So, you have been charged with a second DUI. It can be overwhelming to find yourself in this situation, especially if the offense comes less than 10 years from your first offense; if that is the case, bigger penalties can apply, like jail time, fines, and losing your license.
Still, don’t panic. It may not seem like it, but you do have options and the right lawyer can help you find them. What can you do if you have been charged with a second DUI in Pasadena?
Try to get your charges reduced and avoid jail time
For most people, the No. 1 concern with a second DUI is the likelihood of facing jail time. California has some of the toughest DUI laws — and judges don’t have much discretion when it comes to sentencing someone convicted a second time: You will go to jail for a minimum of 4 days and it could be up to a year. However, a good lawyer can help. Depending on the details of your case, your attorney might be able to get your charges knocked down to a lesser offense, like reckless driving, for which the penalty might not include jail. Your attorney might also be able to argue for any jail sentence you do receive to be served under house arrest or in a substance abuse treatment facility.
Review the details of your case for flaws
Make sure you have the right person review your file. An experienced attorney can find the strengths and weaknesses in your case and might be able to help you fight the charges based on information he or she finds. For example, your attorney might be able to determine that the officer who pulled you over didn’t have probable cause; maybe the officer can’t prove in court that he or she suspected a crime was being committed at the time, something he or she needs to be able to do to defend the decision to stop your vehicle. If the officer can’t show probable cause, it could mean some of the evidence against you can be thrown out.
Your attorney might also be able to find flaws with the reliability of the field sobriety test you participated in. Did the officer follow proper procedure, taking into account any medical condition or the condition of the pavement where the sobriety test was conducted. Were there possibly flaws in the accuracy of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level reading? Breathalyzer tests can be proven wrong.
Look for options to reduce your penalties
A second DUI conviction comes with fines that could reach $1,000 or more. Find out if you can have the penalties reduced by performing community service. You will likely lose your license for a year if you’re convicted, but you may be able to apply for a restricted license after a certain period of time if you agree to install an ignition interlock device in any car you drive. (This is a handheld mouthpiece that can measure your alcohol level when you blow into it ; if your BAC is too high, it won’t allow the ignition to start.)
You will likely have to complete a court-ordered DUI program as a penalty but you might want to proactively attend AA meetings or a Mothers Against Drunk Driving course to show the court that you are taking this matter seriously and trying to prevent it from happening again.
Most importantly, hire the right attorney
You don’t have to do any of this alone. An experienced attorney can make all the difference in fighting the charges or arguing for less severe penalties. At the Liskey Law Firm, we are here to help. We know the impact that a second DUI can have on your life and we have other clients in your very situation reduce or eliminate the charges against them. We may be able to help you avoid jail time. Your initial consultation with us is designed to answer your questions about the legal process ahead of you and to come up with a plan that works. Give us a call today. We look forward to working with you.