Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law

Obtaining Justice
For The Accused

At Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, we have been saving clients from jail, years in prison, excessive fines and wrongful convictions since 2005.

Obtaining Justice
For The Accused

At Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, we have been saving clients from jail, years in prison, excessive fines and wrongful convictions since 2005.

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  6.  » DUI Penalties – First, Second & Third DUI

Exploring The Range Of DUI Charges

Every DUI in California has a certain minimum punishment with respect to jail time, fines, probation, DUI schools, license suspension, etc.  By the same token, each DUI conviction has a maximum punishment as well.  Depending upon where you received your DUI, a judge may decide to sentence you to a punishment anywhere between the minimum and the maximum.

Between the 9 Bay Area Counties, each county has developed its own approach to punishing offenders for DUI convictions.  For example, a first offense DUI in San Mateo County is handled very differently than in Santa Clara County.  That is why it is imperative that if you arrested for a DUI that you hire a DUI defense lawyer who is intimately familiar with the judges and prosecutors in the county that you have to go to court in.

We have represented over 1,000 DUI clients in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.  We can help you to determine what is your best option to reducing the consequences of the DUI charge that you are facing.

The Wet Reckless Sentence

It may be possible to reduce your DUI charge to a lower offense called a “wet reckless.” The reason that someone arrested for a DUI prefers a wet-reckless conviction to a DUI is because it generally saves the driver from jail time, it shortens probation to 2 years vs. 3, saves between $500 to $1,000 in fines, and can be expunged from the driver’s criminal record in 2 years vs. 3.

However, the wet-reckless conviction still stays on the arrestees driving record for a period of 10 years and counts as a prior DUI if the individual is convicted of a new DUI within 10 years of the arrest date of the wet-reckless.

In 2019, with a wet-reckless conviction, a driver can avoid a license suspension with the installation of an ignition interlock device, enrollment and participation in a 30 hour DUI school, an SR-22, and payment to the DMV of about $125.

First-Offense DUI

Technically, an individual convicted of a first offense DUI in California does not have to serve any jail time.  Although, realistically, most everyone who is convicted of a first offense DUI will get sentenced to some jail time.  But, the good news is that the judges will usually allow for the jail sentence to be satisfied with Sheriff Work Program, i.e., clean-up work with the Sheriff, in lieu of the jail sentence.

Typically a first offense DUI carries a six-month license suspension if the driver’s B.A.C. was below a .20%.  The suspension increases to 10-months if the B.A.C. was above a .20%.  However, starting in 2019, the driver can get a restricted license with the installation of an ignition interlock device for the suspension period (also enrollment and participation in a 30 hour DUI school, an SR-22, and payment to the DMV of about $125).  This way, the driver can drive anywhere as long as the vehicle they are driving is fitted with the ignition interlock device.  In this situation, the driver avoids any period where he or she cannot drive.

There are certain minimum conditions that must be met if probation is granted. These include being on probation for at least three years, driving with zero traces of alcohol in your blood and agreeing not to commit any new criminal offenses.  The DUI can be expunged from the driver’s criminal record after completion of probation, or upon an early termination of probation, i.e., less that 3 years, but in the judge’s discretion.

Second-Offense DUI Within 10 Years

The penalties for a second-offense DUI become more severe and can include:

  • Probation
  • 4 day jail minimum
  • 1 year in the county jail maximum
  • $390 minimum fine: Mandatory fees and assessments, total fees generally come to approximately $2,000
  • One-year administrative license suspension by DMV
  • Two-year license suspension upon conviction [Vehicle Code § 13352(a)(3)]

The probation requirements for a second offense are very similar to that of a first-offense DUI. Also, time spent in a residential alcohol treatment program can count as time served in custody for purposes of jail sentences. [Penal Code § 2900.5].

Generally, in San Mateo County, a driver convicted of a second offense DUI will receive a minimum of a 10 day jail sentence (Sheriff Work Program is an option in lieu of jail) and also be ordered to participate in a DUI Court program wherein they will be required to appear in court 4 to 6 times in the first six months of probation.  The individual will be monitored and tested by the probation department to ensure that the driver is not drinking alcohol while on probation.

Alternatively, if the individual is not accepted into the DUI court in San Mateo County, the driver can expect the same conditions, except that the jail sentence will be increased to between 30 to 60 days (Sheriff Work Program in lieu of jail is an option).

In Santa Clara County, a second DUI will typically land the driver a sentence of between 20 to 80 days in jail depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case.  Sheriff Work Program in lieu of jail is an option in Santa Clara County.  It is also important to know that sentencing may vary between the different courts in Santa Clara County, such as Palo Alto, San Jose or Morgan Hill.

Also, similar to a first offense DUI, starting in 2019, the driver can get a restricted license with the installation of an ignition interlock device for the suspension period (also enrollment and participation in a 18 month DUI school, an SR-22, and payment to the DMV of about $125).

Third-Offense DUI Within 10 Years

Third-offense DUI charges and higher are not taken lightly by the state. The penalties become even great and can include:

  • Probation
  • 120 days in the county jail minimum
  • 1 year county jail maximum
  • $390 minimum fine: Mandatory fees and assessments, total fees generally come to approximately $2,000
  • Three-year license revocation upon conviction [Vehicle Code § 13352(a)(4)]
  • Alcohol treatment programs of 18 months at a minimum

Generally, in San Mateo County, a driver convicted of a third offense DUI will receive a minimum of a 120 day jail sentence (Sheriff Work Program is generally not an option in lieu of jail) and also be ordered to participate in a DUI Court program wherein they will be required to appear in court 4 to 6 times in the first six months of probation.  The individual will be monitored and tested by the probation department to ensure that the driver is not drinking alcohol while on probation.

Alternatively, if the individual is not accepted into the DUI court in San Mateo County, the driver can expect the same conditions, except that the jail sentence will be increased to between 6 month to 1 year (Sheriff Work Program in lieu of jail is generally not an option).

In Santa Clara County, a driver convicted of a third offense DUI can expect to receive a sentence of at least 120 days in jail.  However, Sheriff Work Program is a possible option to allow the driver to serve his or her sentence by performing community service work with the Sheriff instead of going to jail.

Similar to a first and second offense DUI, starting in 2019, the driver can get a restricted license with the installation of an ignition interlock device for the suspension period (also enrollment and participation in a 18 month DUI school, an SR-22, and payment to the DMV of about $125).

Need More Information on DUI Penalties?

Call our lawyers at 877-337-0697 or contact us online to discuss how to avoid or minimize the consequences you face for your DUI charge.