Alexandria Second Offense DUI Lawyer
For a second offense charge in Virginia, it is assumed that the person who is going to be charged has not learned from their first experience through the DUI process and as a result that individual is likely to be treated even more severely than they were for their first offense. Additionally, if the second offense is within a five year period of the first, that individual should expect even more serious penalties including a mandatory minimum fine and the potential of up to 12 months in jail. With these things in mind, it is extremely important that anyone facing another DUI consult with an Alexandria second offense DUI lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced DUI attorney can assist both in preparing the individual for what they are going to face, and in building the strongest defense possible for their specific case.
Penalties For a Second Offense
The penalties for second offense DUIs are even more severe than those for a first offense. Both DUI first and second DUI second offenses are governed by Virginia Code Section 18.2-266, which enables the different types of DUIs in Virginia, and 18.2-270, which is the punishment statute for DUIs in Virginia and talks about all the different penalties an individual may face.
For example, any person who is convicted of a second offense within less than five years of the first offense shall receive a mandatory minimum fine and up to 12 months in jail. The fine will be at least $500.00 as well as at least 20 days of mandatory minimum jail time. For the second offense within five to ten years, that mandatory minimum jail time is only 10 days and the mandatory minimum fine is still $500.00. In addition, if the person receives a second offense and has an elevated BAC, there is going to be an additional period of mandatory minimum incarceration making it imperative a second offense DUI lawyer in Alexandria is contacted.
Driver’s License Penalties
If you are charged with the second offense—depending on the nature of the determination of your breath or blood test—your license may be administratively suspended. However, unlike the first event in which the administrative suspension only occurs for a period of seven days, the administrative suspension for a second offense is significantly longer.
For the second offense DUI in Alexandria, your license may be administratively suspended for 60 days or until the court date, whichever comes first. For that administrative suspension period, you may challenge it through an administrative suspension hearing, if you can prove via a preponderance of the evidence that the DUI second charge is inappropriate.
License Penalties For a Conviction
If you are convicted of a second offense within five years of the first offense, you will only be able to ask for the issuance of a restricted license after a period of one-year hard loss of license. If, however, the second offense was within five to 10 years, you can ask for them to issue the license after four months of a hard loss.
Courts treat second offense DUI charges very seriously. Just like prosecutors, they view it as the person has not learned from the first offense mistake and therefore should be punished severely. It is not uncommon for judges to go above and beyond the mandatory minimums when people are convicted of second offenses.
Second offenses always include a mandatory minimum jail time as well as a three-year loss of someone’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of Virginia and these are just minimums.
Building a Defense
In addition to all the same defenses that an Alexandria second offense DUI attorney would employ for a first offense, an attorney would also secure a copy of the first offense conviction in order to make sure that the conviction is constitutionally firm. This means making sure that the individual being accused was represented by counsel, that they make a knowing and voluntary plea, and was the judgment administered appropriately. If any of these elements are missing there may be certain opportunities for defenses to arise as to whether the second offense is appropriate, especially when the first offense occurs in a different state.
Difference in Defending a First and Second Offense
With a second offense, there is a lot more on the line. Certainly, the person is facing significantly higher fines, a significantly longer loss of liberty, and the significant loss of driving privileges.
In addition, if someone is receiving a second offense conviction, they are one step away from a felony conviction for the third offense. Therefore, it is important for an Alexandria DUI lawyer to address all the different factors that may lead to the second offense, including if the person has a serious substance abuse problem that has not been addressed appropriately and what can be done to avoid the same behavior in the future.