April 19, 2023 By Matthew Wallin

Double jeopardy is a constitutional right that guarantees that once you are found not guilty of a certain crime, you may not be tried again for the same offense. However, double jeopardy works differently in DUI cases. Continue reading to learn how double jeopardy is applied to California DUI cases, and contact our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today to see how we can help protect your rights. 

What Is Double Jeopardy? 

The 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “No person shall… be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” In other words, the government cannot prosecute anyone twice for the same crime. California has adopted the same law through the state’s penal code. Under California Penal Code Section 687, “No person can be subjected to a second prosecution for a public offense for which he has once been prosecuted and convicted or acquitted.” This guarantees that nobody will be: 

  • Prosecuted after acquittal for the same offense 
  • Convicted multiple times for the same offense 
  • Punished multiple times for the same offense 

The purpose of the double jeopardy defense is to protect defendants against the burden of multiple trials. Furthermore, repeated attempts at conviction increase the likelihood that an innocent defendant will be found guilty. 

How Does Double Jeopardy Apply to DUI Cases? 

If you or your loved one has been arrested for DUI, you should understand when double jeopardy does and does not apply to DUI cases. When you are charged with a DUI offense, you may face penalties from both the DMV and the California court system. Usually, the arresting officer will take the offender’s driver’s license and forward the information to the California DMV. The DMV will call you in for an administrative hearing, where a DMV hearing officer will decide whether to reinstate your license and driving privileges. The administrative hearing is independent of any criminal trial that you may also be subject to. Even if you win your administrative hearing, you may still be subject to penalties in court. 

You may be wondering whether this constitutes a double jeopardy violation. Unfortunately, it does not. In the case of DUIs, you may be required to defend yourself both in court and at the DMV. This is because courts have determined that the DMV’s suspension of your driving privileges is not a “penalty” but rather an administrative corrective action. And since it is not a penalty, jeopardy does not attach when it happens. Thus, a court case can proceed regardless of what happens with your DMV hearing. 

Additionally, you may be charged with two different DUI offenses for a single incident. This is also not a double jeopardy violation. In fact, it is quite common for a prosecutor to charge a drunk driver under more than one section of the California statute. Double jeopardy does not prevent the state from prosecuting you for multiple DUI offenses for the same arrest. You may also be found guilty of multiple DUI offenses. However, double jeopardy prevents you from facing multiple sentences for DUI convictions related to the same stop. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been charged with DUI in California, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. At Wallin & Klarich, we seek to protect your rights and maintain your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys have successfully helped thousands of clients in their DUI cases, and we have the skills and resources to help you avoid hefty fines and jail time. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. 

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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