Criminal History Affects DUI Penalties
Your criminal history affects DUI penalties in California.

Being arrested for driving under the influence can be scary and confusing. This can be especially difficult if you have a prior criminal history. Figuring out how your criminal record plays a role in your DUI case can be difficult to comprehend. That is why our experienced DUI attorneys are here to help you.

There are several ways a prior criminal conviction can affect the outcome of your DUI case. If you’ve been convicted of DUI, you could face more serious penalties. But if you’ve been convicted of a different crime, this could still have a negative impact on your DUI case.

How Prior DUI Convictions Impact Sentencing

If you are being prosecuted for DUI and have prior DUI convictions on your record, you could face more serious charges. In California, a first DUI offense is punishable by up to six months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.1

However, if you have been previously convicted of DUI, you could be charged with a felony under California Penal Code 23550. A felony DUI conviction carries much harsher penalties: 16 months, 2 or 3 years in state prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.2

Prior DUI convictions are not the only factor which may lead to more serious charges. A DUI charge where a person other than the driver was injured is considered a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. When determining whether to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony, the prosecutor will consider the circumstances of your case and your prior criminal history.

If you are charged with a felony based on your criminal record, you could face up to three years in county jail and fines of up to $5,000 fine. This is much stricter than misdemeanor penalties of up to 364 days in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

The Effect of Prior Criminal Convictions at Trial

Having a criminal record (for offenses other than DUI) may not have a direct impact on your current DUI case, but it could indirectly affect you. For instance, prosecutors will likely be aware of your criminal background and could use this in your case. The prosecution may decide to pursue more serious charges or could refuse to negotiate a favorable plea bargain due to your history.

The vast majority of DUI cases do not go to trial, but in the event that you do end up at trial, the prosecution could use your criminal history against you to show that you are the type of person who would commit this crime. This makes it extremely important for you have an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be able to craft a winning defense strategy for you.

Call the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you have been arrested for a DUI, you need to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. There are a number of valid arguments that can be made on your behalf to defend you against these charges. Hiring a skilled DUI defense attorney is the first step. At Wallin & Klarich, we have been successfully defending our clients facing DUI charges for over 30 years. We can help you, too.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney can help no matter your location.

Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.


1. [http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/automotive-law/dui.php]
2. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=veh&group=23001-24000&file=23536-23552]

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