Defending yourself in the case of a second DUI charge can be significantly more difficult than a first offense. You will be considered a repeat offender, which comes with more severe penalties and consequences, especially if the subsequent arrest is within five years of the first. Repeat offender laws have become progressively harsher in recent years across the United States, so it is crucial to immediately seek out legal counsel if you find yourself facing a second DUI charge.
CONSEQUENCES FOR REPEAT OFFENDERS
Someone charged with a second DUI offense is in danger of permanently losing their license, as well as facing up to $5,000 in fines and 5 years in prison. In many states, a second-time offender will face a mandatory $600-$3,000 fine and a 2-year suspension of their license.
If the two convictions occur over the span of five years, a judge can order a person to install the Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle. This device uses a breathalyzer to determine if the person attempting to start the vehicle is intoxicated; if a pre-programmed limit is surpassed, the car’s ignition will temporarily lock. The driver is required to pay for the device’s installation and maintenance at their own expense.
Depending on the specifics of the case, there is also an increased chance of additional charges like aggravated assault in a second offense. The consequences become significantly more severe if the DUI charge might end up in a felony charge, making it more important than ever to seek out legal advice as soon as possible. Everyone has the right to defend themselves against criminal charges, and an expert DUI attorney can help you do what you can to get the charges reduced or even dismissed.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE DUI CHARGES WITHIN 10 YEARS?
Facing these charges a second time will be even more difficult than the first DUI arrest. Prejudged treatment of someone convicted of a DUI is real and may have you facing a steep uphill battle. Not only that, but if the second offense is within 5 to10 years of the first, severe mandatory penalties come into play. States have continued to establish strict repeat offender laws that will have a severe effect on your financial and personal life.
A repeat DUI offense in 5-10 years or refusal to take a blood or breath test will automatically result in revocation of your driver’s license for at least a year and usually include use of an Ignition Interlock Device for an additional two years after that. You can also expect to serve mandatory jail time if convicted of a second DUI within 10 years, with an average sentence of 90 days to six months.
If the most recent charge is for a felony and not a misdemeanor, such as causing extensive property damage or severe injury to another person, the penalty can increase to up to 10 years in prison. In the extreme case where the intoxicated driver caused an accident that resulted in the death of another person, the penalty could be as much as 20 years to life in prison.
STRATEGIES TO CHALLENGE DUI CHARGES
Even in the case of a repeat offense, you have the right to defend yourself, and after an arrest, you have the right to speak to an attorney for legal advice. It could be grounds for dismissal if the arresting officer did not allow you to speak to an attorney after your arrest.
There are several legal strategies that a skilled attorney can use to aid you in your defense. This may include getting blood or breath test results excluded if the driver’s constitutional rights were violated in the course of the arrest, or if the Breathalyzer or blood test process was improperly administered or maintained. An attorney may be able to challenge the reason the police officer even asked the driver to take a breath or blood test.
Every case is different, and a lawyer with special experience defending repeat offender cases will be able to determine the most effective defense for your case. Your lawyer will be able to tell you what the chances are that you’ll be able to avoid the serious consequences of a repeat DUI conviction. If you have been charged with a second DUI, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel. The sooner you act, the sooner you can begin preparing your defense.