You are correct. DMV and the courts are separate, which is why DMV suspended your license for the first DUI arrest, even though you were not convicted. A DUI can only be charged as a prior DUI if you were actually convicted of a DUI and the District Attorney can prove you were convicted of it. So, your third DUI arrest would be charged as a second DUI.
You might want to consider stop drinking. It's extremely risky to drink and drive. If you kill someone, you can be charged with murder. On a third DUI, you will also risk the court suspending your license for up to three years.
You will be looking at a second time DUI as far as the courts are concerned and a third time DUI for the DMV. You desperately need to hire an attorney to assist you. Riverside treats DUI’s very seriously and they will be requesting significant jail time. Make sure you contact the DMV within 10 days to set up a DMV hearing.
Thank you for your question. It's true that the court, and the DMV, in California, are separate entities, with their own separate rules, and so there can be different results. From what you've stated, it sounds like your DUI in the court would be treated as a second time DUI, but the DMV, if they make a finding and take action on this case, would treat it as a third time DUI, for driver's license suspension/restriction purposes only.
Thank you for your question, and all the best to you.
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