The laws surrounding charges for driving under the influence (DUI) can become complicated, especially if your DUIs occurred in different states. For example, if you have a DUI in one state and get a DUI in California, you may be unsure if it counts as a second offense or a first offense.
California prosecutes subsequent DUI offenses more harshly than a first conviction. Learn more about how your DUI will be prosecuted right here with the Simmrin Law Group. You can also consider some legal defenses for first or second DUI accusations in the state of California.
California Can Get Records About Past DUIs
It is important that you understand that a DUI from another state will likely count against you in the California court system. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) likely found out about your DUI when you applied for a California driver’s license.
California – along with most other states in the U.S. – is part of the Driver License Compact (DLC). The DLC facilitates the sharing of driving records between member states. Only Wisconsin, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, and Massachusetts are not members of the DLC.
However, even non-member states will share facts about your driving record with the DMV and prosecutors if you are arrested for a new DUI.
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Out-of-State DUI Charges Count Against You
An out-of-state DUI conviction can be treated as a first-time offense in California if:
- The conviction occurred within 10 years of your current charge
- The other state’s DUI laws are similar to California’s laws
- The offense was described as a DUI offense
This means that many out-of-state DUI charges will be held against you. However, a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to dispute prior DUI charges in some situations. For example, if your out-of-state charges do not match California’s DUI laws, they may not be counted as a first offense.
First DUI Conviction vs. Subsequent DUI Convictions
DUI charges are not always prosecuted in the same way in California. In fact, each time you are convicted of a DUI in the state, the penalties you face increase. Let’s go over some of the common penalties for a first or second offense right now:
First DUI Offense in California
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Jail time of up to six months
- License suspension of up to one year
Second DUI Offense in California
- Fines of up to $2,500
- Jail time of up to one year
- License suspension of up to two years
As you can see, the differences between these charges is substantial. For this reason, it is very important that you find out if your charges will be treated as a first or second offense.
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Disputing Out-of-State DUI Charges
We mentioned that out-of-state DUI charges may be disputed in some situations. If your previous DUI offense occurred more than 10 years ago, it should not count against you. This applies even to DUI charges you faced in the state of California.
Additionally, if you were convicted under a law that does not match up to California’s legal codes, an out-of-state offense may not be used against you. A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can investigate your past and current DUI charges to build a strong defense for you.
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Defenses for Your Current DUI Charges
Sometimes a prior DUI charge cannot be mitigated. However, this does not mean you have to accept the DUI accusations you are currently facing. A professional DUI lawyer can work to construct a strong defense for you right now.
The team at the Simmrin Law Group could be able to demonstrate that:
- You were stopped without reasonable cause
- You were not operating a vehicle while inebriated
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was reported inaccurately by test results
Depending upon your situation, we could be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Our team is also prepared to stand up for you in court, so reach out to us today for the professional assistance you deserve.
Get Help from a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
All DUI charges in California can be prosecuted very harshly. Your can face increased penalties if you have a prior DUI in another state. This may allow the court system to treat a DUI in California as a second offense.
The DUI lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group can defend you in this situation. Allow us to go over your situation today with a FREE initial case evaluation. Reach us by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688. We are ready to handle all aspects of your case right now.