In Washington, DC, DUI cases are treated with increasing severity and often carry serious penalties such as jail time, fines, and license revocation. As a result of these penalties, it is important you consult with a DC DUI attorney as soon as possible so that you may begin building your defense as early as possible. Below are some important factors to consider if you have been charged with a second drunk driving offense including where your case will be heard and what you should expect.
When someone is charged with a second drunk driving charge, they have an opportunity to have a jury trial. A jury trial is handled by a different set of judges than those presiding over first-time DUIs. If a person decides to have a non-jury trial, the judges are typically magistrate judges in the District of Columbia who handle a second DUI charge. A jury trial is presided over by an associate judge.
Judges are much less lenient of second offenses than first offenses. They are more concerned about making sure that the person who is convicted of a second offense DUI is deterred from repeating the offense due to the perceived danger to the community
Prosecutors are very tough on second offense DUIs because they take a dim view of someone who was convicted once and is now arrested again. It depends on how much time between the first and second offenses. If it is 14 years between a prior conviction and current charge, the prosecutors may be less aggressive than a DUI charge following a conviction from three months before.
The maximum penalty for a second offense DUI in DC is up to one year in jail. There is a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail which cannot be served on weekends. The sentence must be served 10 days in a row for a second offense DUI.
When there are more than 15 years between the conviction for the first DUI and the new charge, the first DUI cannot be used as the basis to enhance the second DUI. According to DUI sentencing guidelines in DC, there are enhanced penalties if there are less than 15 years between the first and second charge.
These potentially severe penalties make it important for DUI defense attorneys in DC to place those who have previously been convicted of drunk driving and are now facing a second offense DUI in the best possible position in to defend against the charges and mitigate the possible penalties.
When someone has a second offense DUI charge in DC, the penalties on their driver’s license depend on how much time passed between the first and the second offense.
If there is a conviction for a second DUI the suspension is much longer. A second driving under the influence charge requires at least a one-year license suspension.
Challenging a license suspension from a second DUI charge is much more difficult than after the first conviction.
There may be diversion programs available to reduce the sentence for second offenses depending on the quality of the evidence presented in the DC court.
However, prosecutors are much less likely to offer a diversion program for a second offense unless there is a significant amount of time between the first and the second offense or the evidence of the second is relatively weak. Importance of an Attorney
However, even though your trial options are different and you have the right to have your case heard in front of a jury, a second offense DUI is still considered to be a misdemeanor because you cannot be sentenced to more than one year of jail.
If you’re charged with a second DUI offense, the beginning of your case will be similar to a first offense DUI. You will still be brought before a magistrate judge, be charged with a DUI, and be released while your case is pending. However, you may expect to have stricter conditions of release compared to a first offense DUI. A judge may impose an order that you cannot drive at all while your DUI second offense case is pending even if the DC DMV hasn’t taken action against your driver’s license.
On a second offense, DUI judges may also order you, as a condition of your release, to enroll in intensive outpatient alcohol treatment. This is not a punishment for your case, it is merely a condition that judges frequently impose while your case is pending and before it has been resolved.
A DC second DUI attorney builds a defense attacking the standardized field sobriety tests using police body camera video, attacking the breath tests, or employing other strategies.
The right driving under the influence defense attorney for second charges in Washington offers an individual’s best chance at receiving the best possible outcome for the facts and circumstances of your case.
David Benowitz and his firm are the best strategic and compassionate teams you will work with. Mr. Benowitz and his team are diligent and proactive, which is further enhanced by David’s methodic and strategic approach to law. My case was a very complicated and emotionally charged case involving classified information, where I was facing three indictments, two carrying life sentences and one carrying 20 years. Mr. Benowitz utilized a network of lawyers coupled with his own strategy to navigate the case to success! I sincerely recommend David Benowitz quite literally with my life.
I found David to be very dedicated to fighting for your loved one’s rights. I also highly appreciated the fact that David kept us informed and empowered throughout the whole process.
Mr. Benowitz is an incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated professional. His commitments to social justice and community outreach are exemplary. I wholeheartedly recommend him for any matter.