If you’ve been pulled over by the police for a DUI knowing it’s your third time, your mind is bound to be racing with thoughts of what might happen next. You’ll be understandably anxious at the thought of a third conviction and what that might mean for both your liberty and your license.
What happens if you’re arrested for a third DUI within the last 10 years?
The penalty for a third DUI conviction
Generally, a first and second DUI offense is treated as a misdemeanor. As you’re facing a third conviction, however, it is also likely to become a felony. This causes stiffer penalties, like:
- 30 days mandatory jail time with a maximum term of 10 years
- A fine of up to $5,000
- A mandatory one-year license suspension with a maximum of five years (to start when you’re released from confinement)
- Mandatory ignition interlock for at least one year
Why does a third DUI conviction become a felony?
As you’re considered a re-offender, the court considers it a more serious offense and one that should attract a harsher penalty. When convicted of a felony DUI offense, it will show up in any background checks carried out on you as it will be on your criminal record.
Protecting your rights
Most of the time, there is an explanation as to how and why things happened the way they did. You may also deny any liability at all. Police do get things wrong.
If you’ve been charged with a third DUI offense, there are things you can do to protect your legal position and mitigate the chances of a harsh penalty. This can often significantly reduce jail time, fine amount and the length of your license suspension.