other punishment. A California criminal defense lawyer who focuses on drunk driving defense will develop a strategy to help drivers with multiple DUI convictions.
California DUI offenses that count as prior convictions include driving under the influence in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152, subdivision (a), driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152, subdivision (b), reckless driving involving alcohol, also known as "wet-reckless", California Vehicle Code Section 23103.5, and DUI with injury California Vehicle Code Section 23153. The 10-year period is calculated from arrest date to arrest date.
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Attorneys for the firm represent clients accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.
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California drivers can be punished for multiple DUIs even if they have not yet been convicted for the older driving under the influence offense when the new arrest takes place. The California Legislature has determined that the timing of court proceedings should not affect the court's ability to impose increased penalties for multiple DUI offenses.
For example, if a defendant in the midst of a second-time DUI case is arrested for a third driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs offense, then the criminal court in the third DUI case can sentence the defendant as a third-time drunk driver. This can occur even though the defendant has not been convicted for the second DUI offense. The only hard and fast rule is that the offenses occur within a 10-year span.
California continues to establish increasingly strict punishment for drivers with multiple DUI offenses. The best way to fight back is to consult with a California criminal defense lawyer experienced in defending multiple DUI cases.
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