Prior DUI Convictions and Sentence Enhancements
A conviction for a DUI or "Wet Reckless" remains a prior for sentencing purposes for a period of ten years in California. This means that if a defendant is convicted of another DUI within ten years of the date of commission of the prior DUI, the defendant faces penalties for a second offense. If the prior is more than ten years old, even by a day, it is no longer a prior for sentencing purposes.
Forty five days in county jail is more than some defendants get for a second DUI within the statutory period, even in Santa Ana. The other case involved a borderline blood alcohol reading with facts justifying a dismissal or reduction in charges. The Prosecutor hesitated to offer a reduction because of a prior DUI which was about fifteen years old.
Most people believe that after ten years prior convictions are removed from their record. This is not the case at all and old convictions can be viewed on a DMV record many years later.
It appears therefore, that depending on the prosecutor or judge, a prior conviction for DUI can come back to haunt a defendant many years after it has reached its ten year anniversary.