Third Offense DUI 

If you have been arrested for a third offense DUI, the severity of your license suspension and punishment increases. In most counties, you will be required to do your sentence in actual jail. The amount of time in custody usually depends on the facts and circumstances of the case, if you have a recent prior, and if there is a violation of probation.

You Have Two Cases 

If you have been arrested for third offense DUI, you have two problems – A DMV problem and a criminal court problem. The DMV and the Court process are separate and each must be fought independently. The DMV case relates to your CA driving privilege and whether your license will be returned, suspended, or revoked. The Court case deals with punishment for the crime of DUI and may include jail time, fines, alcohol education classes, license suspensions, probation, vehicle impound, installation of an ignition interlock device or a combination of these things. Sentencing enhancements may increase punishment and length of license suspension.

DMV License Suspension v Court License Suspension

There are two ways your driving privilege in CA can be suspended. If you lose or default on the DMV hearing, a 1 year suspension can occur. If you get convicted in court, it will trigger a 3-year license revocation. You may be eligible for a restricted license.

Important – DMV Hearing Date MUST BE SET Within 10 days of arrest

To get a DMV hearing you must call DMV to request a hearing, it is not automatically set for you. It is your responsibility to set your DMV hearing within 10 calendar days of the arrest. If you do not request a hearing within 10 days, your license will automatically be suspended 30 days after your arrest for a period of 1 year on a third offense. The number to call to set your DMV hearing is on your Temp License/Notice of Suspension.

First Court Date

After you are released from jail, you are given a court date for your arraignment. Arraignment is where the government tells you the charges and potential punishment you face. If you hire an attorney, your attorney can appear for you on a 3rd offense misdemeanor DUI so you never have to go to court. If you don’t hire an attorney, you must appear at your first court date or a warrant will be issued. Don’t confuse your court date with your DMV Hearing date.

Temporary License

At the time of your arrest, the police take your license and give you a Temporary License/Notice of Suspension. This piece of paper is your new temporary driver’s license so keep it with you. If you had a valid driver’s license at the time, you can continue to drive until the DMV action is resolved. If you request a DMV hearing, you will be allowed to drive until a decision is rendered on the outcome of the DMV hearing. If you don’t set a DMV hearing, your driving privilege will be suspended 30 days after your arrest.

Notice of Suspension

The notice of suspension notifies you of your right to a hearing to contest the action against your license. Most people don’t read it but it explains that you need to request your DMV hearing within 10 days. You must read your temporary license and notice of suspension because it contains important information regarding your legal rights.

Work Restricted Driver’s License

If your license was valid at the time you were arrested, then you may be eligible for a IID restricted driver’s license.

SR-22 Requirement

To get your license reinstated after your DMV suspension or after your court conviction you will need to obtain an SR-22. An SR-22 form is a certificate filed by your car insurance company with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To obtain an SR-22, you would contact your car insurance company to inform them of your need for an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility. The costs of an SR22 vary by insurance company. The costs of filing the certificate itself from your insurance company should be between $25 and $50.

Reduced DUI Charges – Wet Reckless (VC23103/VC23103.5) 

A wet reckless is reckless driving involving alcohol or drugs. In cases where there is a low alcohol level usually below 0.10 or drugs like marijuana or prescription medications, your attorney can negotiate for a wet reckless disposition. It’s a better resolution then a DUI because it comes with no license suspension, no IID, and usually no jail time. A wet reckless is a good resolution for third offenses, commercial/employed drivers, professional licensees, and anyone that needs a valid driver’s license for work. The negative thing about a wet reckless is that it is prior able against you by the DMV or Court if you ever get another DUI within the next 10 years.

Reduced DUI Charges – Reckless Driving (VC23103)

A dry reckless is reckless driving not involving alcohol or drugs. It’s a better resolution then a DUI or Wet Reckless because it is not prior able against you by the DMV or Court if you ever get another DUI within the next 10 years. There is no license suspension associated with it.

DUI Probation Third Offence

DUI probation is between 3 and 5 years, informal or formal, and the terms usually include: no driving with any alcohol in your system, no refusal of chemical tests, submit to search and seizure for blood/breath, enrolling and completing the DUI class, paying fines/fees, installing an IID, obeying all laws, don’t drive unless properly licensed and insured, completing your jail sentence, and showing up for all court ordered appearances.

10 Year License Revocation

California Vehicle Code §23597 gives judges the power to revoke a license if a person has two or more priors within ten years of a new offense. The District Attorney’s policy in some counties is to ask for a 10-year revocation on third offense DUIs. The factors that are considered by the judge in imposing the 10-year revocation are:

    • Person’s level of remorse for the acts
    • Period that has elapsed since the person’s previous convictions
    • Person’s blood-alcohol level at the time of violation
    • Person’s participation in an alcohol treatment program
    • Person’s risk to traffic or public safety
    • Person’s ability to install a certified ignition interlock device  

If the 10-year revocation is imposed, it may be possible to get your license back after just five years if you avoid any convictions for DUIs or suspended license charges and you complete your DUI school.

Habitual Traffic Offender Designation

On third offense DUI cases the judge will designate the DUI driver a habitual traffic offender. Once this designation is in place, all subsequent driving offenses are subject to significant penalties, including lengthy jail sentences. If the defendant has been designated a habitual traffic offender, a first time driving violation would result in a mandatory sentence of 30 days in jail in addition to a $1,000 fine. This jail time would be consecutive to any other sentence imposed for the driving conduct. For a second or subsequent violation of the habitual traffic offender law, the defendant would be sentenced to a mandatory 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Again, the 180 days would be consecutive to any other sentence imposed.

No Alcohol Terms

In third offense cases, the court will order a “no alcohol” term as part of probation. This means you will be on search and seizure for alcohol including on your person, vehicle, or home. You will also be prohibited from using or possessing alcohol and will not be permitted to be anywhere where alcohol is the primary item of sale like bars.

Third Offense DUI School

If you are convicted of a 3rd offense DUI, you will be required to attend a multiple offender DUI program. This is an 18-month class which costs approximately $1800. All programs have payment plans. To sign up for the DUI class you will need your court paperwork or an H6 DMV printout.

Ignition Interlock Requirement

If you are convicted of a third offense DUI, you will be required to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle. This device will not let you start or continue to operate your vehicle if you have alcohol in your system. The cost of the IID varies between IID providers but it is approximately $70 to install and $60 a month.

Alternative Sentencing

In third offense DUI cases, the court will require you to do your sentence in actual jail. In some cases, your attorney may be able to get a combination of jail and alternative sentencing.

DUI Fines and Fees

You can expect to pay approximately $2000 or more if you are convicted of a DUI. Most counties will allow you to make payments. If you fail to make payments, you will be referred to collections, your license will be suspended, and you will be in violation of probation. In some counties you will be able to convert your fines to alternative sentencing which can save you a lot of money.

Violating DUI Probation

You will be in violation of probation if you fail to comply with the court ordered probation terms including failing to enroll/complete DUI classes, appear in court when ordered, or completing your jail sentence. If probation is violated, the judge will issue a bench warrant and you will be arrested and brought back to court to answer for the violation of probation.

Court Punishment 3rd Offense DUI


120 days to 1 year, including mandatory jail time

DUI Program

18 month


$390 to $1000

Ignition Interlock Device

Up to 3 yrs,


3 to 5 years – Informal

Car Impound

1- 90 days for DUI within 5 yrs

License Suspension

3 to 10 year revocation 


23578 – Driving with BAC .15+

23578 – Driving with BAC .20+

23577 – Refusal to take chemical test – Add 10 days jail

23582 – Excessive Speed – Add 60 days jail

23572 – Child under 14 in car – Add 30 days

DMV Suspension Period 3rd Offense DUI 

Under 21

1 year, No Restriction Eligibility

0.08 or higher

1 year, Restriction Eligible after 180 days from court conviction


3 year, No Restriction Eligibility

DUI Expungement

Even if you are convicted of a DUI, you can still get your case expunged. An expungement allows you to lawfully answer that you have never been convicted of a crime. To be eligible, you must have successfully completed probation, paid all you fines and fees, and completed the terms of your probation.

You don’t have to plead guilty, contact our office today for a free same day consultation

Because you have so much to lose, you need the most experienced and aggressive DUI Defense attorneys on your side. Whether it’s defending you in trial or negotiating for dismissal, you can count on us. Our experienced and aggressive negotiating efforts usually result in better outcomes for our clients including reduced charges, lesser jail days, and smaller fines. Call our office today at (916) 939-3900 to speak directly to an attorney about your 3rd Offense DUI case. We are open 24/7/365 to answer your questions.