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What happens on your third DUI in California?

Orange, CA |

I originally got a DUI in 2000 and then another in 2002 which I am now taking care of. I have been going to my DUI classes for about a year now and was suppose to get my license back this December however I just received another DUI and driving under a suspended license. I was a 1.0 when they tested me. Will I get jail time, Or is there any other option for me besides jail time?

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Attorney answers 4


I wonder if it's a true third. All 3 have to be within 10 years of each other. If the last incident was in December 2010 and the first would have to be in December 2000 to make this an official third. Calculate it yourself. I had a client being prosecuted for a 4th but on closer examination the 4th was beyond the 10 year window.

At any rate nothing good comes of a 3rd. 5 years adult probation, fines of about $2800, a 3 year license suspension (DMV may or may not give restricted license), 18 month alcohol class a mandatory 210 days in county jail (although some counties may allow community service. You need a good DUI lawyer.


Along with Mr. Kaman, I wonder if this truly will be a "third" since the oldest may be outside of the 10 year period where it can count. The prosecutor may not be able to charge it as a third, but they will know about it and will always mention it.

I'm curious why you're still under obligations for the 2002 case. That should have been long over unless there was an issue.

The license suspension adds another wrinkle to this equation - there can be additional potential consequences if convicted of that charge as well.

Depending on how this is charged (a second vs a third) and the facts of the case, there may be mandatory jail. There may be things you and your attorney can do to minimize the punishment by being proactive before your court date.

Of course - all this also depends on whether you have legal or factual defenses.


I agree with the first writers on the third. There is an alternative 30 month DUI class that can minimize the amount of jail by statute, which is often the case in a third offense DUI. However it is a 30 month not 18 month class. That being said alternatives such as in-patient alcohol treatment, and the likes would be very helpful in reducing potential custody time. The jails are bursting at the seams, and any valid sincere alternative will often get the attention of the court. A caveat is the court hears this over and over, so the emphasis is on sincere.


As mentioned by the other attorneys, it is possible that this should be charged as a 2nd DUI if it is outside of the 10 year window from the first. That being said, the driving on a suspended license is also a big issue that can include jail time on it's own. Also, your 2nd DUI was in 2002, but since you are just doing the alcohol class now, you may have been in violation of your probation for not doing the alcohol class as directed in a timely fashion. If you recently got probation reinstated, but were still on probation, then you will be looking at potential probation violation issues as well.

Bottom line, speak with a DUI attorney about your case in more detail.

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