San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

Se Habla Español 818.783.5700

The Difference Between a First and a Second DUI

The Difference Between a First and a Second DUI

If you think you’ve been down this road before, you are likely mistaken.  There are huge differences between a first and a second DUI.  A first DUI seems like a bit of a walk in the park.  Yes, you had to jump through some hoops and yes, you had to take out a loan to pay for your new auto insurance policy, but there wasn’t any jail, and the alcohol school was only three months long.  No big deal, right?  Wrong!

Do you remember the warning the judge gave you…The one about being DUI and killing someone?  Now you can be facing murder (yes murder) charges for your second DUI.  But what if you don’t kill someone, it can’t be that bad, right?  Wrong!

A second DUI conviction requires MANDATORY jail time.  At least 96 hours, but up to one year in jail.  If you are still on probation from your first conviction, you are facing up to 18 months in jail.

Next, the alcohol school on a second (or subsequent) DUI is 18 months long.  You will have to take those stupid classes for a year and a half.  You will have to pay a fine that is about 30% more than last time and you will again have to file an SR-22, proof of insurance, for three more years.  Probation will normally be at least 4 years and you will likely lose your license for some period of time.

Do you remember the thing you had to blow into, in order to start your car?  We call that an ignition interlock device.  Plan on having one on your car for at least a year this time.

This is all for a misdemeanor DUI without any injuries to anyone.  If there are injuries, things get a whole lot worse really fast.  And don’t forget, if your first DUI was a felony for any reason, this one will be a felony every time.  Any DUI within ten years of any felony DUI is automatically another felony.

It keeps getting better, doesn’t it?  Your lawyer will also see you coming.  Expect to pay your lawyer at least a third more for a second DUI than you did for the first one.  If anyone was injured, take on another couple thousand dollars.  If it’s a felony, add a couple thousand more to that number.

If this still doesn’t sound that bad to you, let me pose a hypothetical to you:  You get arrested for a DUI which is not your first.  Your lawyer tells you that the best he can do is get you 30 days in jail, the 18 month school, fine and probation.  Now you have to go tell your new boss that you at least 5 days off of work so you can “go see a dying relative”.  You surrender for jail, contract Covid while in custody and then can’t go back to work for another five days.  How happy will your boss be?

When you do finally drive back to work, there is a strange car in the parking lot.  There is a guy in the car who appears to be talking into the newspaper he is holding in his hand.  Next you notice 2 marked police cars drive into the parking lot and force you to a stop.  Today you get to meet LAPD’s Habitual Traffic Offender (H20) Unit.  They order you out of the car and tell you that they followed you to work to see if you were driving on a suspended license that day.  Were you?  I hope not.  If you were then you are going back to jail for a minimum of 10 additional days, but probably more.  You will have to put in ignition interlock in your car for another year and if you had ANY alcohol in your listen, you will lose your license for a year.

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI and it’s not your first time, call a lawyer who knows how to navigate the court system and the DMV:

Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (805) 230-3651

Email me at:

Visit my sites: or