Napa Third-Offense DUI Lawyer

Impaired drivers are more likely to cause severe road accidents because their reaction times and decision-making skills are hindered. This makes impaired drivers a danger to themselves, other drivers, and pedestrians that occupy space near them on the roads. Serious injuries and fatalities are not uncommon when drivers using alcohol or drugs choose to operate a vehicle. For this reason, California has passed harsh laws and implemented severe penalties for those who are convicted of DUI. These penalties become more severe as your number of DUI convictions increases, meaning a third-offense DUI can have life-altering effects.

Prosecutors are often unforgiving during subsequent DUI arrests and trials, meaning a skilled DUI lawyer can significantly improve the outcome of your case. Napa area residents that are facing a third-offense DUI charge should reach out to the Law Office of Conor Bell, as we have a long history of supporting our neighbors through complex legal cases and successfully fighting DUI charges.

DUI in Napa, California

Driving under the influence, or DUI, is the offense of drunken or otherwise impaired driving that results from intaking alcohol or other substances before or while operating a vehicle. Motorists who drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit in California commit a public offense under the California Vehicle Code and may be punished accordingly. Although alcohol may be the most common impairment, taking any drug—prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal—that inhibits your ability to drive safely can result in a DUI arrest if you choose to operate a vehicle.

Another term that may be frequently heard is DWI, or driving while intoxicated. The terms DUI and DWI can be used almost interchangeably. However, California exclusively uses DUI when discussing legal matters. Although some states use these phrases differently, California defines driving while intoxicated or otherwise impaired as a DUI.

Napa, CA Blood Alcohol Content Limits

There are many different BAC levels that constitute driving under the influence. The level that is applicable to you depends on factors such as your age and purpose for driving:

  • For drivers under the age of 21: BAC of 0.01% (suspension) and 0.05% (arrest) due to the Zero Tolerance Law
  • For adult drivers: BAC of 0.08%
  • Drivers on DUI probation: BAC of 0.01%
  • Commercial drivers or drivers with passengers-for-hire: BAC of 0.04%

You can still be charged with a type of DUI, a DUI per se, even if you do not feel impaired if you test above these limits. You can also be charged with a DUI if you test under the legal limit but are unable to drive safely. The presence of any level of drug that impairs your ability to drive safely is also considered hazardous and is likely to result in a DUI arrest.

Napa Third-Offense DUI Lawyer

Third-Offense Drunk Driving Conviction Penalties

DUI offenses are considered priorable offenses in California, meaning they will remain on your record for 10 years after a conviction. During this 10-year window, each additional DUI conviction will result in you facing harsher penalties. Note that it is possible for a DUI plea bargain to be priorable. For example, if you accept a wet reckless conviction after a DUI arrest, it will count as a DUI conviction for the purposes of sentencing. Therefore, if you took two wet reckless plea bargains in the past 10 years, you will be facing a third DUI offense.

If you are convicted of a basic third-offense DUI, you will be facing:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to $3,000 in fines
  • Up to 18 months in a treatment program for alcohol
  • Ignition Interlock Device for two years
  • License suspension

If an injury or death resulted from a choice to drive while impaired, the penalties that can be leveraged against you will be much more severe.

Important Notes for Subsequent DUI Convictions

There are much more severe penalties possible when you have been convicted of multiple DUIs. There are, however, other factors that result from having multiple DUI convictions:

  • Concurrent Convictions
    It is possible that the court system will move slowly, and a DUI conviction can take significantly longer than expected. If you are convicted of a second DUI before the first DUI case is complete, both will count as convictions for the purpose of sentencing. This law is aimed at preventing repeat offenders from escaping these harsher penalties based on a technicality.
  • Habitual Traffic Offenders
    California allows for a legal designation called “habitual traffic offender” (HTO). This designation can be applied after a third DUI conviction under Vehicle Code Section 14601.3. This can result in jail time of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $1,000. Furthermore, drivers with this designation are likely to face sentencing enhancements of up to an additional 180 days and $2,000 in fines if they are convicted of any other traffic violations.
  • Fourth DUI Offense
    If you are convicted of a third-offense DUI, it will reflect on your record. This is important because any subsequent DUI within the 10-year window can be charged as a felony instead of a misdemeanor. This will significantly increase the penalties you could be facing if you are arrested under suspicion of DUI for the fourth time.

Napa County DUI Attorney

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be a few options that you can use in your defense strategy. If the arresting police officers conducted the stop without reasonable cause, or did not follow protocol and violated your rights, the charges may be dismissed. Unfortunately, crafting a valid defense by finding flaws in the case requires thorough knowledge of the law and police procedures that the average citizen will be unfamiliar with. For this reason, speaking with a skilled defense attorney immediately after your third-offense DUI can dramatically improve your circumstances.

It may seem overwhelming to approach a third-offense DUI, but the support of the right attorney can make all the difference. The Law Office of Conor Bell has extensive experience with DUI defenses in Napa County as well as knowledge gained during multiple years of working as a prosecutor. This combination allows us to quickly build the most effective defense for your specific charges, ensuring the greatest possible outcome for your case. Reach out to the Law Office of Conor Bell for a consultation if you have been arrested for a DUI while having prior DUI convictions.