Third-Time DUI Offense Orange County

A third-time DUI charge makes it unlikely that the Orange County courts or the DMV will have much sympathy for you. 

The possible punishments for a conviction are severe, especially if aggravating factors are present. Regardless, you will face mandatory jail time of at least four months.

If you are charged with a third-time DUI, you already have a criminal record and understand how badly that can affect you. A third DUI conviction certainly will not help your short- or long-term prospects with employment, housing, education, and more.

At The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, we believe that even if the evidence against you seems overwhelming, you have a chance of escaping the most serious consequences with our experienced Orange County DUI lawyers. 

We are ready to defend you or a loved one against a third-time DUI charge.

Understanding your third-time DUI offense

In California, the “look back” period for alcohol-related offenses such as DUIs and other operating a vehicle while intoxicated offenses is 10 years. This includes out-of-state DUI convictions.

This means that even if your first DUI offense was just under ten years ago, the two subsequent offenses will be considered “priors” and will lead to harsher punishments.

What prosecutors must prove to convict you

To achieve a conviction, the prosecution must prove that you were operating a vehicle (i.e., you were behind the wheel even if it was not moving) and that you were under the influence of alcohol or a drug OR at 0.08% or more blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of driving.

The second and third elements are where the prosecution can experience problems—especially if you are represented by a capable DUI defense attorney.

The prosecution will be reliant upon evidence collected by law enforcement, such as field sobriety tests (which measure levels of impairment) as well as observed signs of impairment (such as slurred speech, red eyes, and the odor of alcohol). Blood alcohol content percentage test results will also be used as evidence against you.

2nd Offense DUI in Orange County


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During the consultation, we will help you understand your rights and the charges against you.

How long do you lose your license?

Separate from criminal proceedings for a third-time DUI offense, you will face administrative penalties with the DMV.

If you are charged with a third-time DUI, you can potentially lose your license for three years (which is considered a revocation rather than suspension). 

A court conviction will also mean a three-year license revocation (which could run concurrent to the administrative revocation imposed by DMV). However, in some circumstances, you may be able to apply for a restricted license after 18 months of revocation provided you meet certain eligibility criteria.

What are the other penalties for a third-time DUI offense?

A third-time DUI in Orange County is usually treated as a misdemeanor, unlike a fourth offense which may be charged as a felony. 

In addition to the license revocation detailed above, a third-time DUI conviction within the last 10 years is punishable by the following:

  • A mandatory minimum of 120 days in Orange County jail (up to one year)
  • A fine of $390-$1,000 plus penalty assessments (and court fees)
  • 18-month DUI school
  • 3-5 years of summary probation

You can expect the prosecutor to push for more than the statutory minimum jail time for a third-time DUI. On average, prosecutors in Orange County offer a sentence of  240 days in jail. However, there are other factors that could lead to sentencing enhancements, including:

  • Speeding or driving recklessly while DUI
  • An excessive BAC percentage (i.e. 0.15% or above)
  • The presence of anyone under 14 in the vehicle
  • Causing an accident, injury, death, or damage to property
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical breath or blood test
  • Recent priors or if one is on probation

You may also need to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle or contribute to California’s Victim Restitution Fund.

Ultimately, the judge has some discretion with sentencing except for the mandatory minimum jail sentence and fines.

With a highly-skilled DUI attorney defending you, we may be able to enter into a plea bargain for a mitigated sentence. A lesser charge is also a possibility but becomes less likely for a third DUI offense, especially if there are aggravating factors.

Defenses for a third-time DUI offense

A strong defense to a third-time DUI can help you get the charges dismissed, acquitted at trial, or lesser consequences at sentencing. A DUI defense lawyer from The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian will prepare a defense that will provide the best possible chance of mitigating the consequences for your future.

Some common defenses include:

Violation of your rights

When you are arrested, you are entitled to certain rights, including having your Miranda rights read to you by the arresting officer. 

If this was not done, as does happen in some cases, anything you say after your arrest may not be admissible against you in court.

Incorrect testing procedures 

The heart of the prosecution’s argument is usually the BAC test results that purport to show an excessive blood alcohol level.

Very clear rules govern how these tests must be administered (known as Title 17), how the samples must be processed, and how equipment must be maintained. If these rules are not followed, your DUI attorney may be able to challenge the reliability of the test in your defense.

The vehicle was not moving

A driver can be convicted of DUI even if his/her car was technically “parked”, provided the prosecutor can successfully argue you voluntarily caused the car to move (even a few inches) before the arrest.

Sleeping in the driver’s seat of a stationary car or occupying the driver’s seat when the engine is cold should not lead to a DUI conviction in California.

Lack of probable cause

If you were obeying all the rules of the road and the police had no valid reason for stopping your vehicle, this may be used in your defense. 

You have a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable detentions, searches, and seizures performed by the Government. Law enforcement must make a showing to the judge that there was “reasonable suspicion” of a law violation prior to the stop and that there was “probable cause” to believe a crime was committed prior to an arrest. If this cannot be proven,  any evidence against you may be excluded from your case.

A medical condition caused a “false positive”

If you have a medical condition, it may alter your behavior behind the wheel (to make it seem as though you were under the influence of alcohol or a drug). Additionally, some medical conditions can even skew the breathalyzer test results such as in the case of conditions like hypoglycemia and diabetes.

If this is the case, your BAC results may be found to be inaccurate. If this can be established by your DUI defense attorney,  the prosecution’s case could be severely impacted which may lead to a dismissal of the charges against you.

Rising blood alcohol

If you were arrested on suspicion of DUI soon after consuming alcohol, your BAC level may have been higher at the time of the test than when you were driving.  This is known as a “rising blood alcohol” defense.

In some cases, our experienced DUI defense attorneys may be able to use this defense to show that the test did not accurately measure your BAC level while you were operating the vehicle.

Been charged with a third-time DUI offense in Orange County? 

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a third-time DUI in Orange County, call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian today or start with an online consultation now.

We have offices in Santa Ana, Westminster, Newport Beach and Fullerton to serve clients with matters heard at the Central, West, Harbor, and North Justice Centers, respectively, for all of Orange County.  The lawyers at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian are here to help!  Book an online consultation to get started today.
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