8 Things You Didn’t Know About A 3rd DUI

DUI Defense Legal Guide

If convicted of a 3rd DUI your driving privileges may be revoked rather than simply suspended and you may be designated as a habitual traffic offender for a period of three years.

Your License & The DMV Hearing

After a third arrest for a DUI or wet reckless driving, you may think you know exactly what is going to happen throughout the DUI proceedings and what penalties you will face.  As you may recall, after an arrest for a DUI, the arresting officer is required to immediately forward a copy of the notice of suspension or revocation form and any drivers license confiscated to the DMV.  If the suspension or revocation is upheld during the DMV’s administrative review, you have the right to request a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation.

You must request the hearing from the DMV:

→    Within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order, which you will likely receive upon your arrest.

If the review at the DMV shows that there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, the action will be set aside and your driving privileges will be reinstated.  The DMV will notify you in writing only if the suspension of revocation is set aside following the administrative review.  However, this process has no affect on the outcome or penalties from your criminal court case.

Penalty for a 3rd DUI in California

Following a third offense within 10 years, penalties imposed by the court include:

Fine$390-$1,000 + penalty assessments
Probation3-5 years informal probation
DUI Education Program30 month court approved program
License Suspension or Revocation3 years (convertible to restricted license after 18 months)
County Jail120 days – 1 year
Possible Additional Penalties

In addition to the driving under the influence program that you will have to complete, the judge may also impose collateral sentences that may require you to attend AA programs, hospital and morgue programs, or other programs that impart the seriousness of a DUI including the following.

  • Possible MADD Program
  • Possible Morgue Program
  • Possible Community Labor
  • Possible Rehab
  • Ignition interlock Device
Ignition Interlock device

In most counties it is still discretionary for the judge to require you to install an Ignition Interlock Device after the first California DUI charge.  However, after a second DUI and for a third DUI or wet reckless offense within 10 years, it is mandatory that the judge requires you to have an Ignition Interlock Device on any car that you may drive after the period of revocation of your license has ended1.

Possible Aggravating Factors

An aggravating factor is an additional charge that can affect the penalties of your DUI and the following is a non-exhaustive list:

Refusing A Chemical Test

In California, if you are suspected of driving under the influence, you are deemed to consent to a chemical breath test.  If you refuse when arrested, the punishments will be much harsher.  Additionally, if you refuse a Breathalyzer test you will not qualify for the limited privilege of a restricted license.

California Third DUI Frequently Asked Questions

What if the officer had no probable cause to pull me over

Considering the steep consequences of a 3rd DUI conviction, your DUI attorney will look closely at the specific police procedures used to arrest you and the evidence against you. Under the law, the officer needed an independent basis to pull you over in the first place, such as your violation of a separate traffic offense. If he or she lacked that probable cause, then your rights may have been violated. Additionally, your attorney can challenge the reliability of breathalyzer results and other evidence in an attempt to avoid a conviction altogether.

Is it likely that the judge will allow a community service or work sentence to replace the mandatory jail time

The likelihood varies by county, however it is still possible, though less likely that a judge will convert a jail sentence to a probation one.  A conversion is even less likely if you were convicted of a second DUI in California while still on probation from your first DUI.

What happens if I was still on probation from my second DUI at the time of my arrest for my third DUI

It is likely that your probation will be revoked and the penalties associated with your third DUI will be much harsher than if you were no longer on probation.

Is there any chance of keeping my license after a third DUI offense

No. Unless you are not convicted of the offense or the charges are dropped for lack of evidence or procedural errors, then you can expect to lose your license for an extended period of time. Under California law, there is automatic license suspension for even the first time DUI. The length of the suspension increases with each subsequent offense and many be extended if

What is the difference between a license revocation and a license suspension

When your license is suspended, you will get it back after the designated period of time.  When your license is revoked after your third DUI offense, you will not get it back until you show proof of your completion of the driving under the influence program.

Important Information

Next Steps

If you have been arrested for a 3rd DUI and would like to learn more about how attorneys charge.

If you want to understand why its important to have an attorney represent you.

If you are ready to discuss a pending DUI case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

Get Legal Help Now

Request A Free Consultation 818-351-9555 


  1. California Vehicle Code section 23575(f)(1); If a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 and the offense occurred within 10 years of one or more separate violations of Section 23152 or 23153 that resulted in a conviction, or if a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23103, as specified in Section 23103.5, and is suspended for one year under Section 13353.3, the person may apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a restricted driver’s license pursuant to Section 13352 or 13353.3 that prohibits the person from operating a motor vehicle unless that vehicle is equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device, certified pursuant to Section 13386. The restriction shall remain in effect for at least the remaining period of the original suspension or revocation and until all reinstatement requirements in Section 13352 or 13353.4 are met []