Orange County 2nd DUI Lawyer

Orange County 2nd DUI Lawyer

Orange County Second DUI Attorney

California law is harsh on drunk driving. Being convicted of a DUI more than once in the last ten years is considered a repeat offense. Driving under the influence is illegal, and facing a second DUI in Orange County carries more severe consequences than the first. Repeat convictions increase punishments and make judges unlikely to give you leniency.

These penalties can harm the rest of your future, including your jobs, professional licenses, and education. Understanding how these charges work can give you a better chance to defend yourself against conviction and penalties. Your second conviction may rely heavily on the circumstances of your first offense, which makes the case much more complex. Hiring an Orange County second DUI lawyer is essential for lessening the impact of your second DUI offense.

Santa Ana Criminal Defense Lawyer

The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC: Strong Defense for Your Second DUI

For more than 20 years, the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, has been providing criminal and DUI defense and protecting their clients’ rights. You work with trusted attorneys who walk you through your case. We know how stressful a DUI charge is. Our firm can provide you with compassionate legal advice that brings you the most positive outcome possible for your case.

DUI charges are serious. Do not take them lightly by thinking you can defend yourself against these charges alone. Our office has handled many DUI cases, defending those charged and helping them avoid the worst of their penalties. We understand the intricacies of Orange County DUI law because we have dealt with it numerous times. The sooner you talk with an attorney following your arrest, the stronger the defense we can build for you. If we know the full facts of your case, we may be able to reduce or even dismiss the charges.

Understanding the Basics of a DUI

A DUI refers to driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or intoxicating substances. The legal limit in most of California is 0.08% blood alcohol level. This is because being under the influence impairs your ability to drive a vehicle safely and causes severe danger to yourself and others.

Although a DUI is most commonly associated with drunk driving, it also applies to other substances, including marijuana. Marijuana, whether used medically or recreationally, is illegal in any amount when operating a vehicle.

The type of DUI charge you will face depends on factors such as your record, any harm caused by your intoxication, and the passengers in your car. Your first DUI offense is taken seriously in California, but the court will sometimes be lenient if they believe you will not repeat the offense. A second offense is taken much more seriously. If you reach four DUI convictions in a certain time period, your fourth charge will automatically be charged as a felony.

What Is Considered a Second DUI Offense?

If you are arrested in California while driving under the influence and you have a prior DUI, you will be charged with a second offense. Your second DUI is handled through the criminal court and California DMV, just like your first DUI. These two systems carry different penalties.

Under California law, if you have a DUI conviction on your record in the last ten years, it is considered a prior DUI. Any arrests that result in convictions after that count as your second offense.

Even if your prior DUI charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain, it may still count as a prior DUI. This includes a “wet reckless” plea deal, where you are charged with a lesser offense like reckless driving rather than a DUI. This offense is similar to a DUI, but the charge does not include alcohol or impairment. Because of this, a dry reckless plea deal is not a prior DUI charge.

If you were arrested for a DUI but never convicted, then it will not count as a prior.

Why Do I Need an Orange County Second DUI Lawyer?

If you hope to not face the full penalties for a second DUI offense, you need a skilled DUI attorney. Not only is your present freedom on the line, but so is your future. During your case, an attorney can keep you out of jail while you await your hearing. Working with an attorney gives you the most favorable chance of reducing your penalties or having the charges dropped.

An attorney can assess the details of your situation to determine your ideal defense strategy. The prosecution must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you.

Your attorney can gather evidence and be sure that all your rights are protected. They may locate police video of the event or interview witnesses in support of your case. If there is reason to believe the officer had no real reason to pull you over, this may affect the entire case. If the officer failed to follow protocol, all charges against you could be dismissed. Some of the evidence that makes for a strong case is only available to legal professionals like attorneys. You will not be permitted to obtain them yourself.

An attorney can provide you with necessary legal filings depending on your case’s circumstances. If you believe you were treated unfairly by law enforcement officers, your attorney knows how to address this. If they can prove that the police violated your rights, it can give you a better chance in court. DUI and criminal law can be complex, but a DUI attorney is well-versed in understanding, interpreting, and explaining it.

If you are offered a plea bargain, an attorney can determine if it is a fair one. Many DUI cases do not actually go to trial but are instead settled with the district attorney. An attorney can tell if the deal offered is a favorable one or if you are better off fighting the charges.

There are many consequences for receiving a second DUI conviction, and you will want to limit the harm it causes to your life. Your rights and your freedom are at stake in a second DUI case.

Administrative DMV Penalties for a Second DUI

Even if you are not convicted of a second DUI, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may penalize you for being arrested for a second DUI. They can suspend or restrict your driver’s license. An automatic suspension of your license happens for these reasons:

  • You are convicted of your second DUI charge.
  • You fail to request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of the date of your arrest.
  • You lose the DMV hearing.

If your license is suspended, you may see these consequences:

  • License suspension for at least a year if the DMV hearing results in the suspension.
  • License suspension for two years if you are convicted of your second DUI and the court triggers the suspension.
  • After 90 days, you can apply for a restricted license. This requires a chemical test and proof that you installed an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. Your restricted license allows you to drive any vehicle that has an IID for 12 months.

If you refused a chemical test when you were arrested, you cannot apply for a restricted license. This can lead to harsher penalties if you refuse a chemical test. For one, you cannot get a restricted license during the two years it is suspended.

Your DMV Hearing Rights

Winning your DMV hearing will allow you to use your license unsuspended, but this has little impact on the court case. However, it is the only way you can avoid the automatic suspension of your license. You have the right to attorney representation in your DMV hearing as well as in criminal court. Your other rights in a DMV hearing include:

  • You can request an in-person hearing rather than an over-the-phone hearing. Often, this is to your benefit.
  • You can require that the arresting officer be present for your hearing and answer questions. This can not only improve the outcome of your DMV hearing but may also help you in your criminal case.
  • Your license is unable to be suspended until the hearing is over, which may take several months. This gives you time to use your license and operate your vehicle during this time. You may never have it suspended, depending on the outcome of your hearing and case.

It is in your interest to involve an attorney in the process as soon as possible. Not only can this give you a better chance of having your license reinstated, but it can also ensure that you meet all the necessary legal deadlines. A DUI defense attorney who advocated for you at your DMV hearing can also understand the details of your case better when they defend you in court.

Criminal Penalties for a Second DUI

Second DUI conviction penalties are harsher and may include:

  • Three to five years of misdemeanor probation
  • A fine of $390 to $1,000
  • An additional penalty assessment of up to $1,000
  • A minimum jail time of 96 hours to a maximum of one year, which cannot be waived like a first offense DUI
  • Completion of 18- or 30-month court-approved California DUI schooling
  • License suspension and IID installation
  • A conviction on your record for ten years

When the court assigns probation as a DUI penalty, it will include the following restrictions:

  • You will commit no other crimes.
  • You will not operate a vehicle with any measurable BAC or intoxication.
  • You can’t refuse a chemical test of any kind if arrested for another DUI.

The above penalties for a DUI conviction are considered the bare minimum punishments. Because this is your second DUI offense, the judge will likely determine that you need further penalties. The court may also impose other conditions on a second offense DUI, including:

  • Alcohol or drug treatment and participation in recovery or support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. You have to show the court proof of your attendance.
  • Court orders to attend rehab.
  • Court orders that prohibit drinking at all.
  • Restitution for anyone harmed in an accident if you caused one.
  • Wearing a detector bracelet that monitors the amount of alcohol in your system.
  • Attendance at a victim impact panel, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The intention is to show you those who have lost loved ones and family members to drunk driving. The hope is that this prevents you from continuing this behavior in the future.

Failing to follow through on the court-ordered conditions of your probation can lead to jail time and additional penalties.

The penalties you receive and their severity will depend on the circumstances of your arrest and case. You may face more serious punishments if:

  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was extremely high.
  • Anyone was hurt.
  • You refused a chemical test.
  • There were other aggravating factors.

Aggravating Factors in a Second DUI Case

If your arrest involves aggravating factors, your penalties will be harsher. The court may increase your jail or prison sentence. If these factors were involved in your prior DUI case, that may affect how your second DUI is treated. These factors include:

  • Having a BAC of twice or more the legal limit, which is 0.15% in most of California
  • Refusing a chemical test or breathalyzer
  • Driving at excessively fast speeds while under the influence
  • Being under the age of 21
  • Causing an accident or injury to a third party
  • Child endangerment or driving under the influence with a passenger under 14

If these circumstances were a part of your arrest, penalties will likely include:

  • Mandatory substance abuse treatment
  • Increased fines
  • Increased jail time

You may face prison time if your DUI charge becomes a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

When deciding whether to charge you with a felony, prosecutors will assess your:

  • Criminal record
  • Past DUI convictions
  • BAC
  • The extent of the injuries you may have caused

A felony comes with much more serious consequences for your freedom and life in general. It may impact your right to vote, your ability to find housing and employment, and your right to own a firearm.

Possible Legal Defenses Against a Second DUI Charge

When you are arrested for a second DUI, you may believe that there is no way to beat the charges. However, that is not always the case. It is more difficult than a first offense because the court will be less lenient. They will also be less convinced that you can be rehabilitated from this behavior. However, just because you were arrested does not mean you are guilty of or can be convicted of the crime.

An experienced attorney can determine if your case has grounds to dismiss the charges, fight for acquittal, or make a favorable plea bargain. There are many ways an attorney can defend against your charges. Some avenues your defense attorney may use to defend your case include:

  • A Faulty or Inaccurate Breathalyzer
    California drivers give implicit consent to submit to breathalyzer tests and other field sobriety tests if an officer requests them to. Refusing to do so will result in penalties. Taking the test, however, does not mean that the results of the test are correct.Field sobriety tests are often considered unreliable and are frequently inadmissible or can be challenged in court. You may not have been intoxicated at all, and the results of the breath test, blood test, or urine test were incorrect. The test may also be influenced by other medications or substances, leading to an accurate reading.
  • The Arrest Was Illegal
    Law enforcement officers can sometimes make illegal arrests. They are not allowed to stop drivers unless there is reasonable cause. A stop is only allowed if you cross the center traffic line illegally. If an officer arrests you for poor driving, such as weaving, swerving, or speeding, this does not always indicate intoxication. If this was the only reason for charging you with a DUI, it is likely our attorney can defend you against that charge.Officers are not allowed to stop your car simply because you left an establishment that serves drinks or left around closing time. This is not considered a reasonable cause. If an officer pulled you over illegally, any field sobriety tests obtained from that pullover are not considered evidence.
  • The Arrest Was Botched
    Police officers have a strict protocol for making DUI arrests and determining a driver’s impairment level. They may conduct the field sobriety test improperly or arrest you despite the successful completion of the tests. This means they have failed to follow protocol or made mistakes during the arrest process. If an officer does not read you your Miranda rights, they have violated your rights. The case against you can be dismissed.Officers can also mishandle evidence or fail to provide enough evidence to the court. Your case may be dismissed based on these failures.
  • Rising Blood Alcohol Content
    Alcohol takes time to raise your blood alcohol content. When you have a drink, your brain and reflexes are not inhibited right away. A driver may be under the legal limit when they begin driving. However, they may later have a higher BAC when they are tested after their arrest at the station.For this reason, an attorney can sometimes argue that you would have reached your destination while under the legal limit. They would further contend that being stopped and arrested prevented you from arriving home quickly enough to do so. This defense is often only applicable to situations where the driver only had a short distance to travel. Then, it is more plausible that your BAC would have remained below 0.08% until long after you had reached your destination. If the BAC test was given long after you were pulled over, there may be a strong defense that you would have arrived home safe without interference.
  • Entrapment
    There are some officers who misuse their power. Sometimes, these officers will use illegal activities to make an arrest. Entrapment is a tactic used by dishonest law enforcement officers to coerce you or encourage you to act illegally. They will then arrest you for that action. This can happen in DUI arrests.DUI entrapment may be an officer encouraging you to drink over your limit and drive. Then they inform other officers, who will arrest you. It can be difficult to prove DUI entrapment, but doing so can get your charges dropped.
  • You Weren’t Driving
    The “no driving” defense in California claims that either you were not the driver of the car while intoxicated or that the car was never driven. This legal defense does not focus on improper arrest procedures or your BAC level. This defense is likely to be used if you were found intoxicated in a car without having driven it. It may also be used if you owned the car that was driven, but another person drove it. There are several other situations where the no driving defense may apply. However, they all require the officers who arrested you to infer you were driving rather than know you were. If you were pulled over while driving by a law enforcement officer, this defense is not applicable to your case.There are other defenses that an experienced attorney can use to cast doubt on the evidence and reduce your charges. Fighting these charges alone is nearly impossible and can jeopardize your future.

Can a Second DUI Be Expunged in California?

Although a second conviction is more serious, you can still apply for expungement with the state of California. This means that it is removed from your criminal record. The requirements for expungement in California are:

  • You were put on probation for your conviction.
  • You completed that probation according to its terms.

If you meet those requirements, you can apply for expungement. There is no waiting period to apply, and you can petition for expungement as soon as your probation is finished. Your petition is reviewed by a judge, who will then decide whether to grant it. If your petition is accepted, the case will be dismissed.

Expungement only applies to misdemeanors with probation as a sentence. If your second DUI was charged as a felony and you served prison time, the charge cannot be expunged. If you are facing a felony for your second DUI, a DUI defense lawyer can fight to have it reduced to a misdemeanor. This can then be expunged later.

DUI Penalties in Different California Counties

While most DUI laws are the same across the state, some counties have different penalties. For example, a first-time conviction in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare, or Sacramento counties will require that an IID be installed in your vehicle.

The sentencing that judges give also varies. A less lenient judge may be the reason you face a harsher sentence. Finding an attorney who serves your county and the county in which you were charged is critical. The attorney not only has more experience in those courts but also has a familiar professional relationship with judges and prosecutors. If you are facing Orange County DUI charges, you need an attorney in Orange County, CA.

Do My Prior DUI Convictions in Other States Count?

California is part of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC). This is an agreement to share arrest and conviction information about driving between 45 of the U.S. states. The California DMV receives information from these states when you apply for a California license. If you faced a DUI conviction in the past ten years, and that state’s laws are comparable to California’s, it will likely count as a prior offense.

When the DMV receives the information about the prior offense, they will determine if that makes you ineligible for a license in California. They will also check if your suspension in the other state is still active. If you applied for a driver’s license in California and received one, the DMV decided to go ahead and issue one. However, it is still considered a prior offense.

If you were convicted of a DUI in Georgia, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Michigan, or Wisconsin, it may not be reported to the California DMV. These are the five states that are not a part of the IDLC, so this may not impact your driving record in California. However, you will still face any criminal charges and penalties from that state.

Additional Consequences of a Second DUI Conviction

You will face clear consequences through jail time, fines, probation, and other DMV and criminal penalties. However, there are other consequences that result from conviction. Not only will you potentially face social consequences and judgment, but you could also face:

  • Job termination and firing
  • Employment or job application rejection
  • Educational rejection from colleges and universities
  • Rejection from entering military service
  • Rejections for loans or other financial assistance
  • Points from the DMV on your Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)
  • Increased premiums from your car insurance company

The impact of a DUI conviction, especially a second DUI conviction, goes much further than some people realize. A conviction may impact your entire financial and social future if you do not have sufficient legal advocacy.

How Much Does a DUI Attorney in Orange County Cost?

DUI defense lawyers generally operate under a flat fee rather than an hourly one. Unfortunately, because every DUI case is different, it can be hard to know what this fee will be. It will be impacted by factors such as:

  • How complex the DUI case is
  • Whether your case is likely to be settled or end up in criminal court
  • How long your DMV hearing and court case are likely to take
  • Aggravating factors in your case
  • The severity of your DUI charges
  • The experience of the attorney

It is important to talk with an attorney about their fees before hiring them. Although an experienced attorney is more costly, that experience is incredibly valuable in obtaining a favorable conclusion to your case.

If you are facing a complex case, it may be tempting to lower your costs with a less-experienced attorney. However, facing a second DUI makes it more critical that you work with a lawyer experienced in those cases. An attorney with less experience may not be aware of many of the common pitfalls of a second DUI case. Therefore, you will not have a strong defense against your charges. Without a complete defense against drunk driving or other DUI charges, your entire life could be impacted.

What to Expect From Your Orange County 2nd DUI Lawyer

You want to be sure to talk openly with your DUI attorney when you begin to work with them. If you are not open in your communication, your lawyer cannot adequately represent you in a hearing, a settlement, or in court.

Alternatively, suppose you discuss your case with your attorney. You feel that they are judging you for your actions or failing to listen to what you are saying. If so, then you might consider looking for a new attorney.

You also want to find an attorney who understands the stressful nature of being charged with a second DUI. Although you have been through the DUI process before, that does not always mean that you understand the proceedings. Your attorney should be able to provide you with legal counsel that is clear and easy to understand. They should also remain compassionate toward the stress and overwhelming time you are going through. You should be able to bring your questions and concerns to your attorney. It is important that your second DUI lawyer always inform you of the steps, outcomes, and status of your case.

Defense for Your Second DUI Arrest From the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC

It can be terrifying to be faced with a second DUI while knowing the consequences of a conviction. An experienced defense lawyer is the most essential part of avoiding or limiting those consequences. Prosecutors want to use anything they can against you, and you need a proper defense against those tactics. At the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, we have over 20 years of experience working in criminal courts. Our firm has defended many DUI cases while protecting our clients’ rights. We want to help you protect your future with an effective and airtight legal defense.

When you or a loved one is arrested for a DUI, you need to find legal advocacy quickly. The sooner you begin to discuss your case with an attorney, the more time we have to prepare a defense that protects your future and your rights. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, today for experienced and fierce representation.


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