DUI remains the largest cause of vehicle related fatalities in California. About 63.5 percent of motor vehicle related fatalities are caused by drunk drivers.Nancy Smith with Hart Levin says, “The problems caused by drunk driving are more serious when the injuries it causes are put into consideration.” The people injured in such accidents are forced to undergo costly, painful and time consuming recovery.

The motorists who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in California face several serious penalties such as automatic license suspension, a possible jail sentence and hefty fines. If you have been previously convicted for DUI, the penalties will be more serious. Under California’s mandatory sentencing guidelines, a second DUI offense usually carries a harsher penalty than the first one.

Larry Ferguson an attorney with OC DUI Expert warns, “State law classifies anyone who has been convicted of DUI within a period of ten years as a repeat offender. Your lawyer will have to do everything he can to keep you from becoming a permanent member of the penal system after your second DUI.” Lawmakers are less tolerant of individuals found guilty of a subsequent DUI charge. Many of the penalties you can receive will be based on the nature of your first arrest. If you are wondering what happens next after your second DUI in California, then the following information will be useful.

If you are facing a second DUI offense charge, you will face both criminal and administrative penalties.

Administrative penalties

The Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for at least one year. Nonetheless, it could also be suspended for as long as two years.

Criminal penalties

You will face the possibility of spending time in jail if you are convicted of a second DUI offense. The jail sentence ranges from ninety six hours to one year depending on the circumstances surrounding your case such as the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You may also pay a fine of at least 390 dollars, but not more than 1,000 dollars. In some counties, part of the jail time may be converted to work service. In Orange county unfortunately, there is a mandatory jail time punishment for a second DUI charge. Criminal penalties for a second DWI offense also include 3 to 5 years of probation. You should also enroll in DWI School and attend it for eighteen months.

Getting legal assistance

A second DUI offense is considered as a misdemeanor crime. Therefore, you have the right to a jury trial before you are convicted of the crime and a hearing at the DMV before your driver license can be suspended. At trial, the prosecutors will present proof to a jury showing that:

You did not pass one or several field sobriety testsYou had specific signs of intoxication such as bloodshot eyes, alcohol odor and slurred speechYour blood or breath test indicated that your BAC was above 0.08%

If you are facing DUI charges, it is essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The professional will explain the legal repercussions to you and assist you to decide on how to proceed. The lawyer will also defend you aggressively before the court.