If facing a second DUI offense in Washington, DC it is important that you know what to expect and plan accordingly in order to give yourself the best chance at minimizing the harm of your charges. With this in mind, the following is what you should know about how second DUI offenses are prosecuted. To learn more and begin preparing a defense, consult with a DC DUI lawyer today.
Second offense DUI charges are eligible for a mandatory minimum of ten days of jail time and a potential maximum penalty that increases from 180 days for a first offense to one year in jail for a second. They are still considered misdemeanors, but the fact that they are second offenses makes them eligible for increased penalties.
Due to this fact, the Attorney General’s Office prosecutes second offense DUIs very aggressively. Once a person has been charged with a DUI, if the Attorney General’s Office finds out that the person has a prior DUI from the past fifteen years in any other state or the District of Columbia, then they would file a notice of enhancement with the judge and with the defense. That notice of enhancement lets everyone know that this person has a prior DUI and as a consequence of that, this person is eligible for the increased penalties laid out by D.C. law.
Filing that enhancement is a prerequisite for making a person eligible for treatment as a second time offender.
In that notice of enhancement the prosecutors are required to include enough information that would allow the defense attorney to be able to research the prior offense and determine whether or not it qualifies as a prior offense under D.C. law. In the event that the prosecutors can treat someone as a second time offender, it is very rare for them to backtrack and agree to treat someone as a first time offender, which would make them no longer eligible for mandatory jail time.
This means that in the event that someone has a prior DUI within the past fifteen years, prosecutors in Washington, D.C. will almost always push forward on attempting to get that person treated as a second time offender and on seeing to it that that person receives, at the very least, mandatory jail time.
It is for this reason, that defense attorneys who have clients with previous DUI convictions treat those cases with the highest level of seriousness, understanding that prosecutors will be aggressively trying to put that client in jail.
They are absolutely treated more vigorously than first time offenses. In certain situations, first time offense DUIs may be eligible to receive decreased charges, dismissed charges, or the possibility of probation with no jail time and certain benefits to avoid the harshest kind of penalties that a person could receive in a criminal case.
However, in a second offense DUI, the prosecutors do not make those options available and instead move forward on seeking jail time in just about every single second offense DUI case.
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