San Diego DUI Lawyer
Being arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can carry serious consequences.  For drivers with a qualifying prior conviction, or with multiple prior convictions for DUI, the penalties are greatly enhanced and prosecution for repeat DUIs is very aggressive.  In addition to mandatory jail time, harsher fines, longer terms of probation and a longer license suspension, a second or third DUI conviction may involve a probation violation and/or driving on a suspended license charge.  DUI with three qualifying priors may be charged as a felony, even if there is no injury.  If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI and has previously suffered a conviction for DUI or "Wet Reckless" you need a passionate, aggressive and experienced DUI lawyer.  There are many defenses in DUI cases, including Rising BAC, inaccurate testing, medical conditions, mouth alcohol, discrediting field sobriety tests and more.  With the stakes even higher due to the prior conviction, you need an attorney who understands the science and the law, and who has the legal skills necessary to present your defenses and fight for you.  Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Loncar now for a Free Consultation with a San Diego DUI Lawyer.  888-200-9454.

Generally, there is a 10 year loopback period on prior DUI convictions.  That is, a prior DUI conviction will be prior able for a period of 10 years after the date of arrest.  DUI priors outside of that period do not officially count as a DUI prior, but may still affect sentencing.  All California convictions for DUI or "Wet Reckless (VC 23103, per VC 23103.5) will qualify as prior DUIs for charging and sentencing purposes on a new DUI offense.  Additionally, most out of state convictions for DUI will also qualify as DUI priors in your California DUI with a prior case.  Prosecutors rarely miss a DUI prior, but your attorney may be able to disqualify a prior conviction to decrease the possible penalties you face.

A DUI defendant with one qualifying prior faces a statutory minimum of 90 days in county jail, fines in excess of $2000, four to five years of probation, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, longer DUI education classes, and two separate one year California driver's license suspension.  In addition to facing harsher punishments in court and a longer suspension with the DMV, a second DUI offense will likely have serious consequences for professional licenses, including nursing, contractor, real estate, law, medical and more.  The possible suspension after a second DUI is up to two years.  Moreover, restoring your driving privilege may require an 18 month DUI education class.  Unlike a first DUI conviction, getting a restricted license after a second DUI conviction requires at least three months of a no driving, or "hard" suspension.  If you or a loved one has been charged with a second DUI in San Diego, our office can help.  If you can avoid a DUI conviction (whether at trial, with a motion to suppress evidence, a Serna motion, or a reduction to "wet reckless") you will not face the harsh penalties associated with a second DUI conviction.  Call our office to see how we can help you keep your license and stay out of jail.

A DUI with two prior convictions is treated very seriously.  Still a misdemeanor, a third DUI conviction within 10 years comes with very harsh consequences, including a statutory minimum 120 days in county jail, a two year driver's license suspension, five years of probation, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device and participation in an 18 or 30 month alcohol education class.  Additionally, there is a full one year hard suspension period, where a driver cannot even get a restricted license.  A third DUI within 10 years signifies to the court, the prosecution and the DMV that the defendant has a serious alcohol problem, and has not responded to prior punishments and education.  As such, third DUI is aggressively prosecuted and the prosecution will tend to seek the highest punishments they can get.  It is extremely important that you have an attorney who understands the science and law behind your defenses, and can be a powerful negotiator on your behalf.  

A Fourth DUI conviction within 10 year will likely be treated as a felony in San Diego County.  Unlike misdemeanor DUI, felony DUI carries time in California State Prison.  The sentencing range on a Fourth DUI is from 16 months to three years in California State Prison.  The license suspension for a fourth DUI is 4 years.  DUI may be charged as a felony even without a prior if there is serious injury or death.  Additionally, drivers with a prior felony DUI (DUI causing injury, fourth within 10 years, or DUI manslaughter) are subject to a felony charge for any future DUI offense.  The legislature figures that if someone's first DUI leads to serious injury or death, any future DUI is worthy of greater punishment because the driver knows first-hand how dangerous drunk driving can be.  Those charged with felony DUI really need the most intensive criminal defense, that takes into account every possible angle of defending the charge.  From motions to suppress evidence and motions to exclude prior convictions, to thorough preparation for trial and a strong grasp of the science and law behind DUI testing and impairment.  For cases involving accidents, having an attorney with experience in accident reconstruction is a huge plus.  Our firm has handled serious felony DUI and DUI homicide cases.  If you are charged with a felony DUI, you need an attorney who will fight your case from every angle and work hard to get you the best possible outcome, whether it is a dismissal, trial win or negotiation to a more favorable outcome.  Call a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney now for a free consultation.  888-200-9454.

Since repeat DUIs often carry mandatory jail time, there might be alternatives to serving the time in County Jail.  Consult with a San Diego DUI Lawyer who can help you navigate your way to serving any jail time in rehab, electronic monitoring, private jail or a work program instead of county jail.  Getting this outcome is not automatic and requires an understanding of the process as well as strong negotiation on your behalf to get the judge and prosecutor on board.

Jared is 35 year old contractor who lives in Mission Valley.  Several years ago, Jared was arrested for DUI in New Jersey while visiting family over the holidays.  He went to court in New Jersey and plead guilty.  He was ordered to pay a fine and attend an alcohol education class, but was not sentenced to jail time.  Jared also recently suffered a work-related back injury and has been prescribed Percocet, a prescription painkiller.

One day on his way home from work, Jared is involved in a motor vehicle accident.  He and another driver were both moving into the same lane when they collided.  San Diego Police arrived on the scene and noticed that Jared had poor balance.  The officers asked Jared if he was on any medication and he told them what he was given by his doctor.  The officer asked Jared to perform a series of field sobriety testing his balance and concentration.  The officer determined that Jared was under the influence of a drug and arrested him for a violation of 23152(e), driving under the influence of drugs.  Due to the out of state prior, his DUI case is being charged as a second DUI in San Diego County Superior Court's Central Courthouse in Downtown San Diego.  Jared faces mandatory jail time, a one year license suspension and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.  He hires a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney to assist with his defense.

Jared's lawyer first examines the law in New Jersey, and finds that first DUI is not a criminal offense in New Jersey as it is in California.  It is treated as a serious traffic ticket there, and defendants are not entitled to a jury trial or representation by appointed counsel.  Accordingly, due to the lack of due process with the prior case, the conviction cannot be used against Jared.  Next, Jared's attorney examines the police report, requests video footage from the arresting officer's agency and starts to poke holes in the evidence against his client.  In court, Jared is offered a plea deal for wet reckless, no jail time and no license suspension.  Now he can choose to take that option or to fight his case at trial.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in San Diego, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Point Loma, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, Mission Valley, El Cajon, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, Vista, Oceanside or anywhere else in San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, Imperial County or Los Angeles County, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Loncar now for a Free Consultation.  We can go through your case in detail, evaluating the strength of the case against you, your defenses and the possible and probable outcomes in your DUI case.





Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
By Nicholas Loncar



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