If you’re facing the possibility of being convicted of a third DUI in California, avoiding jail time will be difficult. Jail time can be substantially more likely if you choose to represent yourself.
However, with the help of an experienced DUI lawyer, it is possible to avoid jail time for a third DUI. Avoiding jail time will require a great deal of effort, so it’s important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after your DUI arrest. To schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer who can evaluate you’re the facts of your case, call (310) 896-2724 or fill in the form on the right.
A 3rd DUI Means Harsh Penalties, Including Jail Time
If you’re facing a third DUI conviction, you already know that California has harsh penalties for DUI conviction. A third DUI conviction means that you can be sentenced to:
- Pay fines of up to $1,000 and several thousand more in court assessment fees
- Forfeit your license for up to three years
- Install an ignition interlock device in all of the vehicles you regularly drive, at your own expense
- Be labeled as habitual traffic offender for three years, meaning any traffic infractions you face will come with substantially harsher penalties
- Serve a mandatory jail sentence between 120 days and one year.
A DUI conviction remains on your record for 10 years from the date of your DUI arrest. If you receive another DUI in California in 10 years, this conviction will be counted against you. In California, a fourth DUI conviction will be charged as a felony and come with even harsher penalties.
Alternatives to Jail Time
A third DUI, as stated above, comes with a mandatory jail sentence. Typically, individuals will serve that sentence at a jail in the county where they committed the offense.
However, judges do have some discretion in how you serve that mandatory jail time. Under California Penal Code § 2900.5, a judge may order you to serve the mandatory jail sentence in a different setting. For DUI cases, you may be able to meet the terms of the mandatory jail sentence in either rehab or under house arrest.
Rehab is an unlikely sentence for most first time DUI offenders, but judges may be more inclined to send repeat offenders to a rehab or detox program. These facilities will help you deal with your addiction to alcohol on a physical and emotional level. As part of the treatment process, you will also likely be required to attend regular meetings even well after you’ve been released from the rehab facility.
Admission to a rehab facility in lieu of jail time may only be possible for defendants who show remorse and a willingness to accept responsibility for their actions. Especially with the advocacy of a lawyer, judges may be willing to offer more lenient sentences to such defendants.
The judge may allow you to serve the term of your jail sentence under house arrest. You will be fitted with a location tracker, for which you will be responsible to pay. You will be largely confined to your house, but you may be allowed a limited amount of time to go to work, attend alcohol treatment, or handle other responsibilities. In keeping to the terms of your house arrest, your home may be subject to random searches by the police.
Avoiding Jail Time Entirely
Judges may not always be willing to accept an alternative to time behind county bars for a third DUI offense. Instead, your best option may be to beat the charges you’re facing.
Even in cases where you have previous DUI convictions, it is possible to beat a DUI charge. Building a strong DUI defense requires expertise that only comes from handling DUI cases. A skilled DUI lawyer will evaluate your case to see if:
- There was probable cause for the officer to initiate the arrest
- The chemical tests used to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) were used properly
- There are alternate explanations for your BAC, such as rising BAC or certain medical conditions.
If there are enough deficiencies in the prosecution’s case, you may be able to have the charges dismissed well before you see the inside of a court for trial.
Get the Legal Help You Need to Avoid Jail Time for Your 3rd DUI
Avoiding jail time for a third DUI is tricky, but the right lawyer can help you. However, building the proper defense requires time and your court date can approach rapidly. The sooner you contact a DUI lawyer, the better shot you have at avoiding jail time.
Call (310) 896-2724 today to schedule an appointment with a lawyer specializing in handling DUI cases just like yours. The initial consultation is completely free to you, so don’t wait to call!