Virginia Second-Offense DUI Lawyer
The consequences for a first-offense DUI are bad enough, but the consequences for a second-offense can be much worse. After a person is charged with a second-offense DUI, they will lose their license for a period of 60 days and that is not a period of time where they can get that license restricted to go to work or anywhere else for that matter. With so much at stake, it only makes sense to contact a Virginia second-offense DUI lawyer. If you have been charged with a second-offense DUI, get in touch with a qualified DUI attorney who can advocate for you.
The State’s Approach to Charges
The way prosecutors approach second-offense DUI charges depends on how long ago the first offense occurred. In some cases where the first offense was, for instance, eight to 10 years ago, the prosecutors might be willing to break it down to a first offense. That could potentially reduce or eliminate the amount of jail time that the person would have to do as a second-time offender. However, if the first offense was more recent, as within the last five years, prosecutors are much less likely to do anything other than prosecuting it as a second offense.
Courts treat second-DUI offenses with a great amount of seriousness. The courts understand that DUI is extraordinarily dangerous proposition and if a person is a repeat offender, they should expect to be treated very harshly. Second-offense DUI charges in Virginia are heard in the general district court of the jurisdiction in which a person is charged. So, if a person is charged in Prince William County with the second offense DUI, they will be tried in the Prince William County General District Court.
Penalties for a Second-Offense DUI
The penalties for a second offense DUI depend on how long ago the first offense occurred. If a person is convicted of a second offense committed within less than five years after a prior offense, then it is a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and time spent in jail for 20 days as a mandatory minimum. If the second offense is committed within a period of 5 to 10 years of a prior offense then it is the same mandatory minimum of $500 fine but the mandatory minimum jail sentence is 10 days instead of 20.
Additionally, a person will face a three-year loss of license. That license will be eligible to be restricted at some point, but the point at which a person would be eligible to have it restricted depends upon the length of time between the first and second offense. If the first offense occurred five to 10 years ago, then a person has to wait four months in order to get a restricted license. If the prior offense happened within the last five years, then a person cannot get a restricted license until after one year has passed. There are no diversion programs for second-offense DUIs.
If a person is convicted of the second offense DUI, they can lose their license for a period of three years. A person will be eligible to get that license restricted after a period of time and the length of time between suspension and restrictions depends on how long ago the predicate offense was. So, if the first offense was within five to 10 years of the present offense, a person can get their license restricted after four months. If the predicate offense took place within the last five years, a person must wait 12 months before they can get the license restricted to go to work.
Building a Defense
The defense for a DUI charge always begins with an examination of the facts from both sides –the defendant’s side as well as from the government. What sets apart a second-offense DUI from a first one, is that a Virginia second-offense DUI lawyer needs to look at the previous conviction to determine whether or not it qualifies under Virginia law as a predicate offense to enhance the punishment as a second offense.
An example would be if a person was convicted of a prior offense in another jurisdiction, such as another state like Maryland or DC, a Virginia second-offense DUI lawyer would need to look at the law from that other jurisdiction and compare it to Virginia law. If the law from the other jurisdiction is not substantially similar to the Virginia law, then the argument could be made that the prior offense cannot be counted as a predicate offense and therefore the charge should only be listed as a first offense and not a second-offense.
If a person is charged with a second offense DUI, it is an operation of law. Their license is administratively suspended for 60 days, but if they hire an attorney during those 60 days, the attorney can file a motion with the court claiming that the government did not have probable cause to place the person under arrest. If the court grants that motion and determines that there was no probable cause to place the person under arrest, then the court will re-issue or resend the administrative suspension.
Value of an Attorney
Being charged with a first-offense DUI is difficult enough. When someone receives a second-offense DUI, the stakes are significantly higher. A Virginia second-offense DUI lawyer will understand that and can devote the time and resources necessary to build your case. A meticulous attorney can examine all of the relevant evidence and facts of your case, in order to build a defense strategy that works for you. Get in touch with an attorney today and rest assured that you are in capable hands.