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Even Repeat DUIs are Typically Prosecuted as Misdemeanors in California

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 13, 2010 | 0 Comments

Under California DUI laws, driving under the influence cases what are known as “priorable offenses”. This means that every subsequent conviction increases your minimum sentence. Yet even as a priorable offense, most DUIs are typically prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses.

Your first, second, or third drunk driving conviction within a ten-year period will still be punished as a misdemeanor. And if you suffer any subsequent DUI convictions beyond the ten-year period, the sequence begins anew. This means that you can accumulate quite a few DUI convictions before the offense is charged as a felony…that is, unless you serious injure or kill another person as a result of your intoxication.

First-time California misdemeanor driving under the influence offenders are punished by a maximum six-month jail sentence, but generally do not spend any time in jail. Second-time misdemeanor DUI offenders face a minimum 96 hours in jail and a maximum one-year sentence. Third-time misdemeanor DUI offenders face a minimum jail sentence of 120 days to a maximum sentence of one year. Learn more in our article, "Can a DUI conviction be removed in California?"

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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