When you’re facing a fourth DUI in California, you may be concerned about what’s going to happen to you. DUIs in California are considered “priorable” offenses, meaning that the law treats repeat offenders more harshly than first-time offenders. Any DUIs you incurred in the last 10 years, including similar offenses like “wet” reckless convictions, will be counted against you.
A fourth DUI in California is typically going to be charged by the prosecution as a felony. However, it is possible to have the charge tried as a misdemeanor. Having it tried as a misdemeanor would mean facing less severe penalties, but it is unlikely that you’ll be able to convince the prosecutor to seek a lesser charge on your own.
You stand a better chance of receiving leniency from the court if you have a skilled DUI lawyer by your side. The right DUI attorney may be able to get the charges reduced, help you get an alternative sentence, or even have the charges dismissed entirely. If you’d like to have a knowledgeable DUI lawyer evaluate your case, call (310) 862-0199 to speak with a representative about scheduling your free consultation.
The Penalties the Come with a 4th Felony DUI
While the judge has some discretion over the specifics, a fourth DUI conviction means you will be facing penalties that are more severe than you did for previous convictions. The extent to which you’ll be penalized will be affected by the facts of your case, how you act from the time of your arrest through the trial, and how well you’re represented throughout the process.
Fines and Fees
As with other DUI offenses, you’ll receive a fine between $390 and $1,000. However, you’ll also be given fees by the court to cover the costs of processing the charge. These fees can bring your total to around $18,000, which does not include any other expenses you may incur from the court’s orders.
You’ll face between 16 months and three years behind bars for your fourth DUI conviction. Unlike with prior misdemeanor offenses, the judge will most likely sentence you to serve your time in a state prison. The conditions at the prison will be harsher than those of the local jail, meaning you will be farther from your family, face more restrictions while there, and be potentially less safe.
Losing Your License
You can lose your driving privileges for four years as a result of a fourth DUI conviction. Rather than facing a license suspension, you’ll have your license revoked. When you’ve completed the time of the revocation and any additional requirements put on you by the court, you’ll have to head to the DMV to reapply for your license.
You will have to pay for DUI education classes for 30 months and the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you regularly operate. You will be classified as a felon, which will make getting a new job difficult and comes with restrictions of certain rights. You are also likely to be sentenced to some kind of addiction treatment, though you may be better off if you initiate that on your own before the trial.
These penalties assume that you’re being charged for a “simple” DUI. However, there are other factors that can enhance the penalties you receive. These factors might include:
- Injuring another person
- Causing a fatal accident
- DUI with a minor passenger
- Refusing a chemical test after your arrest
These factors may cause new penalties to be added on to your sentence, or simply make the existing penalties worse.
A DUI Lawyer Can Help You with Your 4th DUI Charge
Having previous DUI convictions on your record should not impact your ability to receive fair treatment in the courts. Your chances at trial will depend on the unique circumstances of this case and not on any of your previous charges. A prosecutor must still prove the case with the same level of evidence as he or she would for any other DUI charge.
There are things you can do to help your case and reduce the possibility of the harshest penalties. For example, the courts will look more kindly on individuals who seek addiction treatment prior to a court order. This shows remorse on your part, which will be factored into many decisions that are made.
Another decision you could make to improve your outcome is to hire a DUI lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to challenge any weak evidence brought against you, negotiate more favorable terms for any penalties you could face, and even could have the charges reduced or eliminated.
Call (310) 862-0199 today to connect with a DUI lawyer who will sit down with you to discuss your case. The evaluation and meeting is completely free and a great way to start building the strongest defense possible for your DUI charge.