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Alexandria Second Offense DUI Lawyer

Second offense DUIs are are adult misdemeanors. These types of offenses are all typically heard or begin at the general District Court level, which is located on the second floor of the courthouse. Individuals facing such charges are strongly advised to speak with an accomplished Alexandria second offense DUI lawyer. Second offenses are treated very differently by courts and prosecutors and mounting a defense against allegations may require the the help of an accomplished defense attorney. A dedicated lawyer could explain your rights and champion your case.

How Prosecutors Handle Second-Offense DUI Charges

Second offense DUI charges are handled more seriously by the prosecutor, clearly since the accused has already been charged once before. Since the State of Virginia takes a harsh stance on DUIs in general, they take an even harder stance in terms of sentencing for second charge. The prosecutor makes a great effort to win the case and ensure there is severe jail time for the accused. It is crucial for accused individuals in Alexandria to have the support of a skilled second-offense DUI attorney when facing such charges.

How Second-offense DUI Charges are Prosecuted

Second offense DUIs are prosecuted more vigorously in the sense that jail time is nearly always requested. Jail time is typically required if there is a full conviction for a second-offense. Aside from the mandatory jail time, there are other steps that many prosecutors will take for a second offense. If it is very close in time to the original first offense, they typically try to go back and check if the person is violating the terms of the first offense. Violating their probation could be the first offense they are charged with. The accused may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and the prosecutor will ask for jail time. In certain cases, they may do so even on top of the mandatory minimum. Defendants may violate their probation for the first offense, depending on when the original or previous charge was, and they will also be seeking longer periods of ignition interlock and/or license suspension. Given the serious nature of second-offense DUI allegations, individuals may benefit from reaching out to a tenacious Alexandria attorney for help.

Potential Penalties for a Second-Offense DUI in Alexandria

The penalties for a second offense DUI are issued by Code. Fines may range from $500 up to $2,500 with a potential of up to a year in jail. With regard to jail time, if the offense was committed within less than five years of the original DUI conviction, the punishment is typically not less than one month in jail, 20 days of which is a mandatory minimum. If the offense was committed between 5 and 10 years of the first DUI conviction, then jail is not less than one month, 10 days of which are a mandatory minimum.

How the Amount of Time Between a First and Second Offense DUI Impacts the case

The time between DUIs plays a significant role in the case. The penalties could be higher if the present charge is within a less amount of time to the previous charge. If it is a second charge between 5 and 10 years, it is the mandatory minimum of a fine of $500 and a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail. It is higher if it is within 5 years, with a 20 days mandatory minimum jail time.

Diversion Programs or Probation Options that a Prosecutor Might Offer

It is very rare that a prosecutor will offer a diversion option for a second offense DUI. By Code, there is no diversion. There is no way out of this offense whereby someone could do community service or serve some pretrial probation in exchange for getting the case dropped afterwards. A well-practiced second-offense DUI attorney in Alexandria may advice defendants to aim for limiting the fines that one may have to pay, limiting the amount of jail time that they would have to serve, and limiting any kind of probation terms after conviction.

The probation that one would be looking for after conviction will always include some form of alcohol treatment program. It will always include some kind of license suspension or revocation (by Code, it is three years). There may also be other terms and provisions, which could include supervised probation that would include drug and alcohol testing.

How Courts Respond to Second-Offense DUI Charges

The courts take second offense DUIs as seriously as the prosecution does. They are already, by Code, considered serious offenses with mandatory minimum jail time, and not many Code sections in Virginia have that. There are mandatory minimum jail sentences for things such as weapons offenses and DUI. The courts will adhere to that minimum jail time requirement. If there is a full conviction for a second offense within five years, the court will order at least 20 days of jail time. If it is second offense within 10 years, they will order at least 10 days.

It is possible that the court will order more time than the mandatory minimum, which is simply the least amount of time that has to be served. The court may very likely consider imposing more jail time. If the prosecution asks for more than the minimum, the court is likely to agree and may also likely to impose higher fines. Courts may also consider extended terms of supervised probation, which could include drug and alcohol testing and treatment.

A second offense DUI may lead authorities to believe the defendants is reckless, has a drinking problem, and a potential danger to other drivers. When facing a second charge for drunk driving, authorities could give harsher rulings if they believe it may protect other drivers on the road in the future. While an Alexandria attorney could argue that a first-offense was a mistake, it could be harder to do so for a second-offense.

How Second Offenses are Treated Compared to First-Time Offenses

The manner in which a second DUI charge is handled depends upon the court, the judge, and the prosecutor as far as what kind of deal one is able to work out. While the probation may be the same as a first offense, it may also be different. A person could be looking at additional jail time. If someone has had alcohol treatment through the Virginia ASAP (Alcohol Safety and Action Program) during their first offense, they will likely be ordered to take it again.

This is not a step that is only required one time. The judge may impose additional jail time, more classes, and require additional weeks of counseling or drug and alcohol classes outside of the Virginia ASAP Program. An accused person could be looking at longer periods in programs of drug and alcohol substance abuse counseling and classes, and they could be looking at multiple classes and periods. They also could be facing mandatory testing.

How a Skilled Criminal Attorney Could Build a Defense for Second-Offense Charges

Attorneys in Alexandria build their defense for second offense DUI charges in many ways. They must initially review all of the facts to determine what, if any part of the case, could be defended. In some instances, it is going back to the underlying DUI itself. An attorney may check the following:

  • Is there a way to attack the DUI to defend it
  • Is there a way to show that it is not accurate
  • Is there a way to show that the client should not have been arrested for DUI
  • Is there a way to show that the client should not be convicted for DUI, much less a second DUI
  • Is there something with the breathalyzer test or the stop itself that could be suppressed.

The other issue with a second offense is the time period since the first offense. The prosecution does have to prove that it is within that 5 and 10-year period. Given this limitation, there are some cases that are right on the edge of that time span. It may be worth it to the defense to review exactly when the conviction was for the original offense versus solely defending the basic facts of the new DUI traffic stop.

Factors and Evidence That are Considered For Second DUIs

The evidence that is looked for in a second offense DUI is the same as a first offense DWI. The State and the court may try to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was driving while intoxicated, while under the influence of alcohol at a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration or above or a drug or substance which caused them to be unable and unfit to be driving in their current condition.

The prosecution will have the officer testify concerning why they responded and why the person was pulled over or stopped. The defense could question the officer regarding this this traffic stop by asking:

  • Was it because of an accident
  • Was it because of erratic behavior or poor driving
  • What was the accused’s response
  • How did the traffic stop proceed
  • How did they perform on the standard field sobriety tests
  • What was the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration level
  • Was it a blood draw
  • Was it a breath test
  • What type of evidence was received.

All of this information could be analyzed and reviewed by a court. Given that some types of evidence is unique to second-offenses while others may be used in both first and second offenses, defendants should look for an attorney that has a history of trying such cases.

Comparing Defenses For Second and First Offense DUIs

The difference in defense strategies with a first or second DUI charge is typically a matter of plea-bargaining. While it is normally the same ideas for defending the case as a whole, it is assumed that there is enough proof ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ for the DUI itself. The biggest defense for a second time DUI is limiting the person’s exposure to jail time and extending probation for a second offense. The attorney is going to be working very hard with the client and the prosecutor to find reasons to ask for the prosecutor to amend the filing or drop the charge down from a second offense back to a first offense.

While the charge would technically still be a second offense, there are ways that the court could view it as if it were a first offense. In such circumstances, the court may not carry the mandatory jail time and reduce the amount of license suspension which would be required for a three year period.

If a defense attorney is able to argue the charge back down to a ‘second first offense,’ they could:

  • Go back to original terms
  • Go back to negotiating jail time
  • Ask for less than three years on a license suspension
  • Ask for different probationary terms.

What happens to a driver’s license after a second DUI charge in Alexandria?

With a second DUI charge conviction comes an immediate revocation of the person’s license for three years, and that revocation begins when the person leaves the courtroom and hands their license to the court clerk. The court clerk takes their license and returns it to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for the State of Virginia. At that point, it will not be returned for three years.

Consequences of a Second Offense DUI Conviction

When a driver is convicted of a second DUI charge, they:

  • Lose their license for three years
  • Will have to spend at least 10 days mandatory minimum in jail*
  • Will be paying court fines of $500 or more
  • Will be looking at supervised probation
  • They will be looking at full-time monitoring of:
    • What they are doing
    • What their work status is
    • What their drug and alcohol testing is
    • What, if any, substance abuse classes and programs they are attending

The minimum mandatory jail time for a second offense DUI will greatly depending upon the time period since the first DUI. If it is within five years, they typically have 20 days mandatory minimum to serve in jail.

Differences in Challenging the Suspension of a License After a Second Time DUI Charge

The mandatory three-year suspension for a second offense makes fighting a license suspension difficult. If the defense attorney is able to get negotiate the charge into a second first offense, there is a possibility to have their license restricted through ‘ignition interlock,’ or only suspended for one year instead of three years. It should be noted that there are very few ways, if any, to work around the mandatory suspension with a second offense.

Let an Alexandria second offense DUI lawyer Help

An Alexandria second offense DUI lawyer could review the facts of your DUI case to explain what rights may be available to the accused. A seasoned attorney could examine what evidence authorities may use, and could use their experience with local courts and prosecutors to work with authorities towards coming to a resolution that is favorable to the accused. Call today to learn your rights and begin building your defense.

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