Prince William County Second-Offense DUI Lawyer
Law enforcement and judges take second-offense DUI charges much more severe than a first-time DUI. Even when sticking to the mandatory minimum active fines and jail time, judges will usually impose a higher amount of suspended fines and jail time on top of those active portions in order to demonstrate the higher severity of the second offense.
Reach out to a Prince William County second-offense DUI lawyer if you are facing charges. Let a seasoned DUI attorney fight for you.
Prosecuting Second-Offense DUI Charges
If the accused is an adult, most first-offense DUI charges are typically heard in the Prince William County General District Court since they are misdemeanors. If the accused is a minor, the case will be heard in the Prince William County Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court.
Prosecutors treat second-offense DUIs noticeably more serious than first-offense DUIs, especially if the second offense is charged as being within five years of a prior DUI.
Second offense DUIs carry higher mandatory minimums for jail time and license suspensions than first-offense DUIs, even if the defendant’s BAC at the time was not elevated. Knowing this, prosecutors have more leverage in second-offense cases, and also have the impression that the punishments for the first offense were not severe enough to teach the defendant a lesson. These are the two main reasons why conviction and punishment are pursued more vigorously by the prosecution in second-offense DUI cases as compared to first-offense cases.
Second-Time DUI Penalties
Second-offense DUIs are still Class 1 misdemeanors like first-offense DUIs, but their mandatory minimum fines, jail sentences, and license penalties are higher. Prince William County prosecutors and judges usually stick close to these mandatory minimums when seeking penalties for a second-offense conviction. For all second-offense DUI convictions, the accused will be charged at least a $500 fine (which increases to $1000 if the BAC is .15 or higher), sentenced to at least ten days in jail (which increases to a maximum of 40 days depending on the BAC level), and receive a license suspension for at least three years. Also, the completion of ASAP and installation of an ignition interlock device on every vehicle owned by the defendant (whether driven or not) are mandatory penalties.
On occasion, if a person undergoes professional individualized counseling which involves significant treatment over a sustained period of time before trial, a prosecutor will consider reducing a second-offense DUI to a first offense. However, there are no other established program routes for avoiding a second-offense conviction.
Challenging Driver’s License Suspension
If an accused gets convicted of a second-offense DUI, their license will be suspended for a mandatory period of three years from the date of conviction. Depending on the number of years between their first and second offense, a restricted license can be applied for either four months or a year after conviction.
After a person is charged with a second-offense DUI, their license is administratively suspended before trial for a period of 60 days rather than seven days. If the accused petitions the court to entirely rescind the pretrial license suspension, they must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to issue the DUI charge. Alternatively, if the accused can show that there was no proof whatsoever to support enhancing the charge to a second offense, the court will shorten the pretrial suspension period back down to the mandatory seven days carried for a first offense.
Building a Second-Offense DUI Defense
The defenses to second-offense DUI charges are the same as for first-time charges, except that there are additional elements of proof related to the nature and timing of the prior DUI convictions of the accused.
When determining whether prior conviction records will be sufficient to prove a second-offense DUI, a second-offense DUI lawyer in Prince William County will look at factors such as whether the prior conviction was from Virginia, the date of offense commission versus the date of the prior offense conviction, and whether the conviction records show that the accused’s constitutional rights were fully respected in the prior case.
Contact a Prince William County Second-Offense DUI Attorney
A skilled Prince William County second-offense DUI lawyer could advocate for you if you have been charged with your second DUI. Second-time DUI charges carry significant penalties. Fortunately, an attorney could fight for you to possibly get your charges mitigated or dropped. Call today to get started on your case.