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Fourth Offense Within 10 Years

4th Offense DUI Within 10 years

In California, an individual can be charged with a felony DUI if they are arrested for a DUI and have three prior DUI or reduced alcohol related driving convictions, such as a Wet Reckless.

The Law

California Vehicle Code section 23550 states:

  1. If a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 and the offense occurred within 10 years of three or more separate violations of Section 23103, as specified in Section 23103.5, or Section 23152 or 23153, or any combination thereof, that resulted in convictions, that person shall by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, or in a county jail for not less than 180 days nor more than one year, and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). The person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to paragraph (7) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver’s license to the court in accordance with Section 13550.
  2. A person convicted of a violation of Section 23152 punishable under this section shall be designated as a habitual traffic offender for a period of three years, subsequent to the conviction. The person shall be advised of this designation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 13350.

What Does This Actually Mean?

If you are arrested for DUI within 10 years of three prior DUI or reduced alcohol related driving convictions, then you may be charged with a felony DUI. When you are charged with a felony fourth DUI, the court will enhance the penalties, such as mandatory jail time. You are not actually charged with a separate count for a felony fourth offense DUI. Rather, you will be charged with DUI, i.e. Vehicle Code 23152(a) & (b), and the prosecutor will allege you have three prior DUI or reduced alcohol related driving convictions that occurred within ten years.

What the prosecutor must prove to convict an individual for a felony fourth offense DUI is identical to a first offense misdemeanor DUI, with one exception: the prosecutor must also prove you were actually convicted of three prior DUI or reduced alcohol related offenses. If your priors are in California, then the prosecutor can obtain the abstract of judgment, which can prove the prior so long as it occurred within ten years. But, an experienced DUI Firm can challenge the validity of the prior if your case is handled properly.

Challenging a Prior

Although prior convictions may be valid, there are ways to challenge the priors. For example, courts consider the ten year period to run from the date you were convicted of the prior DUIs to the day you were arrested for the fourth DUI. If the prior DUIs or reduced alcohol related driving convictions are within the ten-year window, then the court may find the priors to be valid. A Firm that specializes in DUI defense may be able to challenge the priors as being outside of the 10 year window.

What if my prior DUIs occurred outside of California? You can still be charged with a felony fourth offense DUI if your prior DUI convictions occurred outside of California, even if the convictions were for reduced alcohol related driving offenses. Nonetheless, a Firm specializing in DUI Defense may be able to challenge the out-of-state priors because many states only require

4th Offense DUI Within 10 years

In California, an individual can be charged with a felony DUI if they are arrested for a DUI and have three prior DUI or reduced alcohol related driving convictions, such as a Wet Reckless.

The Law

California Vehicle Code section 23550 states:

  1. If a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 and the offense occurred within 10 years of three or more separate violations of Section 23103, as specified in Section 23103.5, or Section 23152 or 23153, or any combination thereof, that resulted in convictions, that person shall by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, or in a county jail for not less than 180 days nor more than one year, and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). The person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to paragraph (7) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver’s license to the court in accordance with Section 13550.
  2. A person convicted of a violation of Section 23152 punishable under this section shall be designated as a habitual traffic offender for a period of three years, subsequent to the conviction. The person shall be advised of this designation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 13350.

What Does This Actually Mean?

If you are arrested for DUI within 10 years of three prior DUI or reduced alcohol related driving convictions, then you may be charged with a felony DUI. When you are charged with a felony fourth DUI, the court will enhance the penalties, such as mandatory jail time. You are not actually charged with a separate count for a felony fourth offense DUI. Rather, you will be charged with DUI, i.e. Vehicle Code 23152(a) & (b), and the prosecutor will allege you have three prior DUI or reduced alcohol related driving convictions that occurred within ten years.

What the prosecutor must prove to convict an individual for a felony fourth offense DUI is identical to a first offense misdemeanor DUI, with one exception: the prosecutor must also prove you were actually convicted of three prior DUI or reduced alcohol related offenses. If your priors are in California, then the prosecutor can obtain the abstract of judgment, which can prove the prior so long as it occurred within ten years. But, an experienced DUI Firm can challenge the validity of the prior if your case is handled properly.

Challenging a Prior

Although prior convictions may be valid, there are ways to challenge the priors. For example, courts consider the ten year period to run from the date you were convicted of the prior DUIs to the day you were arrested for the fourth DUI. If the prior DUIs or reduced alcohol related driving convictions are within the ten-year window, then the court may find the priors to be valid. A Firm that specializes in DUI defense may be able to challenge the priors as being outside of the 10 year window.

What if my prior DUIs occurred outside of California? You can still be charged with a felony fourth offense DUI if your prior DUI convictions occurred outside of California, even if the convictions were for reduced alcohol related driving offenses. Nonetheless, a Firm specializing in DUI Defense may be able to challenge the out-of-state priors because many states only require