California always treats driving under the influence (DUI) as a serious offense. The penalties for this offense grow more severe with each conviction — this is especially true if you have four or more DUI convictions. What happens after you get a fourth DUI in California?
You may be charged with a felony if you have four DUIs in California. The courts could fine you, send you to prison, or order you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. You may also be considered a habitual traffic offender (HTO). Learn more about all of these consequences right here.
A Fourth DUI Is a Felony Offense in California
The court treats many DUIs as misdemeanors. However, you may face felony charges for a DUI in some circumstances. Drivers who cause an injury may be charged with a felony DUI. Drivers who have three previous DUI convictions also face felony charges.
Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors. You may face higher fines after a felony conviction. Additionally, you could be sent to prison instead of jail after a felony conviction. A felony DUI conviction could lead to three years of prison time.
Finally, a conviction for a felony does mean you will be considered a felon in California. There are multiple restrictions on convicted felons. For example, you may have restrictions on your ability to purchase or own firearms if you are a felon.
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IID Installation for a Fourth DUI in California
California recently adopted a statewide IID program. This program requires drivers to install an IID after most DUI convictions. An IID is a personal breathalyzer. You must use it each time you wish to operate your vehicle. It measures your blood alcohol content (BAC). The IID prevents your vehicle from starting if your BAC is too high.
You may need to use an IID for three years for a fourth DUI in California. Some drivers refuse to install an IID. In this situation, the DMV could suspend your license for up to four years. You are not legally allowed to drive at all with a suspended license in California.
You Could Be Classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender
California designates some drivers as habitual traffic offenders (HTOs). You may be classified as an HTO if you have four DUI convictions on your record. Many drivers are unsure about what this means. Generally, designation as an HTO means you face additional penalties for all further traffic violations. You may have the following penalties added to your sentence:
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Jail time of up to 180 days
These penalties are added to the repercussions you would face for a traffic violation, rather than replace them. They make any subsequent conviction in California more severe. You may want to get legal help on your side if you are accused of being an HTO.
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Your Legal Options After a Fourth DUI in California
The penalties for a fourth DUI conviction in California are very harsh. Get help standing up to a DUI charge by contacting a legal team right away. A lawyer could be able to review your case to work on your defense. Your lawyer may work to show that:
- A law enforcement officer stopped you without due cause.
- You were not operating a vehicle with an elevated BAC.
- Your BAC tests returned inaccurate results.
A lawyer could work to get your charges reduced after a fourth DUI arrest. However, prosecutors may not want to offer a plea bargain for a fourth DUI. Allow a lawyer to work to bring you reduced charges here in California.
Your lawyer may also represent you in court after a fourth DUI arrest. Your lawyer may work to demonstrate that you were not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs — this could result in a verdict in your favor. Discuss all your options for resolving a fourth DUI in California by contacting a DUI lawyer right now.
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Speak to a Lawyer About a Fourth DUI
What happens after a fourth DUI in California? The prosecutor may charge you with a felony. The courts could fine you, sentence you to a lengthy amount of time in prison, or force you to install an IID. Finally, the court could classify you as a habitual traffic offender. Get help handling all of these issues by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. You may also fill out our online contact form.
We may provide you with a free consultation about your legal options now.