July 1, 2019 By Matthew Wallin

How Out-of-State Convictions for DUI Can Be Used in a California DUI Case

Driving under the influence is one of the most commonly committed crimes in the United States. It is a universal crime: drivers of any race, gender, education, nationality, or economic background could potentially commit the crime. Every state has its own laws to punish DUI convictions, as well as sentence enhancements for repeat offenders.

What happens if you have a conviction in another state, and are arrested for a DUI in California? Can your out-of-state conviction be used to enhance your sentence in this state? That is the legal trouble Javier Caldera is facing right now. He had prior convictions for DUI and attempting to elude police from Washington state, and is now facing second-degree murder charges from a suspected DUI collision in Temecula that killed a driver of another car.

DUI Convictions Can Follow You to California

California generally will accept prior convictions from other states as if you committed the crimes under California law. The key to whether the other state’s conviction will be used to enhance a conviction in this state is whether the other state’s law encompasses the same elements as the law in California.

An example of this is a 2012 case where the California Court of Appeal considered the case of George Wesley Self, who had been previously convicted for DUI under Arizona law.[1] The court ruled that the Arizona law under which Self was convicted only required the slightest impairment from drugs or alcohol, whereas a conviction under California law required an “appreciable” effect of intoxication. Thus, the Court held the two laws were not equivalent, and ordered that Self’s sentence under California law not include an enhancement for a prior conviction.

However, if you have a previous DUI from another state that uses the same standard and elements as with California law, and are then charged and convicted with a DUI under California law, that prior conviction could be considered in enhancing you sentence.

Repeat Convictions Lead to Harsher Penalties

As you might expect, a conviction for a new DUI when you already have one or more on your record can lead to harsher penalties. If you are facing your second misdemeanor DUI conviction within 10 years of your previous one, you could face:

  • A minimum of 96 hours up to a year in a county jail;
  • A maximum fine of $1,000 (plus penalty assessments);
  • Between three to five years of summary probation;
  • Mandatory California DUI school, generally between 18 and 30 months;
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your car, for which you will have to pay; and
  • One year suspension of your driver’s license.If you are convicted of a felony as a second offense, you could be sentenced to prison for 16 months or two or three years, and your license will be suspended for up to five years.

Contact the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or someone you care about have been convicted of a DUI, you will need an experienced and aggressive attorney to help you with case. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 35 years of experience in successfully helping clients like you fight to keep their previous convictions from affecting a current case. Let us help you, too. Contact us today for a free, no obligation phone consultation so that we can begin helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.

Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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