A first DUI offense typically gives you some leeway in how you're charged and the penalties you face, but if you've found you're facing a second or third, the court will become more strict with you. Fortunately, you still have the right to a strong defense to help make sure you receive fair treatment. Your attorney may talk to you about potential defenses and will work to help you avoid penalties if possible. Here are some things you should consider when you're facing a second or third DUI.
1. You need to understand the consequences
A second-offense DUI leads to many consequences including facing a fine of up to $4,000. Additionally, you could lose your license for up to two years. You will lose your license for a minimum of 180 days if you're convicted of driving drunk. You could face time in jail, and a second offense results in 30 days in jail, minimum. You face a maximum of a year in jail upon conviction. Additionally, you may have to participate in 80 hours of community service or more.
Sometimes, the courts aim to rehabilitate you and may accept it if you wish to attend drug or alcohol rehabilitation. This often looks good and works in your favor.
If you're facing a third or subsequent DUI, you face additional penalties including fines that are now as high as $10,000. Upon conviction, your license is revoked for two years, and you may be sent to prison for between two and 10 years. Sometimes, the court will agree to allow you to go to a residential rehabilitation treatment center in lieu of a prison sentence or in addition to a shorter sentence. The court may issue an order for you to participate in up to 600 hours of community service.
2. You should consider your defense options
A strong defense does make a difference in a criminal case. Talk to your attorney about how your blood alcohol concentration was tested. Look into finding out if the breathalyzer was calibrated properly. Think about your traffic stop. Did the officer have a reason to pull you over? What was it, and was it a legal stop? Consider using medical documents to prove that you were disoriented for other reasons, or show the court why you had no choice but to drive drunk.
Your attorney has information on the defenses that might work in your case. With the right help, you can minimize the risk of a conviction or harsh penalties.