When facing sentencing for a second offense DUI charge in Washington, DC there are a variety of factors that come into play. Below, a DC DUI lawyer discusses a few of these factors and why they have an impact on sentencing overall. For more information on what you can do to help your case, call and schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney today.
Some of the most important factors that come into play during sentencing for a second time DUI offense include any treatment that a defendant has been receiving for alcohol addiction, drug addiction, prescription drug addiction, and any mental health treatment to treat any addiction problems that he or she may have.
Judges want to know what kind of steps a person has made to address any underlying alcohol or drug problems that have resulted in them being charged with a DUI more than once. Seeking out treatment for alcohol or drug addiction is never seen as an admission of guilt by a judge. The judge will see that as a positive step that a person has made towards resolving any underlying problems that have caused a person to be charged more than once with DUI.
Another factor that a judge can take into account when deciding what sentence is appropriate in a second offense DUI case includes whether a person has accepted responsibility for the DUI, as opposed to taking the case to a trial. While acceptance of responsibility cannot get a second offender below the mandatory minimum level of jail time, it can be a strong factor in convincing a judge that just the mandatory minimum level of jail time is appropriate, as opposed to any more severe penalties such as higher jail time, longer probation, or stricter conditions of probation.
A judge will consider the seriousness of the case. For example, was the person driving in an excessively dangerous manner? Was there an accident that resulted in injuries? Was the person’s blood alcohol content high enough for the judge to feel that there is a serious threat to the community? Or by contrast, were there mitigating factors such as an attempt to pull the car over to the side of the road at the point when a driver felt and recognized that they were not in any position to be able to drive. That kind of attempt to mitigate any danger to the community can also be seen as a favorable factor when a judge considers a person’s sentence.
Once again, these factors can’t be used to get a person below their mandatory minimum, but they can be used to consider whether anything higher than the mandatory minimum is or is not appropriate.
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