No proior record, I'm a social worker.
I'm not sure the answers given address your question directly. The DA can try either case as a first DUI, no matter when it occurred in time, and then try the other case as a second. It is foolish to hope that if the two DUIs were in different counties one will not be picked up. Once you are arrested for a DUI, anywhere in the state, the arrest goes into the Sacramento DOJ records, i.e., your criminal record. You definitely need a lawyer to help you deal with these two DUIs.
Are your two DUI's in the same county? Same court? Sometimes the prosecution catches that you've been arrested on a 2nd DUI, sometimes they don't. If they do catch it, they can continue to prosecute your 1st DUI case as a 1st DUI. Then they can file, or amend, your 2nd DUI case as a 2nd DUI. The 2nd DUI carries significantly worse consequences than the 1st. This is especially true if you were still on a suspended license from the 1st DUI.
If you have two different cases in two different courts, they may not catch on and you may end up with two 1st DUI cases. If you get caught on a third, it will be a third, however.
Either way, this is a tricky situation and I suggest you look into hiring an attorney with experience in this kind of situation. If you have an atty, or if you have a public defender, either way let them know about the 2nd DUI arrest. You ARE NOT under an obligation to volunteer that information to anyone else. (Such as the prosecutor or the judge.)
What happens often is that the first case is continued to get the second file. Since an attorney will likely make the argumant that it would constitute undue prejudice to have both tried together (too likely for a jury to say if there is proof of one, you must be guilty of the other), they are usually tried in order of the occurrence. Yes, if you are convicted or plead on the first, that would make the latter a second DUI.
My advice is to contact a criminal defense attorney who is well versed in DUI law as soon as possible, if you haven't done so already. You may also want to speak with an attorney who specializes in licensing matters since these convictions may have an affect on your license to practice as a social worker.
Most defense attorneys offer free initial consultations. I always recommend that you meet with a number of us and find someone you feel you can trust and who you are willing to tell everything to. A good defense always has, as a key ingredient, good communication between the client and the attorney.
Quite a few people make the mistake of believing that a DUI is simple, and nothing important. Many,decide for one reason or another to represent themselves. You do have this right. It is constitutionally guaranteed. That, however, does not mean it is wise. A DUI, even a first DUI, may be open to challenge based on the facts and it is exceedingly important to fight if you do have a case, since DUI's are priorable (meaning that if you have one and get another within 10 years, the penalties are increased. If you get two more they are significantly increased and it may be charged as a felony. After three in ten years, they will be felonies. Also, even after a first DUI, if you are later driving a car and have alcohol in your system and someone is injured in an accident as a result of your actions, you may be charged with murder. Employers tend to view DUI's very negatively, especially if you have to drive a company vehicle because it may increase their insurance and liability. There are also license repercussions. You need to have an attorney from the earliest possible moment in the development of your case, including the DMV hearing as this may be used as a record to impeach you at a subsequent trial, if your testimony differs at all between the two proceedings.
DUI law is incredibly complex and fact specific. It is one of the only areas of law in which the jury may be instructed that they may presume you were guilty if your chemical tests are reported as .08 or above. There is also a second charge in which the people only have to prove (still beyond a reasonable doubt) that because of alcohol, you were unable to operate your vehicle with the same care and caution as a sober person.
You absolutely need an attorney, although as I said above, you have the right to represent yourself. You will want to find someone well versed in DUI law, who is familiar with and may spot available defenses, take the mystique from the "expert" witness that the prosecution will have testify against you, who understands how to challenge the chemical test, and who is adept at cross examining the police officer. Police officers testify quite often, especially in DUI trials, so they have quite a bit of experience and training in dealing with the jury.
Feel free to contact my office for a free consultation, or contact another attorney. Make sure that you have information about your medical history, any chronic health conditions like diabetes, GIRD or respiratory problems, a list of your medications, and try to trace back the last time you went to a dentist.
You already have answers from good California DUI / DWI / Drunk Driving defense lawyers. I can tell you in Wisconsin one of these would be counted as a second offense. It is imperative that your lawyer know about both of them so that you can try for the best outcome.
Note also that being charged and being convicted are not the same thing. There are defenses to these charges that are not necessarily apparent to someone without experience handling them. If you don't have a lawyer, you need one now.
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I am an experienced Wisconsin drunk driving (DUI/OWI/DWI) defense lawyer practicing in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the Internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these Internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This Internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged.
If something I say disagrees with what your own lawyer is telling you, you should rely on your lawyer who is familiar with you, your entire case, the local courts and practices.
There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. Those facts should not be put on a public Internet site.
Most questions are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Few, if any, legal matters should be handled via Internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services.
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As someone who has handled dozens of cases, exactly like yours, I can tell you that we have, in the past, packaged both DUI's together for a far better resolution, than if you had a conviction, and shortly later, picked up another DUI. As a Former Deputy D.A. and a Certified Criminal law Specialist, I agree with the other attorneys who directed you to obtain private counsel. One of our finest attorneys lives in Long Beach, and is therefore very familiar with that court. If you want to speak to us, call us at 661-267-1313. I iwish you well................David Wallin
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