Recently on our legal forum a driver asked, “I went out last night and drank too much. I thought I was under the legal limit, but I was stopped and had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%. I got my first DUI five years ago. I live in California. I am wondering what I need to know about California’s look back period and if this will be considered my first or second DUI?”
Look back period and how it affects your DUI penalties
One of the main issues states contend with is repeat offenders. With this in mind, they have created look back periods which determine the length of time in which an offense will remain on a driver’s license. If your second or third DUI offense occurs within the look back period for your state the courts are required to assess enhanced penalties.
The enhanced penalties are meant to serve as a deterrent for DUI offenders who are considered high risk to commit future DUI offenses, thus reducing the risk of injury or death to other drivers and passengers.
DUI look back period for California drivers
It is illegal in the State of California to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher or to drive with any amount of alcohol in your blood if you are not safely able to operate your vehicle.
If you were arrested last night and you took a chemical test the police may have sufficient evidence to charge you with DUI. Not only will they have the test, but they also have the testimony of the police officer and whatever evidence he collected, evidence from other witnesses, other physical evidence, and potentially any testimony or information you gave to the officer at the time of your arrest.
Now, you mentioned you live in the State of California. California has a 10 year look back period. Because your previous DUI arrest was less than ten years ago and well within the state’s look back period, this will be considered your second DUI arrest and could lead to a second DUI conviction.
What penalties can you expect for a second California DUI?
The first step if you have been arrested for a second California DUI is to contact a DUI lawyer. Although many drivers may decide to simply plead guilty, it’s generally best to consult with a lawyer to find out if you have any other legal options.
Fines and penalties for second California DUI
So what happens if you are convicted for a second DUI in California? You can expect the following penalties and fines:
Second DUI offense: (Misdemeanor)
- Potential jail term of 90 days to 364 days
- Fines ranging from $390 to $2,000
- Drivers license revocation for up to 2 years
- Possible probation
- Completion of alcohol abuse court referral program prior to license reinstatement
- Required to obtain an SR-22 insurance
Unfortunately, you can be charged with a second DUI after your current arrest. Talk to a lawyer and get the legal help you need. As you can see from the information above, you could be facing serious fines and penalties.
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