In Virginia, second offense DUIs are taken much more seriously. Since there is an existence of a previous DUI offense, prosecutors and judges will increase the penalties. Many judges want the individual to understand the severity of the offense and take advantage of the alcohol safety programs. A Virginia second offense DUI lawyer is essential for building a defense against these charges.
If you are facing DUI charges and have a previous DUI record, it is critical to speak to a credible DUI attorney. There is less leniency for a second offense, and an attorney can make a difference for your case. A local attorney understands the Virginia DUI policies, and can challenge the state’s evidence and statements on your behalf.
Second offense DUIs are considered extremely serious. The problem with second offense DUIs is that it shows the prosecutors a pattern. It shows that the person cannot be deterred. It shows that the person is a danger to the community because they are consistently driving under the influence. It is something that also causes problems for the prosecution and the judge because they think that no combination of factors is going to go ahead and keep the person from this doing this again so they definitely want to treat it a little bit more harshly.
Second offense DUI charges are still going to be heard in general district court, again, depending on the severity, depending on whether or not somebody was injured during the course of a DUI. Depending on the factors if there is nothing else attached, if there are no more serious charges attached then it is going to be heard in general district court. If there is something more serious attached then it will still be first heard in general district court but the trial itself will be heard upstairs in circuit court.
The penalties for second DUI offenses generally are the same as first DUI offenses. If a person is charged with a DUI, they are going to get up to 12 months in jail, they are going to get up to a $2,500.00 fine, they are going to have a license loss of three years, and they are going to have the associated alcohol safety action program that they have to complete as well.
However, if it is a second DUI within a certain period of time then there is a factor that will be triggered. Basically, it will be much more serious for the person. If it is a person’s second DUI offense within five years then they are facing a mandatory minimum of 20 days. What that means is that if the person is brought in for a second DUI offense and they are found guilty, they can get up to 12 months in jail but, of that time, the mandatory minimum will be 20 days. The judge cannot give the person less than that no matter what happens if a person is convicted. If it is a person’s second DUI offense within 10 years then it is a mandatory minimum of 10 days. Certainly, there are heightened punishments for that and then along with that come heightened fines. If it is a person’s second DUI offense within five years then they are going to be a mandatory minimum fine of $500.00 and it could be up to $2,500.00 and if it is a second in 10, it is a mandatory minimum of $500.00 as well. In addition, if the blood alcohol content is .15 or more, there is an additional 10-day mandatory jail term.
The alcohol safety action program is a mandatory alcohol course and it usually comprises of substance abuse evaluation and treatment courses. What it purports to do is evaluate a person for the risk of substance abuse and prevent the person from doing it in the future.
When someone is facing their second DUI charge, there are heightened penalties and fines. Second offense DUI charges are considered misdemeanors and are going to be heard in the general court. An experienced DUI attorney is essential to building a solid defense.
If you are facing a second offense DUI charge, consult an experienced Virginia second offense DUI lawyer who understands the local DUI policies and penalties. Since a second offense is taken seriously, it is critical that you receive appropriate legal counsel.