Multiple DUI Convictions Can Lead to Prison Time

jail cellThe penalties for multiple DUI convictions (driving under the influence) in California can be severe, and can include probation, fines, and even jail. California law considers DUI a “priorable” offense. This means the penalties can become substantially more severe if you have prior DUI convictions on your record during a certain period of time, referred to as the “lookback” period. In California, the DUI lookback period is ten years; therefore, your consequences will increase with each subsequent DUI conviction you receive within a ten year period.

California DUI sentences may increase as follows:

Imprisonment Fine License Suspension
1st DUI Up to six months $390 to $1,000 Six to ten months
2nd DUI in ten years 96 hours to one year $390 to $1,000 Two years
3rd DUI in ten years 120 days to one year $390 to $1000 Three years
4th or more in ten years Up to three years Up to $3,000 Four years

 A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction in ten years can be charged as a felony. A felony conviction on your record can affect job opportunities and much more.

Multiple DUI Offender Sentenced to State Prison

In June of 2014, an officer for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) spotted a man standing outside of his car, which was blocking the road. According to CHP, 55 year-old Charles Livingstone Cole had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Cole was arrested and charged with DUI by the Sonoma County District Attorney. He pleaded no contest to the charge.

This was Cole’s third DUI conviction in the past ten years. Cole had six prior DUI convictions on his criminal record that were outside the lookback period. This made for a total of nine DUI convictions since 1980, some of which had already landed him in prison. A judge for the Sonoma County Superior Court recently sentenced Cole to four years in California state prison, and revoked his driving privileges for ten years.

The maximum prison sentence for multiple DUI convictions within the look-back period is three years. Why then did Cole receive a four year sentence? Though the state law only considers convictions within ten years for statutory sentencing purposes, a DA or judge may use multiple DUI convictions outside the lookback period to argue for a harsher sentence.

The best way to avoid facing the consequences of multiple DUI convictions is to never drive under the influence in the first place. At the office of Beck Law, P.C., we understand the importance of keeping even one DUI conviction off your criminal record, and will argue to dismiss your case or to get the charge reduced. If you were arrested for DUI, call our office today to discuss your case.


The information on this website should not be considered to be legal advice, nor construed to be the formation of any manner of attorney client relationship. Prior to taking any form of legal action, please consult with an attorney experienced in the appropriate area of law germane to your situation. Case results and any blogs, reviews, news or testimonials presented on or any of its related websites are germane to the facts present for each individual case and is not a promise of similar outcomes for any other cases. This website is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of California. by Attorney Daniel B. Beck