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New Legislation Would Increase Felonies, Impoundment for Repeat DUIs

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New Legislation Would Increase Felonies, Impoundment for Repeat DUIsThe California State Legislature has proposed a law that would institute harsher penalties for people who have been convicted for driving under the influence multiple times within a 10-year period. The law would create a mandatory felony conviction for certain repeat offenders, instead of giving the courts the option of a misdemeanor conviction. The law would also extend the length of time that a convicted offender’s vehicle could be impounded. If the law passes, these penalties would make DUI defense even more critical for those being charged.

Felony Charges

Under the current law, four or more DUI convictions within 10 years can be a misdemeanor or felony offense. The proposed law states that:

  • Five or more DUI convictions within 10 years would be a felony offense; and
  • For a person previously convicted for a felony DUI, a subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years must be a felony, instead of choosing between a misdemeanor and a felony.

The main difference between a misdemeanor and a felony conviction is the possible jail time. A court cannot sentence a person convicted for misdemeanor DUI for longer than a year in jail. A jail sentence for a felony DUI can be as long as three years. A felony conviction can also affect an offender’s ability to obtain employment, loans, housing, and professional licenses.

Vehicle Impoundment

The new law would also strengthen the courts’ ability to impound a vehicle as part of a DUI conviction. The law currently allows a court to impound a vehicle for one to 30 days for a first conviction. For a second conviction within five years, the impoundment is still one to 30 days. For a third conviction within five years, the maximum number of days of impoundment increases to 90. Under the proposed law:

  • The time in which additional convictions count toward impoundment would increase from five to 10 years;
  • A second conviction within 10 years would result in 30 to 90 days of impoundment; and
  • A third conviction within 10 years would result in 90 to 180 days of impoundment.

Nuisance Law

Courts are allowed to seize a vehicle on the grounds that a repeat DUI offender is a public nuisance, which could allow the vehicle to be sold. Courts are most likely to take this action if a person is convicted for a second or third DUI within seven years after a first DUI that resulted in someone’s death. The new law would allow a court to seize a vehicle as a nuisance after a third DUI conviction within 10 years, even if they were misdemeanor DUI convictions.

Contact a Bay Area DUI Defense Attorney

The penalties for a DUI grow with each subsequent conviction. A San Francisco DUI defense attorney at Burglin Law Offices, P.C., will fight to prevent you from being punished as a repeat offender. Schedule a free consultation by calling 415-729-7300.



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