In California, DUI is a “priorable” offense, meaning that you’ll face stiffer penalties with each subsequent conviction. If you have three or more DWI convictions within the previous ten years, and you are again arrested for DUI in California, you will be charged with felony DUI. Prior offenses include any combination of DUI convictions, “wet reckless” convictions, and equivalent out-of-state convictions. If you are charged with DWI in southern California – whether it’s your first offense or you have prior convictions – contact an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer at once.

Across the country this year, lawmakers are seeking incremental ways to make DWI charges just a little tougher on offenders with prior convictions. In the state of Washington, for example, where a fifth DWI in ten years is a felony, lawmakers are considering making the fourth DUI in ten years a felony, a move that would line up that state’s law with California’s. Colorado lawmakers are looking at a proposal that would eliminate the ten-year limit and make the fourth DWI in a lifetime a felony. In Wisconsin, where driving under the influence is not a crime for first-time offenders and instead results only in a traffic ticket, one lawmaker has introduced seven different bills this year that would toughen the state’s laws governing impaired driving.

The only real obstacle to tougher laws in most states is that convicted felons typically serve some prison time, and incarcerating people costs the states considerably – whereas putting DWI offenders on probation forces them to pay into the system rather than burden it. In southern California, if you’re arrested for DUI, don’t just roll over and plead guilty. Good DUI attorneys win a large percentage of DWI cases for their clients in this state. If you’re charged with DWI in Orange County, fight the charge with help from an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer, and make the call as quickly as possible.