Any repeat DUI is serious. Courts take an especially dim view of a new DUI charge by someone who is still on probation for a previous DUI. This will not only affect your new DUI case, it will also count as a probation violation. You face penalties on both sides and you should be ready to protect yourself.
However, this is also a situation that many drivers have been in before you. A good DUI lawyer will know how to help you and potentially keep the consequences to a minimum.
How the Previous DUI Affects Your New DUI
California sets stiffer consequences for repeat DUI offenses. The potential sentence in your new DUI will be much worse than the sentence in your first DUI. Examples include:
- Longer jail time (up to one year) or the possibility of hard prison time (up to 16 months)
- A longer driver’s license suspension period—two to three years
- Much higher fines and fees
- Another, longer probation period
All repeat offenders face these consequences, but judges have a lot of discretion in how strictly they apply them. For example, a judge may give you just a few weeks’ jail time instead of one year. Or they might choose to let you completely avoid jail time by enrolling in a deterrent program or AA meetings. It’s up to the judge to decide.
Unfortunately, if you were still on probation from a previous DUI, the judge is much less likely to be lenient. Committing the same crime again during your probation period comes across as flaunting the law. Judges are very unlikely to be moved by a plea for mercy.
There are two approaches you can take to protect yourself. The first is to simply fight the DUI charge. Remember that an experienced DUI lawyer may be able to overturn the blood or breath test, or find holes in other key evidence. They could turn around the entire case. If you aren’t convicted, you don’t have to worry about the potentially steep sentences.
The second is to voluntarily enter drug or alcohol treatment. Many repeat DUI’s involve an individual with an addiction. Judges are most likely to offer lenience in the form of rehab or addiction treatment, and they are more likely to believe you sincerely want help if you’ve already enrolled in a program.
Ask your DUI lawyer to help you choose the best approach.
How the New DUI Affects Your Probation
Getting a new DUI during your DUI probation period is automatically a probation violation. In fact, it will likely be a violation even if you aren’t convicted of the new DUI. That’s because you don’t need to be over the normal .08% blood alcohol “limit” to violate probation. You have violated probation if you had as little as .01% of alcohol or drugs in your blood. Any amount is too much.
(Refusing the chemical test is also an automatic violation of your DUI probation.)
This means your new arrest will almost certainly count as a probation violation. You will be brought before a judge, who could choose to send you back to jail for your original sentence, give you a longer sentence, or add new penalties to your probation terms. Again, they’re unlikely to be merciful.
Once again, however, you have options. Seeking drug or alcohol treatment is very likely to help make a good impression on the court. Your DUI lawyer may also have a sense of what your specific judge looks for in a probation case. The most experienced attorneys have seen almost every judge in dozens of cases and know what each one wants to see. This is one of the reasons a DUI lawyer is so invaluable.
Speak to a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer for Free
Getting a second (or third or fourth) DUI is extremely serious. It can endanger any path back to a normal life from your first DUI. It can also leave you with bills, legal obligations, and probation terms that will last years.
Don’t face this situation alone. We can match you with a top local lawyer who has the right skills for your specific case. Every lawyer we work with is an experienced DUI attorney and offers a FREE consultation. Don’t wait until you’re standing before the judge. Fill out the form to your right or call (310) 896-2724 and get your free consultation today.