DUI laws of California are stringent on drivers who operate motor vehicles while under the influence of drugs. You will be charged with a DUI third offense if you are arrested or DUI within ten years of a second offense. A conviction for a third DUI offense will attract severe legal penalties, including jail time, probation, and suspension of your driving privileges. Also, after an arrest, the Department of Motor Vehicle will attempt to suspend your driver’s license. If you or your loved one is facing a third offense DUI charges in California, you will require competent legal guidance. At Orange County DUI Defense Lawyer, we serve clients throughout Orange County, CA, to help you secure the best outcome in your situation.

Overview of Third Offense DUI in California

DUI is a priorable offense, and a previous conviction will affect sentencing of a subsequent crime committed within ten years. You will get arrested and charged with a third DUI offense if you are driving under the influence of drugs within ten years of a second DUI conviction. If you are convicted or a third offense DUI in California, you are likely to receive the following legal penalties:

  • Informal probation or three to five years. If you receive probation as part of your sentence after a third DUI conviction, you will be required to abide by the terms of probation

  • Fines and penalty assessment of up to $3,000

  • Up to one year in a county jail

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device or two years

  • Mandatory attendance to a DUI education program or thirty moths

  • Driver’s license revocation or up to three years

There are specific factors that can aggravate the penalties you receive for a third DUI offense, including:

  • You will face more severe penalties if, at the time of arrest, your blood alcohol content was 0.15% or higher

  • At the time you were driving under the influence of drugs, you caused an accident which resulted in injuries for third parties

  • You refused to submit to chemical tests required during and after an arrest. It is essential to understand that you have a right to refuse the tests offered during an arrest. However, this action will be accompanied by some legal consequences

  • If you are an underage driver and you get arrested for a third DUI offense, you may receive an enhanced penalty.

  • Having children under the age of 14 years in the vehicle during an arrest for DUI can be a cause of enhanced penalties

If you are arrested and charged with a third DUI offense in California, there are three ways in which you can lose your driving privileges, including:

  1. Court Imposed a Driver’s License After a Conviction for DUI

DUI laws are stringent on repeat offenders in California. If you get arrested or a third offense, you will face severe legal consequences depending on the circumstances of the case and your criminal history. Suspension of your driver’s license is one of the harshest penalties that accompany a third offense DUI conviction. If you have two prior DUI convictions within the last ten years, you will receive a three years court-imposed driver’s license suspension. However, the court will not suspend your license but will contact the Department of Motor Vehicle to suspend your license.

If you submitted to a chemical test during the DUI arrest, you are eligible to receive a restricted license. The restricted driver’s license allows you to operate your vehicle during the period of license suspension. However, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device. An IID is a Breathalyzer device that takes your breath sample before you start the vehicle. If the device registers a significant amount of alcohol in your breath, you may not be able to drive.

  1. Driver’s License Suspension for Failure to Submit to Chemical Tests

Having a valid driver’s license in California is a presumption that you have consented to take chemical tests for DUI investigations. However, you have the right to reuse the tests when called upon to do so. When the officer stops your vehicle in a DUI checkpoint, you may be asked to take a Breathalyzer test, which checks the amount of alcohol in your breath. Also, a field sobriety take may be taken to assess your conduct and appearance.

There are no legal consequences of refusing to take the breath or field sobriety test unless you are an underage driver. However, after an arrest refusing to take blood tests will be accompanied by severe legal consequences. Results of the breath and blood tests are crucial pieces of evidence in your DUI criminal case. Although refusing to submit to a chemical test may be quite evident during a DUI case, some situations may indirectly indicate refusal.

During a DUI arrest in California, you will only get a single chance to choose and take a test. If you fail to take the test, you don’t have a right to a second chance. Also, you do not choose a chemical test claiming that you want a personal physician. It will be considered a refusal of the test. During an arrest, you will not be forced to submit to the test. However, chemical test refusal attracts an increased jail sentence.

When you refuse to take chemical tests after an arrest or a third DUI offense, the Department of Motor Vehicle will be notified. Chemical test refusal or a third DUI attracts a three-year automatic driver’s license revocation. The action to revoke your license for chemical test refusal is independent of your DUI criminal case. However, you can regain your driving privileges if your criminal case is dismissed or you are found not guilty after trial. It is essential to understand that taking a wet reckless plea bargain in your DUI case will not reverse a license revocation by the DMV. If you are facing third offense DUI charges, it is crucial to have competent legal representation.

  1. DMV Driver’s License Suspension for a Third DUI Offense

After a DUI arrest, your license is confiscated, and you are issued with a pink notification which will act as your temporary license or thirty days. If you get arrested for driving under the influence of drugs in California, the Department of Motor Vehicle will be notified of the arrest. Even before your criminal case is heard, the DMV will attempt to suspend your driver’s license. However, you are given a ten-day period to request a DMV hearing where you can contest the suspension of your license.

A DMV hearing is an administrative hearing which is held in an office and presided over by a hearing officer. Failure to request a hearing with the DMV after an arrest or a third DUI, you will receive an automatic driver’s license suspension. After the period of suspension, you will have a chance to get back your driving privileges after meeting the following conditions:

  • Enroll in DUI school

  • Produce an SR22 form. The SR22 is a form issued by your motor vehicle insurer, which shows proof of insurance responsibility. The DMV will require you to submit this form before reinstating your driver’s license after a suspension.

  • You will be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $125

  • Sometimes, the installation of an ignition interlock device is required to reinstate your license

If you request a DMV within the stipulated time, the suspension of your driver’s license will be put on hold, awaiting the outcome of the hearing. DMV hearings are more relaxed than the criminal case hearings, and they take place in an office setting. Also, the burden of proof required in this case is lesser than the evidence needed to prove guilt in a DUI case. However, it is still essential to have competent legal representation to help you avoid a license suspension.

In California, you will be required to contact a DMV driver’s safety so that you can schedule a hearing. At the hearing, you have the right to:

  • Review and challenge the evidence brought against you. Common evidence brought against you at the DMV hearing is your conduct at the time of the arrest. Also, results of loud and breath tests will be presented to ascertain driving under the influence of drugs. If you are a repeat offender, your previous DUI records can also be used against you

  • Present witnesses. If you are arrested or a third DUI offense in a DUI stop or after an accident, it is crucial to identify individuals who were at the scene. You can get contacts from these individuals and ask them to testify in your case. Also, you can present the arresting officer as a witness to your lawsuit

  • Give your testimony. During a DMV hearing, you can testify by giving an account of what happened before during the arrest

At the DMV hearing, you can preset the following common DUI defenses in an attempt to avoid the license suspension:

  1. Claim that You were not Driving

Sometimes you can get arrested for driving under the influence of drugs after an accident. In this case, the officer may not have seen you driving. If there are no witnesses who observed you driving or any other evidence to prove this fact, you can use no driving as a defense. With the help of a competent attorney, this defense can be a basis to set aside your driver’s license session.

  1. The Arresting Officer Lacked Probable Cause to Arrest You for DUI

When arresting you or driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer should have a valid reason to believe that you were driving under the influence of drugs. Some reasons why a traffic officer could lack probable cause to arrest you include:

  • Getting pulled over as a result of racism even when you were following all traffic rules

  • You were involved in a traffic accident and started drinking on arriving home, after which the officers came to interview you.

  • Getting arrested while intoxicated in an accident scene, but the officer did not observe you driving. 

If the officer lacked probable cause to detain you, the DMV would set aside the suspension of your license.

  1. Challenging the Accuracy Chemical Test Results

Before and after the arrest, you will be required to take breath and blood tests to determine the amount of alcohol in your system. The most substantial piece of evidence in DUI cases is the chemical test results. A Breathalyzer device is expected to be in proper working condition and should undergo accuracy checks regularly. If you submitted your sample in faulty equipment, you could try to discredit the results. With the help of a competent attorney, you can find fault in the results and get your license suspension set aside. 

  1. Improper Field Observations

The law stipulates how breath and blood tests need to be carried out. Also, Title 17 regulations indicate that a field sobriety test should be carried out for at least fifteen minutes. This will ensure that you do not consume anything that jeopardizes the test results. If the arresting officer does not strictly adhere to these regulations, the results of this operation could be in question.

  1. You Can Give Alternative Explanations for a High blood Alcohol Content

There are various reasons other than alcohol intake that can contribute to high blood alcohol content. Consuming a high protein and low carbohydrate diets could trigger the body to produce alcohol and, thus, a falsely high BAC. Also, medical conditions such as GERD, diabetes, and heartburn could cause a rise in the BAC. If you had any of these medical conditions at the time your blood or breath tests were taken, you Title 17 use it as a defense in your DUI hearing.

  1. Flaws in Arrest Paperwork

During an arrest, there are documents and reports that an officer needs to write. When the officer forgets important information, records the wrong BAC, or fails to write the report, the errors could discredit evidence in your case. A competent criminal defense attorney can help you find flaws in the police report and avoid the license suspension.

  1. Claim that you were not Advised on the Consequences of Resign to take the Tests

Failing to take chemical tests after a DUI arrest will negatively affect your DMV hearing and attract a mandatory suspension. However, the officer is expected to advise you about the consequences of this refusal. Sometimes an officer will be too occupied, and they forget to give the warning. Also, they may choose not to inform you or provide their interpretation of the warning. If this is the case, your DUI driver’s license suspension could be set aside. 

Winning the DMV Hearing

A DMV DUI hearing is not concerned with your criminal charges. Instead, they are more inclined to the circumstances that surround your arrest. Even though the DMV hearing is closely related to the DUI criminal case, they are separate from each other. The outcome of the DMV hearing will not affect the judge’s decision in your DUI criminal case. However, you may use a positive DMV hearing outcome to seek a plea bargain. Some plea bargains, as well as winning the DMV hearing, will cause the officer to set aside the suspension of your license. However, you can still face a suspension after a conviction in the criminal case.

Losing the DMV Hearing

If you lose the DMV hearing, the hearing officer will go ahead with the suspension of your driver’s license. The length of license suspension or revocation varies depending on your DUI criminal history. If you are facing third offense DUI charges within ten years and you lose your DMV hearing, you will receive three years drivers’ license suspension. After one year of license suspension, you can convert the suspension into a restriction. However, you will be required to file an SR22 form and install an ignition interlock device. 

If you are facing third offense DUI charges within ten years and you caused an injury to a third party, the DMV will impose a five-year driver’s license suspension.

Restricted Driver’s License

Getting arrested for three DUI offenses within ten years can be life-changing. Other than the severe legal penalties that you suffer, this offense attracts a longer period of driver’s license suspension or revocation. After one year of driver’s license suspension for a third DUI offense, you are eligible to obtain a restricted license. However, it is crucial to understand that these privileges may not apply to individuals whose DUI was based on drugs.

Two types of restricted driver’s license can be available to you after a third DUI offense:

Ignition Interlock Device Restricted License

An IID is a Breathalyzer device that prevents your vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol in your breath. After one year of license suspension, the Department of Motor Vehicle will allow you to contribute driving upon the installation of this device. The IDD gets professionally installed on each vehicle that you frequently use. Before you start the car, you will be required to blow into the device, which sends the results to the DMV. Also, you may be required to submit Random samples as you continue driving. 

Before you can install the IID, you need to file an SR22 form, which proves that you have a motor vehicle insurance coverage. Also, you need to pay the required fees and complete a DUI program. In California, an ignition interlock device needs to be retained for at least two years.

Restricted License

When you obtain a restricted license after a third DUI offense, you can drive your vehicle to school, work, or to seek medical attention. Like the IID restricted license, you will be required to obtain a form SR22 from your motor vehicle insurer. The California Department of Motor Vehicle requires you to maintain the form SR22 for three years from the date of license reinstatement. 

A restricted license is available for you after eighteen months of license suspension. Also, you need to have completed an alcohol education program of up to thirty months. However, if you are facing a third DUI offense and you refused to submit to chemical tests, you face a three years license revocation. If your license is revoked, you will not be entitled to a restricted license. 

DMV License Suspension Third Offense FAQ

The following are some frequently asked questions on DMV license suspension for the third offense:

  1. How do I contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to Schedule a DMV hearing?

If you want to schedule a DMV hearing after a third offense DUI arrest, you must contact the DMV driver safety branch office. However, it is always wise to let your attorney handle all legal matters in your case.

  1. After my license is suspended, do I need a hearing to obtain a restricted license?

No. You are not required to schedule or attend a hearing or a restricted license issuance. You apply for a restricted license from the Department of Motor Vehicle offices.

  1. What is the Difference between a DMV driver’s license suspension and the suspension following a DUI conviction?

The DMV has authority over your driving privileges and will attempt to suspend your license even before the criminal case is heard. The court imposed DUI suspensions, and revocation will only take place after a conviction in your DUI criminal case.

Find a DUI Defense Lawyer Near Me

Getting arrested for a 3rd driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol within ten years of a previous DUI or wet reckless conviction will attract charges for third DUI offense. Driver’s license suspension is one of the severe penalties that accompany a conviction or this offense. If you or your loved one is battling a driver’s license suspension for a third DUI offense, you would greatly benefit from competent legal representation. If you are in Orange County, CA, we invite you to contact Orange County DUI Defense Lawyer to discuss more details of your case. Contact us today at 714-820-9592 and allow us to guide you through the process.