The penalties for a DUI conviction are severe. As a “priorable” offense, the penalties become harsher for each repeat offense by the same individual. One of the scariest prospects for individuals charged with a third DUI in California is the jail sentence.
The length of time you will serve in jail for a third DUI will depend heavily on the unique circumstances of your case. A strong defense is a great way to reduce or even eliminate the possibility of a jail sentence. If you’re looking for help to build the best possible defense against your DUI charges, call (310) 896-2724 to speak with one of our representatives. We help people just like you connect with an experienced DUI lawyer. Better still, the initial consultation is completely free.
Jail Sentence for a “Simple” 3rd DUI
As a “priorable” offense, the jail sentence for a third DUI will be longer than one given for the previous convictions. While the judge has some discretion on the specifics, the law calls for the following range for a third DUI:
- A minimum of 120 days
- A maximum of one year
The sentence will be carried out in either the local or county jail where the offense took place. It very well may be the same facility that you were held at prior to your arraignment.
What you get sentenced to serve for a third DUI is dependent on what happened leading to your arrest. Other factors can impact the duration of incarceration and even the location. These aggravating factors include:
- DUI with a minor passenger
- A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15%
- Damage to property (including other cars)
- Reckless driving or speeding
- Being underage at the time of your arrest
- Denying a chemical test (breath, blood, urine) following your arrest
- Serious or fatal injuries
Many of these aggravating factors will simply extend the length of time you spend in jail, as well as the other penalties you face from a third DUI conviction. However, causing injuries to other people can elevate a third charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.
How a Felony DUI for a 3rd Offense Affects Your Jail Time
If someone was injured or killed while you were driving under the influence, prosecutors will seek felony charges against you. On top of the other penalties you face, you will face a different sort of incarceration for a felony DUI, than you would for a misdemeanor DUI offense.
The sentence for a felony DUI starts at 16 months and climbs from there. Depending on the injuries suffered, you may be facing two or three years. Under California Penal Code 191.5, you could face 10 years or more for manslaughter if someone died as a result of your DUI. In some cases, a prosecutor may seek a second-degree murder charge, which carries 15 years or more for a conviction.
You May Be Able to Avoid Prison
As part of a DUI conviction, you are very likely to be sentenced to both serve in jail and receive treatment for alcohol consumption. In fact, many DUI lawyers will suggest to their clients that heading to treatment before any trial can work in their favor if they are seeking to avoid jail time.
While judges can be required to order an individual convicted of DUI to a jail sentence, they are not without some discretion here as well. Judges can allow individuals to serve all or part of their sentence at a reputable treatment center. This serves to help reduce the number of people in jail, while also allowing repeat DUI offenders to get the necessary treatment to avoid another DUI conviction.
Getting Out of Jail for a 3rd DUI May Require a DUI Lawyer
Prosecutors will seek the maximum punishment for a DUI and judges are not known to offer alternative sentencing options on their own accord. In order to reduce or eliminate the length of time you spend in jail for a third DUI, you’ll need a strong defense.
DUI laws in California are complicated. Building the best defense possible requires understanding these laws and being able to see the big picture, which can be hard to do when so much of your life can be disrupted by a DUI conviction. With so much on the line, many people turn to the expertise of a qualified DUI lawyer.
If you’d like to learn more about how a DUI lawyer could help you reduce how long you go to jail for a third DUI, call us at (310) 896-2724 or use the contact forms on the right side of this page. Your first meeting with an experienced DUI lawyer will come at no cost to you, so don’t hesitate to connect with us today!