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3rd Offense

DUI Penalties

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Summary of Penalties

If you’ve been convicted of a third DUI that is charged as a misdemeanor, you can expect the court to order one or the following conditions.


You will face a minimum 120 days in county jail and a maximum of one year.  


3 to 5 years of informal probation, also known as summary probation.


DUI School of 18-months, also known as SB38.


Fines and penalty assessments up to $2,000. However, after penalty assessments, a third DUI can end up costing around $15,000 or more.


A suspension of your driver’s license for three years. After 18 months, you may apply for a restricted license.   


Requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for two years.

Custody Time

In most cases, the court will order the minimum jail sentence.  However, many courts in different counties set their own standard minimum for third DUIs. Depending on the circumstances of the DUI, the court may allow you to perform the custody time in residential treatment program, work release or sheriff alternative custody program, such as an ankle monitoring, work release, or work furlough.

Probation Conditions

If you are placed on probation the court is going to order a variety of conditions.  In every DUI case, the court will order that you not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood.  You will also be required to submit to a chemical test at the request of any peace officer. This may include the PAS test at the scene. 

The court will also require you to install an IID for two years.

Watson Advisement

If you are convicted of a third DUI or plead to a lesser charge such as a wet-reckless, you will be given what is known as the “Watson” advisement.  The Watson advisement reads:

“I understand that being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, impairs my ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. I understand that it is extremely dangerous to human life to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. I understand that if I continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, and as a result of my driving, someone is killed, I can be charged with murder.”

It is very important that you understand the meaning of this.  If you have been convicted of a DUI, and then you drive under the influence a second time and that results in a person being killed, you will be charged with murder.  Although the advisement says “may” you can be sure that every prosecuting agency will charge you with murder.

License Suspension

If you are arrested for DUI, both the DMV and the courts will impose a suspension.  A DMV suspension is considered to be an administrative act and not an act of the courts. Therefore, it is possible you can face two separate suspensions.

If DMV finds that you’ve had a third DUI within ten years, DMV will administratively impose a one-year suspension on your license.  DMV may allow you to receive a restricted license if you install an ignition interlock device.  This installation is separate from your court ordered IID, and in most cases will come before you’ve been sentenced on the criminal case.  

If you refused to submit to a chemical test however, you will face a three-year suspension and you will not be allowed to obtain a restricted license at any point. 

DUI School

If you are found guilty of a third DUI, the court will order you to attend the 18-month DUI program, known as SB38.  The 18-month program consist of: six two-hour education classes; twenty-six (26) two-hour group counseling sessions; twenty-six (26) individual sessions that last approximately 15 minutes; and six one-hour sessions a month for the last six months of the program.


The cost for this program is approximately $2000 however, program cost varies.

Dedicated DUI Attorney

Kevin Ballard is a dedicated DUI attorney based in Fairfield who understands how to effectively defend those charged with DUIs. Kevin is one of the few attorneys who is both a former prosecutor and trained as a police officer. As such, Kevin knows first hand how DUIs are handled from the initial traffic stop through prosecution and appeal. Let the Law Office of Kevin L. Ballard help you today defend your rights and protect your liberty.

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