the State Bar of California
the San Diego Union-Tribune
The Press-Enterprise

Fourth-Time Driving Under the Influence

If you have suffered three prior convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or any “wet reckless” convictions in the past ten-year period and are arrested for a fourth driving under the influence case within that same ten-year window, the law states that the prosecution may elect to file that fourth driving under the influence case as a felony. However, prior driving under the influence arrests that did not lead to criminal convictions will not count as “priorable” offenses against you for purposes of establishing this crime.

Fourth-time driving under the influence cases are extremely serious, especially when filed as felonies. The maximum possible custody sentence for a fourth time driving under the influence conviction as a felony is three years in the county jail, pursuant to Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (h). If the prosecution elects to file the fourth driving under the influence case as a misdemeanor and you are convicted, you will be sentenced to a minimum of 180 days in county jail, but not to exceed one year in county jail.

In these instances, the Department of Motor Vehicles will typically “revoke” a person’s driver’s license for a period of four years upon a fourth conviction for driving under the influence within a ten-year time period. Make no mistake about it – a license “revocation” is much more serious than the license “suspension” you might have experienced in a prior driving under the influence situation. With a revocation, you will lose your driver’s license altogether for four years! And unlike previous driving under the influence cases, you will not be eligible to obtain a “restricted” license to get to and from your place of employment or anywhere else you need to go in life. In some instances, a fourth-time driving under the influence offender may be deemed a “habitual traffic offender” in which case, an additional period of suspension may be imposed.

Almost all fourth-time driving under the influence cases will be resolved in a manner that includes some type of addiction-related treatment and/or therapy. In many cases, fourth-time driving under the influence offenders have accepted that they have an issue with alcohol and are ready and willing to seek out and follow through with treatment. However, not everyone in the same situation may be so readily agreeable, for a variety of reasons. Whatever the situation is, it is important to note that the court can order treatment anyway. When a person facing charges such as these takes the initiative to voluntarily enroll in a treatment program prior to a judge ordering them to do so, it shows courage, strength and demonstrates a willingness to make positive changes. It also gives a person more control over the type of treatment that they believe could be the most beneficial at addressing their individual issues.

If you have already been charged or anticipate being charged with a fourth-time DUI in the Murrieta area, contact your Murrieta DUI lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free, confidential case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.

Client Reviews
"This has been the first time in my life that I was ever in need of legal representation. Julie took my worries and was able to make me feel at ease with the process, knowing what to expect, and potential outcomes. She handled my legal matter with confidence, charisma, and tenacity. She is both highly driven, and a skillful negotiator. She took what would otherwise be an incredibly stressful experience, and made it palatable. Thank you, Julie Baldwin." R.
"In May of 2021, I was arrested for a domestic related crime and immediately contacted criminal defense attorney, Julie Baldwin, for help. Julie reviewed every aspect of my case and developed an aggressive defense strategy. Her years of experience as a deputy district attorney and assertiveness gave me confidence in facing my charge which was ultimately dismissed by the district attorney's office. I highly recommend Julie Baldwin to anyone facing criminal charges and in need of legal assistance." WC
"I was in a bad place when I contacted Julie to be my defense attorney. I had 4 felony charges on me because of what my ex-wife did. I had legal issues in the military and was going through a divorce. All at the same time. Julie was so positive and uplifting. Julie was extremely proactive with the steps she recommended I take to prepare for court. She was very involved with all aspects of my life. Julie was concerned with more than just my court case. Her first-hand knowledge of the legal system was top notch and very comforting..." ATI