Should I hire a lawyer because I got my second DUI in California? 17 Answers as of February 29, 2012

I got my first DUI in another state about 9 years ago, and I was just charged with one in California on Tuesday. Will this count as my second DUI if it is my first one here? I did not have a lawyer represent me last time, but I think I may need one for this.

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Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
Hiring an attorney is a good idea. Your out-of-state prior conviction needs to be researched. If you qualify for the Public Defender, they might do the research for you, but you should expect more attention from and to be able to receive a call back from a private Attorney much more readily and reliably than from a Deputy Public Defender, who are very, very overworked and busy. You want an experienced DUI attorney, who does not just chip away at a few DUI cases for extra money.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/2/2011
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Out of state convictions can be used as priors DUI in California. However, if the DA does not find them then you might be lucky. DMV likely will and suspend your license accordingly. They can be challenged as any DUI prior can both in court and with the DMV.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/1/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
The cost issue aside, whenever you are charged with a misdemeanor offense it is best to have a lawyer. This is especially true with DUI's or any offense where "priors" are at issue. I don't know how many times I have come across a person who wanted to "save money", didn't hire a lawyer to represent him in a criminal offense and then regretted it. You know the expression: "penny wise, pound foolish".

A second offense DUI is very serious, both because you can lose your license for over a year and also because some judges have been know to impose up to 60 days in jail for such an offense. See a lawyer!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/1/2011
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
In most cases an out-of-state prior will count in Cal. making this a second offense. It is a practical necessity to hirea good lawyer if you want to challenge that prior and to mitigate the sentence on this one. There is always the possibility that this one can be defended. If you can afford counsel you
should do so.

Our office has successfully defended many DUI s. For a consultation or to get a fee quote call us.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/31/2010
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
Yes, you need an attorney. Being charged with a second time DUI has mandatory jail time and in some jurisdictions can be anywhere from 45-90 days in jail. Your attorney will be able to review your prior DUI and determine if it is eligible to be used as a prior in California. There may be defenses available to you for the current DUI charge as well. Additionally make sure you contact the DMV within 10 days to schedule your DMV hearing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/30/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    If the prosecutor finds out about the out of state prior, then he/she will allege it and your current one will be a second, with mandatory jail, among other consequences. The DMV consequences are also severe, up to 2 years of suspension. Contact a DUI specialist immediately, as even a slight reduction in charge can avoid a lot of these consequences.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq.
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq. | Tomas M. Flores
    Yes - you may be charged with your second DUI in California.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN | Michael Bialys
    You should absolutely hire Counsel. Under california law this would be considered a 2nd dui because it is under 10 years since your 1st. Just so you know 2nd dui carries with it mandatory jail time just for starters, and even though your first dui was out of state california may still regard this as a second.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/29/2012
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf | Lawrence Wolf
    Depending upon the facts of the first case, and the court of your second charge you may or may not be charged as a second. We should be able to see that it is only your first charge. Give us a call if we can help.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Second DUI within 10 years results in enhanced penalties, including jail time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    Hiring a lawyer is always a good option if you can afford it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    Unfortunately it will count as your second DUI, despite the fact that your first was in another state. Having an attorney for a DUI is always recommended. There are many ways to deal with DUI's and perhaps defeat them. In addition, a second DUI comes with a great deal of penalties . An attorney by your side can only help get you through the process quicker. Call me if you have any questions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Easy to determine. They are probably not aware of an out of state conviction 9 years ago and many places do not keep records on their computers (misdemeanors) for more than 5 years. Anyhow, look at the new complaint. If it talks about a prior conviction (talking about the out-of state one) you are being charged with your second. Once you know that you should hire lawyer but if it is a first you can do it yourself just like you did the last one. If you do need a lawyer get in touch with me. If a local case I can do it for you. If in another county I can recommend someone good who won't rip you off on fees. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy | Ryan P. Murphy
    Yes, you need to hire an attorney for your second DUI. Even if the District Attorney's Office only charges you with a first offense DUI, the DMV will count this as a second.

    Any DUI conviction within the last 10 years, in any state, will move this current case into a second offense when it comes to the DMV.
    Depending on your concerns and goals, there are new laws that make fighting a second offense very complicated.

    Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at your earliest convenience.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    Generally speaking, yes, this will likely be charged as a 2nd as they were within 10 years of each other. The dmv records cross state lines, which is how ca would charge this a second. I would recommend getting an attorney as second offenses are more serious than first offenses. Also, dui's continually are treated more seriously with each passing year. Feel free to call me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Steven Mandell
    Steven Mandell | Law Offices of Steven Mandell
    Your instincts are correct. You NEED a lawyer for this one. Yes, they will count the one from the other state against you, but they may not succeed with it. You can challenge their use of that prior
    conviction. That is a very complex area of law that can only be handled by an expert criminal lawyer experienced in out-of-state priors. And you only have 10 days from the date of arrest to take some action at the DMV, or you lose substantial rights. Do not wait. If your case is in LA, feel free to contact me about this matter. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    suspension of your license, potential installation of an ignition interlock device and fines. Depending on the county where this will be heard, the prosecution could want jail time beyond the statutory minimum.

    There can be ways (potentially) to attack the validity of the first conviction so it can't be used against you as a prior. Of course, there are the standard defenses to explore on the new case as well.

    Do not miss the 10 day window to contest the suspension of your license with the DMV... start looking for a local attorney ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2010
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