Second Offense DUI Charges in Chantilly
Second offense DUI charges in Chantilly are taken very seriously by the court, especially when compared to first time offenses. The court will consider the fact that this is not a person’s first time being charged with a DUI, and, therefore, the penalties for a second offense will generally be significantly heightened.
Due to this fact and the overall consequences that a person can face for being charged with a second offense DUI in Chantilly, it is imperative that they speak with a Chantilly DUI lawyer as soon as possible to ensure they have the opportunity to receive a strong defense and the chance to minimize the penalties of their charges.
How the Court Handles These Charges
Second offense DUI charges in Chantilly are heard in general district court in Fairfax County.
Chantilly prosecutors take second offense DUI charges very, very seriously. Depending on when the second offense occurred, there could be heightened sentences imposed. A second offense DUI charge in Chantilly indicates to the prosecutor and to the judge that the person has a type of escalating pattern, which makes them more likely to want to deter this behavior in the future with an active jail time. A person will probably get some kind of increased fine and other increased penalties simply because it is taken much more seriously.
Depending on when a person’s second offense DUI occurred and when their conviction occurs, they can have a heightened punishment, including a mandatory minimum time that the court has to impose on a person regardless of the facts of the case should they have a conviction.
The penalties for a Chantilly second offense DUI charge is going to depend on the facts of the case. If it is a misdemeanor, a person can face up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. Furthermore, if a second conviction for a DUI occurs within 10 years of a person’s first conviction for a DUI, there is going to be a 10-day mandatory minimum jail time. If a person’s second offense occurred within five years, then they are going to face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 days. The mandatory penalties increase if there is an elevated blood alcohol content proven in the case.
Ultimately, the sooner a person’s DUI, or the closer their DUIs are together in time, the worse it is for the person.
Also, in Chantilly, a person’s driver’s license is going to be suspended for 3 years if convicted of a second offense DUI. The person can ask for a restricted license after a certain period of time, but because it is a statutory suspension, most likely, they are not going to be successful in that. If they are convicted of a second offense within 10 years, they are going to have their license suspended.
Building a Defense
There certainly is a difference between defending a second offense DUI charge in Chantilly versus a first offense DUI because the stakes are so much higher. When defending a second offense DUI, the bigger picture needs to be looked at. If the facts are against the individual, it may make sense to have the charge amended to a first offense DUI in working out with the prosecutor rather than to go to trial and face the harsher penalties of a second offense depending on when the second offense occurred.
There could likewise be additional mandatory minimums, so a creative approach to negotiations with the prosecutor could involve amending the charges to something else when looking at all of these things.
Depending on the facts of the case, such as whether or not there are field sobriety tests to look at, whether or not there is a video to look at, whether or not the officer pulled the person over correctly at the beginning of the traffic stop interaction, an attorney can adjust their defense accordingly. By doing so, they can expose the flaws in the prosecutor’s case and can give the defendant the best possible chance at suppressing some of the evidence or having them to be found not guilty.