Are you facing charges for multiple DUI offenses? The California criminal justice system takes a harsh approach with defendants charged with driving under the influence. Those who have racked up multiple DUI charges require legal assistance to avoid the harsh penalties awaiting those convicted of second-offense DUI.
Don’t lose hope, however. Our Oakland DUI law office is prepared to aggressively defend clients charged with second-offense DUI even if other Oakland DUI lawyers urge these defendants to seek plea bargains in their criminal cases.
Experienced Representation From an Oakland Second Offense DUI Lawyer for Your Case
Summit Defense is not a one-stop-shop law firm like other law offices in the San Francisco Bay area that handle everything from family law to personal injury. Our Oakland law practice handles only criminal law cases. We focus on second-offense DUI cases that other Oakland DUI attorneys are not confident enough to defend.
Our DUI attorneys and legal team associates include former Oakland DUI prosecutors and police officers with years of experience arresting and prosecuting drivers facing DUI charges. If you are a repeat offender now facing drunk driving charges, you need an experienced Oakland DUI attorney at the helm of your DUI case.
Oakland’s DUI Laws
Being prosecuted for a second DUI offense under the California vehicle code puts defendants with a prior DUI conviction at enormous risk of being labeled repeat offenders.
If the police and prosecutor manage to convince the court that the accused driver presents a safety threat to others on the highway, the driver could wind up convicted and jailed. It really ups the ante for harsh consequences when both alleged DUI offenses occur within the same five-year period.
What You Need To Know About Second DUI Offense in Oakland, CA
Every DUI case before the courts must be tried on its own merits. But those charged with their first DUI offense will not face the stringent consequences that those charged with a second DUI arrest will if they get convicted.
Penalties for a Second DUI Offense in Oakland, CA
Here’s why it is vital to defend charges of driving under the influence for the second time. Those convicted on their second offense DUI charges can expect some or all of the below consequences:
- Probable minimum jail time of 90 days, with a possible two years behind bars.
- Court-mandated installation and monthly maintenance of an ignition interlock device that the defendant must pay for up to three years.
- Potential probation (supervised or unsupervised) for up to five years.
- Driver’s license suspension for as long as two years.
- Fines as high as $1,000.
- Mandatory participation in a 30-month alcohol and drug rehabilitation program.
While a second conviction for driving under the influence might still be a misdemeanor, the driver can be charged with a felony punishable by as much as 15 years in prison if the accused driver was involved in an accident that led to injuries or death to another driver or others.
Have you fully contemplated the effects of a jail or prison sentence on your life? You will lose your job and potentially even your family. A DUI conviction carries a stigma that can result in social ostracism and lost career and educational opportunities.
Some people misguidedly believe that probation will be a cakewalk. It’s not, and any violation could send you straight to jail to serve out the remainder of your sentence behind bars.
Think your school days are in your rear-view mirror? Don’t count on it if you get convicted of your second DUI in the ten years following your first. DUI school, which is an SB 38 program, is a real consequence if convicted. Those defendants are compelled to attend a special alcohol awareness class. This also applies to those who may have accepted a wet reckless driving plea bargain.
Under Title 9 of the California Health and Safety Code, the minimum curriculum for DUI school includes all of the following:
- Classes about alcohol and its effects;
- Group, individual, and extensive sessions; and
- One-on-one interviews.
All these take place over 18 months and 76.5 mandated hours of coursework and classes designed to educate those with second convictions for DUI offenses. Additionally, all participants are required to remain sober during their mandated enrollment in the DUI school.
Driver’s License Suspension for a Second DUI
Drivers arrested for drunk driving who have not yet been to court on their charges must attend a DMV hearing first. The Department of Motor Vehicles can then impose penalties that include a mandatory driving suspension of at least a year for those arrested on a second DUI charge if the arrest fell within the ten years following their first conviction for drunk driving. Failing to pass the chemical test for DUI also results in a one-year driver’s license suspension.
Losing your driver’s license can impact almost every area of your life, so take a driver’s license suspension very seriously.
Aggravating Factors That Increase Penalties for a Second Offense DUI in Oakland
The legal threshold for a DUI charge is a blood alcohol concentration of .08 for those 21 and older. But if your BAC registers at .15% or higher, you can be charged with aggravated DUI.
Without a DUI lawyer to defend you, if convicted, you face enhanced penalties that could include forced attendance in an alcohol treatment program, as well as black marks on your driving record and other penalties.
Probationary Period for a Second DUI Offense
Suppose your driving privileges were seized due to a previous conviction, and you receive probation but fail to fully comply with all the requirements of your probation terms. In that case, you can expect to get remanded to court for a probation violation hearing. That could result in your having to complete a jail or prison sentence. Unlike DMV hearings, which are administrative, probation violations are addressed within the criminal court system.
What to Do if You Are Charged With Second DUI Offense
Keep in mind that your defense to any charges begins in the first few seconds after you see those infamous blue lights of the police car behind you. The officer will begin assessing your sobriety (or the lack thereof) in his initial, seemingly innocuous comments and questions to you.
California police officers are equipped with body cameras that record the entire interaction between you and the law enforcement officer who stopped you. All that evidence, including any voluntary statements that you may make before speaking to an Oakland second offense DUI lawyer, will become part of the case against you that the police turn over to the district attorney with the rest of the evidence they have against you.
Common Legal Defenses for a Second DUI Offense in Oakland, CA
All cases have unique elements that a talented criminal defense attorney can use as part of their DUI defense strategy. Your DUI lawyer will pore over the discovery documents and exhibits when determining the strength of the prosecution’s case.
A good Oakland DUI lawyer knows how to assault every chink in the prosecution’s case. Their strategies include all of the following.
Unlawful Traffic Stop
Did that police officer have probable cause to perform the traffic stop in the first place? Sometimes racial profiling can lead to an unlawful traffic stop that quickly escalates to criminal charges of driving under the influence.
Improper Chemical Test Analysis
Machines and humans are both fallible. If the machine recording an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was not properly calibrated according to schedule, it could result in a false positive for alcohol.
Improper Handling of Blood, Breath, or Urine Sample
When dealing with evidence, the chain of custody must not be breached at any point in the testing, transportation, and storage of the accused driver’s urine, breath, or blood sample. One opened envelope, missing signature, or ripped evidence tape could be all that a skilled Oakland DUI attorney needs to have the evidence against their clients be tossed out of court.
External Factors Affecting Performance on Field Sobriety Tests
There is no good reason to submit to the voluntary field sobriety tests (FSTs) that those stopped by police on suspicion of impaired driving are “encouraged” to attempt.
In fact, a joint evaluation of those field sobriety tests by the Southern California Research Institute (SCRI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that the three standard FSTs had the following accuracy rates:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) – 77% accuracy rate;
- Walk and turn – 68% accuracy rate; and
- One-leg stand – 65% accuracy rate.
Even when taken comprehensively, the accuracy rate was only 82%. Talk about sobering! That means that a full 18% of detained drivers who attempt the tests could wind up with DUI charges due to their inability to perform the field sobriety tests.
Also, don’t forget the less-than-optimum conditions under which the tests are performed. On the side of the road, frequently after dark, sometimes with freeway traffic whizzing by mere feet from the already nervous detained drivers standing. The road surface can be uneven and pocked with gravel, compromising their ability to hear the officer’s commands and perform well enough to pass these subjective tests.
That doesn’t even address the problems that completely sober adults can have when attempting these tests. Poor coordination, knee, leg, and back injuries, and even vision problems can make passing these tests impossible on any day. The truth is that FSTs do not scientifically prove a level of impairment in California drivers.
Negotiating DUI Plea Bargains in Oakland, CA
Some defendants are resistant to plea bargains as part of their DUI defense strategy. But sometimes, the only positive outcome lies within the terms of the plea bargain.
This is where your Oakland DUI lawyer can really show their considerable legal talents. If the DUI lawyer can introduce reasonable doubt into the prosecution’s drunk driving case, his client could get the charges dropped.
Reasonable doubt is also one factor that affects the terms of a plea bargain. Suppose the case is weak, and the prosecutor could lose in court. In that case, the DUI defense attorney can seek more favorable terms in the plea bargain, e.g., not requiring the installation of an expensive-to-maintain ignition interlock device.
Below are some types of DUI plea bargains that the best DUI lawyers might seek for their clients charged with impaired driving:
- Exhibition of Speed;
- Wet Reckless DUI;
- Dry Reckless DUI; and
- Drinking Alcohol in Vehicle.
It should be noted that the legal defense against the charges is dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the arrest and its immediate aftermath. What could simply wind up as a temporary loss of driving privileges in another state could land California drivers in jail because our state aggressively pursues and prosecutes drivers accused of a DUI charge.
Some federal courts are even more lenient when prosecuting drug crimes than a California district attorney is to those in court on a DUI charge.
Consult Our Oakland Second Offense DUI Lawyer at Summit Defense About Your Case Today
If you face charges of a second offense DUI, you need a top DUI attorney as your legal representation for these charges. Summit Defense offers clients a free consultation to help them learn more about their rights.
Call us today at (866) 560-4276.