If you have been arrested in Santa Cruz County for a second offense DUI, you need to understand what you are facing and how to optimize your chances to avoid a one to two-year license suspension and jail time.

A second offense misdemeanor DUI is typically alleged as a violation of Vehicle Code section 23152 (a) and (b) - along with a special allegation that the person suffered a prior DUI conviction. If you have been convicted of a DUI or "wet reckless" before, and the arrest for the prior offense occurred less than 10 years before the new DUI arrest, you are most likely facing a second DUI charge. 

A second offense DUI carries a maximum punishment of a $1,000.00 fine, and twelve months in jail. Second offense misdemeanor DUIs can come with an actual jail sentence. But if there is any custody time imposed, we can usually arrange for the time to be served on house arrest or on a work release program. The fines are also often significantly higher than $1,000.00 once penalty assessments and court fees are added in. 


The "lookback" or "priorability" period in California is ten years.  This means that, if you are arrested for DUI and you have a prior conviction within ten years, the new arrest will be charged as a second DUI.  The lookback date for the first offense is the date on which you were arrested for the prior offense --  not the conviction date. 

For example, assume Ted was arrested on January 15th, 2011 for DUI and convicted of that DUI charge on February 1st, 2011. Ted was then arrested on January 14th, 2021 for DUI.  Ted would be charged with a second offense DUI for the 2021 arrest because the prior arrest occurred within ten years of the new arrest date.  This would also be true if Ted pled guilty to a "wet reckless" in the 2011 case because, under Vehicle Code Section 23103.5, a "wet" counts as a prior offense. 

Under California Vehicle Code 23540, there are increased penalties for a second offense DUI.  This is true regardless of whether the offense is a drug DUI, wet reckless, alcohol DUI, commercial DUI, or under age 21 DUI.


If this is your second DUI in ten years, there are two ways your license may be suspended. First, the DMV will automatically suspend your driving privilege for twelve months starting thirty days after the arrest unless you request a hearing with the DMV within ten days of the date of the arrest. We will do this for you.  The DMV hearing is wholly separate from any court proceedings. Secondly, you can also lose your license if you are convicted of second DUI at court. Upon a conviction for second DUI, the court notifies the DMV of the conviction, and the DMV will impose a 24-month suspension. 


Options for a restricted license changed in 2019.  If you were not on probation for your prior DUI when you got arrested in your new case, there are new options for you to get a restricted license with an Ignition Interlock Device.

If this is your second DUI charge, you are eligible to get back on the road before the suspension period is over. You have two options. (1) If you serve ninety days of the 24-month suspension, enroll in the 18-month DUI class, obtain a SR22, and install an Ignition Interlock Device in any vehicle you own, the DMV will reissue you a non-restricted license. (2) You can sit out one year of the 24-month suspension, and then apply for a restricted license after enrolling in the 18-month class and obtaining a SR22.


Santa Cruz DUI attorney Phillip Crawford has successfully defended hundreds of DUI cases. He wins DUI trials with very high alcohol levels.  He knows all the ins-and-outs of DUI law.  He lectures nationally at DUI seminars and is a former adjunct professor at Monterey College of Law. 

For a 2nd DUI, you may think that you've been through it all before and know what to expect. But, the law may have changed since your first DUI and you need someone on your side who knows DUI law and science. The consequences are more serious for a 2nd DUI. 

You may be able to avoid any criminal conviction after making one phone call to a Santa Cruz DUI defense lawyer who understands the law and science behind drunk driving arrests in California. Santa Cruz Attorney Phillip Crawford has more than ten years of exclusive DUI defense experience and understands how to approach each case for the greatest chance for success. Representing individuals in Santa Cruz County, Phillip Crawford knows the local criminal laws, police officers, and the prosecutors. If you want the best, hire Mr. Crawford because who you hire can make all the difference in your case.  Call us now to arrange a free consultation at 831-204-0773.  Or, you can schedule a time to speak with him here: Speak with Phillip Crawford