Dealing with multiple DUIs in Fresno can be a frightening and emotional experience, especially if you have been convicted of one in the past. The penalties for multiple DUIs are sometimes unclear, and you may be worried about losing your license, facing fines, and spending time in custody. The way DUIs are classified can be confusing as well. DUIs are generally misdemeanors, but with enough priors or other circumstances, they can be charged as a felony and lead to prison time.
Having worked as a DUI prosecutor and now as a criminal defense lawyer, Fresno DUI attorney Michael McKneely understands the inner workings of the court system. He knows that important issues can be overlooked. Once an experienced attorney evaluates the case, the situation may be a lot brighter than it first appears. Call Mike today at (559) 443-7442 to see how he can defend your DUI.
Driving Under the Influence Defined
California law makes it a crime to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. In a commercial vehicle a BAC of .04 or above is considered DUI. Even if your BAC is lower than the legal limit, you can be arrested if you appear to be impaired by alcohol or any other potentially intoxicating substance.
A BAC of .01 or above is DUI for people under 21 years of age under California’s Zero Tolerance Law. If convicted of a DUI, drivers under 21 face harsh penalties which can include expensive fines and a prolonged license suspension.
Factors that Mitigate and Aggravate A DUI Charge
In many DUI cases there are mitigating or aggravating factors. Mitigating factors tend to lessen the likely sentence, whereas aggravating factors can lead to more serious punishment. Mitigating factors include:
- Impairment as a result of prescribed medication
- First time offense
- Being barely over the .08 legal BAC limit
Aggravating factors include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving with a measurable BAC while on probation
- Driving with a child in the car
- Prior DUI convictions
- Accidents causing injury
If you are stopped with a BAC above .15 your sentence is likely to be enhanced. Other special factors that will lead to a harsher sentence in California include refusing to take a chemical test, speeding, causing an injury or death, having a minor passenger, and prior DUI convictions.
The Consequences of Multiple DUIs
Separate and apart from the criminal court process, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will automatically suspend or revoke your license under their admin per se (APS) procedure when you are cited for DUI. This suspension is completely separate from any court penalties and can be severe for people stopped for their second, third, or fourth DUI. The duration of your license suspension is also affected by whether or not you take a breath test.
The APS suspension period is 4 months for first time offenders and 1 year for repeat offenders. For those who refuse a blood or breath test, the first offense suspension period is 1 year, the second offense revocation is period is 2 years, and the revocation period for 3 or more offenses is 3 years.
The DMV suspension can be challenged by a knowledgeable attorney, but you have only 10 days from arrest to start the process. Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today to prevent this automatic suspension without a hearing.
Penalties for Conviction
The penalties for multiple DUIs within ten years are harsh. As the number of convictions increase, so do the penalties. A fourth DUI conviction will even be a felony.
- 90 days to 1 year in county jail
- Up to $2,000 in fines and fees
- 2-year license suspension (APS suspension)
- 120 days to 1 year in county jail
- Up to $2,000 in fines and fees
- 3-year license suspension (APS suspension)
- Up to 3 years in state prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines and fees
- 4-year license suspension (APS suspension)
Experienced Fresno Multiple DUI Attorney for Your Defense
In cases involving multiple DUIs, a skilled attorney should start work immediately to find mistakes that could lead to charges being dropped before they ever reach a court of law. As part of the APS license suspension, you are given a 10-day window to challenge your suspension with the DMV. It is here that a defense attorney may be able to prove that you were unfairly accused or that your rights were violated and avoid the suspension altogether. In court, you may also be eligible for a plea to a reduced charge. In cases where your BAC was borderline low, a lawyer may be able to obtain a plea to a “wet reckless,” a less severe offense.
At Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer we will fight to protect your rights and freedom. Fresno criminal defense attorney Michael McKneely will review whether you received proper notice and help you fight this charge. Our goal will always be to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.