With most crimes, a formal penalty is not imposed until you are actually convicted of the offense by entering a plea or being found guilty at trial. But a DUI, especially a second DUI, is different. On being arrested for drunk driving, regardless of whether you’re ultimately convicted, you will likely face administrative consequences. And then conviction of a second DUI may bring additional criminal penalties. So without qualified legal representation, you will likely be facing more expensive fines, a longer jail time, and longer, more intensive DUI programs, all of which means a more restricted life.
Administrative Penalties for a Second DUI
The specific administrative penalties for a second DUI (which occurs within a specified period after a first DUI in most states) vary from state to state, but here are some of the most common and most stringent:
- Enhanced or “hard” driver’s license suspension for up to two years and related fees
- Required installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on any and all vehicles you drive
- Annual DMV license surcharge of up to $2,000 for up to three years
- Mandatory attendance at a DUI program, which can take 18 to 30 months for completion and requires proof of completion
- Possible collateral penalties such as attendance at AA, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and other programs
Criminal Penalties for a Second DUI
A first DUI is almost always a misdemeanor (unless a death was involved), but a second DUI in some states and under certain conditions may be a felony. In Oklahoma, for example, a second DUI is always a felony offense if you had a prior conviction within the past ten years – and that includes out-of-state convictions. And in some states (Texas, for instance), there is no “look-back period,” which means that a prior DUI conviction, no matter how long ago, will make any subsequent conviction count as a second DUI. Criminal penalties typically include:
- 30 days to one year in jail
- Fines of up to $4,000
- Various fees and penalty assessments
- Up to two years of probation
- Mandatory completion of DUI education classes, including substance-abuse evaluation and possibly rehab
- 80 to 200 hours of community service
Actual jail time depends on several factors. Typically, state statutes set a minimum jail sentence, but this minimum is often longer than the time an offender will actually spend in jail. The things that can shorten jail time include suspended sentences, credits for good in-custody behavior, and jail-alternative work programs.
Why You Need an Experienced Local Attorney
In all states, you can be convicted of DUI for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs. And in some states, you can even be convicted if you weren’t actually impaired while driving. This is called a “per se” DUI, and it occurs when you were operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%or higher.
DUI laws in all states are complex and complicated, and the facts and circumstances in each and every case are different. That’s why, if you’ve been arrested for or charged with DUI, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney in your area who will know how best to proceed with your particular case. Only an attorney in your state and with a solid grasp of the rules in your specific jurisdiction will know how laws apply to your specific situation and how to approach it.
So a second DUI conviction carries enormously costly fines, stiff penalties including jail time, and severe driving restrictions. And that’s why an experienced, local DUI attorney is so essential. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact a member of the Trusted Lawyers Network at TrustedLawyers.com to discuss your case.