Building a Defense for a Third Offense DUI

As a Vienna DUI lawyer, one of the first steps in building a defense for a third offense DUI charge is by attacking the fact that the charge is a third offense and trying to find a way for it to get charged as either a first or second offense. After that, it is time to look at all the issues that come along with the DUIs. Was the traffic stop valid? Were the field sobriety tests performed to the national standards? Did they indicate impairment or intoxication? Or were the problems with the field sobriety tests minor? Are there any indicators within the field sobriety test that the person was not intoxicated? What did the video show? What did the preliminary breath test show? Was it administered correctly?

There are many things that the defense can attack and defend when defending a third offense DUI, and an experienced Vienna DUI lawyer will approach the third offense the same way as any DUI, which is collecting all of the evidence, finding the weak points within, and attempting to get as much of the evidence as possible thrown out so that the prosecution cannot meet the burden of their case.

Factors to Consider and Evidence to Look For

The factors to consider and the evidence to look for in a third offense DUI is going to depend on the case. Examples of the things that will be looked for are:

  • What reason did the office have for initially stopping the vehicle? Was that a valid reason?
  • Was the officer stopping the vehicle on a hunch?
  • How much alcohol was consumed up to the time of the arrest?
  • Were there any statements made during the arrest to the officer and what were those statements?
  • How was the field sobriety test administered?
  • Were the directions for the field sobriety test accurately stated according to the specifications?

I’m going to be looking for all of this type of evidence and any other evidence that is available to me. Were there videos? Was there an audio recording? Were there any witnesses? All of information is extremely important to help me build that case for a third defense DUI.

Defending a Third Offense DUI vs. a First Offense DUI

Defending a third offense DUI in Vienna is different from defending a first offense DUI because it is a much more serious offense. A third offense DUI is a felony, and there are not going to be two chances. There is not going to be the opportunity to automatically appeal and get a new trial like there is at the General District Court level.

From the very first moment that a lawyer starts working on a third offense DUI, they are preparing for trial. They are preparing to put the case either in front of a jury or in front of a judge, and are preparing all the evidence that needs to be brought in.

Because third offense DUIs are so serious, they often go to trial as opposed to working out some kind of negotiation with the prosecutor. The prosecutors are a lot less likely to want to negotiate some kind of bargain for somebody who is charged with a third offense DUI. If, however, a prosecutor offers to amend the charge to a first or second offense DUI, or to reduce the reported BAC on the charging document, this would significantly decrease the penalties associated with a conviction and could potentially be a good resolution. Each case depends on the facts and on the specific needs of the client.

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