Why is Jail Time MANDATORY for 2nd DUI cases in California?
Jail time for 2nd DUI cases in California is mandatory: Under CVC 23540, a 2nd DUI will result in jail time of no less than 90 days, and no more than one year per count. Why does California law do this? The main reason is to reduce the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities on California roads.
How much jail time is given for 2nd DUI drivers in California?
The minimum is 90 days, per charge the 2nd DUI driver faces. The maximum is 1 year per charge, in misdemeanor cases. In most DUI cases, there are two counts: violations of CVC 23152(a) and CVC 23152(b). This means a person who is charged with these two counts can receive up to 1 year per each count: possibly spending 2 years in a county jail.
The law is harsh for 2nd DUI cases, but there are ways to avoid or dramatically reduce the jail time served.
Probation: Lowering the amount of jail time to 96 hours (4 days)
Probation is one way that a 2nd DUI offender can have their jail time reduced. In California, a provision in the Vehicle Code allows a judge to reduce the actual jail time served to no less than 96 hours. In cases where the judge grants probation, the judge will sentence the driver to a term that is more than the minimum 90 days and the judge will suspend the sentence. When a sentence is suspended, the sentence is not actually carried out- rather the sentence is put on hold to allow the driver to successfully complete probation.
If the driver successfully completes probation, the suspended sentence will be vacated.
If the driver fails or violates probation, the driver will have the suspended sentence “fall down” on them, and they will wind up serving the full sentence or another appropriate amount of jail time as determined by the judge.
Electronic Monitoring: Serving the time at home.
For drivers who qualify, electronic monitoring is one way to avoid serving a long jail sentence. Electronic monitoring is not automatically granted: the judge will have to approve electronic monitoring and may have to grant it over an objection by the prosecution.