DUI: The Second Offense

As anybody who has had the experience can attest, being arrested for a first time DUI involves a demanding and costly process. A second DUI conviction has even more and longer lasting consequences. As a second time offender, you will face both administrative and criminal penalties under the state's mandatory sentencing guidelines. Knowing what is likely to happen not only minimizes surprises, but may help with understanding the full scope of with what will be required. Here's what you may expect.

Because state law classifies the repeat DUI offense as a second conviction of driving under the influence within a ten-year period, it is important to accurately determine the date of your first DUI arrest, if there is any question. The ten-year period is calculated from arrest date to arrest date.

The Criminal Penalties

Jail time is mandatory on a second DUI offense. Vehicle Code Section 23540 stipulates that with a second conviction, a person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 90 days, nor more than one year. However, a recent (2012) DMV study that compared how jail sentences meted out by the courts differ from actual jail times served indicates that minimum jail sentences in California range from 4 to 120 days for 2nd offenders, depending on whether probation is granted and other factors. Fines of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390), nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), are also mandated. Though it is possible in some counties to have part of the jail time converted to work service, the DMV study also determined that this type of alternative sentencing was used less often on 2nd DUI offenders compared to 1st time offenders. Penalties for a second DUI in California also includes three to five years of probation. In addition, those convicted must attend an 18-month multiple offender program.

Administrative Penalties

Administrative penalties are imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, and are independent of any criminal penalties. A second DUI conviction will result in suspension of your driver's license for a minimum of one year and possibly up to two years. All second DUI convictions require drivers to complete a Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) Program. Qualifying 18-month multiple offender programs include 52 hours of group counseling, 12 hours of alcohol and drug education, 6 hours of community reentry monitoring, and biweekly individual interviews during the first 12 months of the program.

Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) Programs are administered by California's Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs' (ADP) Office of Criminal Justice Collaboration through its DUI Program Branch. The objectives of these DUI programs are twofold. The prime objective is to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenses and, secondly, provide participants an opportunity to address problems related to their use of alcohol and/or other drugs.

The above items are a general idea of what a second time offender may experience. As should be expected, individual cases will have their own particular set of circumstances that may result in varying types and degrees of sentencing being imposed.

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