A 2nd DUI offense in California carries a mandatory minimum 90 days of jail time. The California legislature enacted Vehicle Code 23540, that specifies this mandatory minimum jail term as a way to deter and punish 2nd DUI offenders. This is a harsh punishment that many people facing 2nd DUI charges understandably want to avoid. There are three main ways people avoid 2nd DUI jail time:
-Accepting probation that drastically lowers the jail time they face
-Beating the case successfully at trial or through pre-trial motions
-Arranging alternatives to jail, such as house arrest, live-in alcohol treatment or other similar arrangements
Avoid 2nd DUI Jail time with probation that lowers the mandatory minimum jail term:
Probation is court ordered punishment and supervision that is used in lieu of jail-time. During a probation period, the person cannot commit any crimes and has to meet certain court requirements (common requirements are to pay all fines and victim restitution, comply with all laws, and a prohibition from driving a car with any measurable alcohol in their system.) In California, the mandatory minimum jail time can be reduced to 96 hours (basically 4 days) if the defendant meets all of the requirements of the statute allowing probation in 2nd DUI cases.
Not everybody qualifies for 2nd DUI probation, and not every judge or prosecutor will agree to probation. A DUI lawyer that is familiar with California probation law is a must for people facing 2nd DUI jail time to have a fighting chance for getting probation in lieu of a harsh jail term.
Avoid 2nd DUI jail by beating the case at trial or through pre-trial motions:
A 2nd DUI is just like a 1st DUI: it can be beaten any number of ways at trial or through a pre-trial motion. In most 2nd DUI cases, the prosecution has to prove the driver was
-Driving on a public roadway
-The driver was too impaired to safely operate the vehicle
-The driver had a blood alcohol level above 0.08 at the time of driving
The “N0-Drive” defense:
When a 2nd DUI case involves a situation where police do not directly witness the driver behind the wheel actually driving the car, a “no-drive” defense may beat the case. A favorite amongst DUI lawyers, the “no-drive” defense, like its name implies, attacks the prosecution case with respect to the critical issue of whether the defendant was driving the car. Most cases are straight forward: the police stop the driver for various minor traffic offenses and directly observe the driver driving the car. In those cases, the “no-drive” defense isn’t available. Other cases, however, involve police approaching a parked car, or one at an accident scene- and they do not observe who was driving the car. A common example goes like this: two people are in a car that is accidentally driven up on a curb. They get out and inspect the damage to the car’s wheels. Police drive up to the scene and see the two people walking outside of the car. Police arrest one of the people (perhaps because the car is registered to that person) and charge him with DUI. If the driver does not make a confession that he was driving the car, a “n0-drive” defense might work in undermining the prosecution’s case.
Other Defenses for 2nd DUI cases
Other common defenses include: “Rising blood alcohol level” defense, challenges to police probable cause, challenges to the accuracy of the chemical test used to measure the driver’s blood alcohol level and challenges to the accuracy and validity of the Field Sobriety Tests. Learn more about most common DUI defenses here.
Avoid 2nd DUI jail time with alternative sentences:
California law recognizes the fact that many 2nd DUI offenders would be better helped with alcohol treatment or monitoring to help them with addiction or substance abuse problems. In many cases, house arrest, alcohol monitoring, or alcohol treatment are alternatives that a DUI lawyer can arrange with the judge and prosecutor. Learn more about how to avoid 2nd DUI jail time here. Not all judges in all counties will agree to jail alternatives, so it is important to speak with a DUI lawyer familiar with the various courts and prosecutors that deal with these cases.