Third Time DUI Offense In Los Angeles, California

If you have two prior DUI or DWI convictions within a 10 year period (time is measured from date of incident to date of incident), and you are then arrested of a third DUI within that same ten year period, you will be charged with a third DUI.  The penalties that a person faces can be devastating.  However, if you are not convicted of the DUI, or if the charge is reduced to a lesser offense, these harsh penalties can be avoided.  Having an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney knowledgeable about California DUI law and familiar with the local prosecutors and judges can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.  While not every case can be won in trial or dismissed, often times a good lawyer can find holes in the prosecutor’s case, or legal arguments that can be used to obtain a successful result.

The Minimum and Maximum Penalties for a Third DUI Conviction in Los Angeles, California

Assuming no injuries or death, a third offense DUI conviction starts with a minimum mandatory 120 days in county jail, a fine of at least $390 (plus penalties and assessments), a revocation of your privilege to drive for three years (or 6 months if you are in a county like Los Angeles which requires a driver install an interlock device on their vehicle), and a 18 month or 30 month multi offender DUI program/ class.

The maximum penalty for a third (non-injury) DUI conviction in California includes up to one year in jail, a three (3) to ten (10) year license revocation, five (5) years of probation, a 90 day impound of your vehicle, MADD, HAM (Hospital and Morgue class), and a fine of $1000 plus penalties and assessments.  See California Vehicle Code Section 13352(5)(a).  And California Vehicle Code Section 23546.

Once a person is convicted of a 4th DUI within 10 years (from date of arrest to date of arrest), the mandatory minimum jail starts at 180 days, or 16 months, 2 years or three years in prison (which would be served on Los Angeles County Jail).

Issues regarding the manner in which a driver was initially detained, the reliability of the breath testing machine or blood test result, and the way an officer administered and evaluated the Field Sobriety Tests, are all factors that need to be evaluated to determine the strength of any possible defenses.  For example, if the officer did not have probable cause to stop the driver, then a DUI attorney can file and argue a motion to suppress the evidence under Penal Code Section 1538.5 to have all the evidence discovered after the initial detention suppressed.  If the judge grants the motion, this usually results in a full dismissal of the charges. There are also issues concerning how an individual driver’s body absorbed the alcohol he or she consumed and how that may affect a determination by a jury or the DMV as to what the driver’s blood alcohol level was at the time of driving, as opposed to the time of the chemical test.


While there is a mandatory 120 days jail sentence that must be imposed upon a 3rd time DUI conviction, a knowledgeable DUI attorney will know of ways around this.  Home detention electronic monitoring (i.e., an ankle bracelet) can often times be approved, which allows the accused to still work and not actually go to jail.  The 120 days of jail custody can be served in your home and at work! Using the services of SCRAM is often-times a way to avoid a difficult judge from insisting on setting a high bail and taking the accused into custody on the arraignment date (first court appearance).  Hiring an attorney who knows about the alternatives to jail will help to protect your job, your family life and your freedom.

DUI Defense Attorney Ann Gottesman Provides Compassionate and Experienced Representation To Those Charged With a Third DUI Offense.

 “There are a lot of legal and technical issues that arise in a DUI defense and having a caring, knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorney will help you in getting the best possible results in your case.  You do not (and should not!) go through this alone.  If you have been arrested for a DUI or a second or third offense DUI or DWI, call me for a free consultation.   I will listen to you and give you an honest assessment of your case.”