A DUI out of state prior conviction may count as a prior in Vista or anywhere in California if you get a new offense. The DUI out of state prior must have the same elements as a California DUI conviction and have occurred within 10 years of the latest offense. If it fits the criteria, then the California DUI now is punishable the same as if the prior happened here and makes the DUI here a second or third or whatever it number is. The penalties and driver license suspensions increase significantly for each qualifying prior.
The good news is that sometimes the California DMV and the District Attorney do not always catch the out of state priors. Even if they do allege the DUI out of state prior, there is still a lot that needs to be done to show it is a valid prior including the dockets from the out of state Court indicating the defendant was properly advised of their constituional rights, waived the rights and pled guilty or was convicted in trial. Many times that paperwork is requested but never received, therefore that prior allegation should be dismissed. Additionally, the out of state DUI law must have the same proof requirements. For example, if the other state prior was for being guilty of a DUI at .05 blood alcohol (B.A.) or more, that could not be a prior here where the similar section is .08 B.A. or more. There was a recent case concerning an Arizona prior allegation where the Arizona DUI conviction was for being impaired to the "slightest degree" instaed of to an "appreciable" degree as required here in California. That difference made that out of state Arizona prior INVALID.
A DUI with priors including a DUI out of state prior is much more serious offense with much greater consequences. Contact the experienced DUI Defense lawyers at Christoph Law Offices with over 40 years experience, 3000+ DUIs, and directly across from Vista Courts for over 30 years for a free consultation. Call 760-941-5720.