Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Driving under the influence is a serious offense, especially if an individual is a habitual offender. Second-offense DUIs are often prosecuted quite severely and individuals are granted less leeway than they would receive if it were their first offense. Although defending second-offense DUI charges may seem daunting, a skilled DUI attorney can help. A Vienna second-offense DUI lawyer could examine the facts of a person’s case and determine which defense strategy best suits their case. Individuals who have been charged with second-offense DUI charges should consult a local DUI lawyer and know that they are in capable hands.
Second-offense DUI charges can be prosecuted quite severely depending on the facts surrounding the case. It certainly could be a situation where the DUI conviction could be within a certain time period, thus giving a person a heightened sentence from the judge. For example, if a person does not have a second conviction within five years, they would have a much higher mandatory minimum of 20 days in jail and a higher guideline of time in jail as well, after that.
If someone has a second DUI within 10 years, there will be a bigger mandatory minimum as well. If a person has a heightened DUI and their blood alcohol level is 0.15 to 0.19—then they are going to have additional penalties that are going to be added to that. A Vienna second-offense DUI lawyer could fight diligently to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
Second-time DUI charges are prosecuted much more vigorously than first offenses in Vienna. From the perspective of the prosecutor, somebody who has committed another DUI obviously did not learn their lesson the first time around so they are a danger to the community. The prosecutors are going to take the perspective that, the person might continue to drive under the influence as long as they are not caught. They are going to see them as a direct threat to the community and the safety of the people that live in Vienna. The prosecution is going to want to give the accused a harsh and severe punishment in order teach them a lesson deter them from this type of behavior in the future.
Second-offense DUI charges are still going to be heard in general district court in Vienna. The courts treat second-offense DUI charges quite seriously. This is reflected in part by the legislature in Virginia. The laws of Virginia are written in such a way that second offenses can carry with them very high mandatory minimums, and, certainly, heightened BAC levels will carry high mandatory minimums too. All of the judges involved in Vienna will treat this case very, very seriously.
They are concerned about the community and the safety of the community, and most of the judges also live in that community and so they are concerned about their own families, themselves, and the safety of the other drivers on the road. They want to not only teach the person a lesson and punish them for driving while intoxicated, but they also want to deter them from doing it in the future. As a result, they hand out very harsh sentences for second-time DUIs in Vienna. A Vienna second-offense DUI attorney could attempt to negotiate with the judge and the prosecutor, in order to secure a milder sentence.
The penalties for a second-offense DUI are going to depend on a few things like the amount of time between the first offense conviction and the second-offense conviction and how high the blood alcohol level of the individual was.
If the second-offense was within five years of the first offense, then it is going to be a month to a year in jail, a fine of $500 to $2,500, and a mandatory minimum of 20 days in jail. That is going to be in addition to any kind of mandatory minimum that would be attached to the heightened BAC. If it was 0.15 or above, there is going to be a heightened mandatory minimum number of days in jail. Somebody could be looking at 20 to 40 days in jail as an absolute minimum, depending on the facts of their second DUI. A skilled Vienna second-offense DUI lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual faces.
Prosecutors cannot offer diversionary programs and probation for a second-offense; however, in these types of situations, sometimes, prosecutors still give active time or still recommend active time to the judge because their hands must be tied as far as the mandatory minimum for the statutory language. The prosecutors are at liberty to amend the charge to something like, if it is a DUI second, to amend it to a DUI first, or if there is a certain BAC level to amend it down to a DUI without that BAC level to help avoid the mandatory minimum. A judge is not going to be able to do that, so this is something that is going to have to be worked out with the prosecutors in advance as part of a plea agreement.
If someone has been charged with a DUI for the second time, they should reach out to a Vienna second-offense DUI lawyer. An experienced legal advocate can examine the facts of the case, reach out to potential resources, and use the available evidence to build a person’s case. A qualified DUI attorney could devote the time and resources necessary to build a solid defense.