Baltimore Second Offense DUI Lawyer
With regards to second-offense DUI charges, prosecutors are much more vigorous in the way that they present their case and ask for punishment, which is typically more severe in a second offense than a first offense. Prosecutors really try to make it known to everyone in the district courts that these are very serious charges and that they will handle them that way. With respect to those charged, however, this means that it is necessary to consult with an experienced Baltimore second offense lawyer as you will not be able to beat these charges by yourself. A DUI lawyer in Baltimore will be able to look at the various facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest and help build the strongest defense possible.
Difference Between 1st and 2nd Offense Charges
For a second-time DUI offense, the courts assume that you’re a danger to the greater public, due to the fact that you’ve now shown a pattern of behavior—even if it’s been several years since your previous offense—and you’ve consistently managed to get stopped for drinking and driving. The assumption is that you’re endangering yourself, the people on the road around you and public properties.
The prosecutor will likely focus on the idea that you just can’t seem to learn your lesson; you were given a break the first time and yet here you are again. The prosecutor will say that you really do need to be punished in order to drive the point home, and therefore serious penalties will likely be recommended. This makes hiring a second offense DUI lawyer in Baltimore all the more important, as they can help to show all the good things you’ve done and why you aren’t a danger to the community as the prosecutor suggests.
How The Courts Treat Second Offenses
Second-offense charges are prosecuted much more vigorously than first-offense charges, and the penalties are imposed much more strictly. That means that the courts will typically impose more conditions such as supervised probation and continued treatment. They’ll put an alcohol restriction on your license if you’re convicted. Furthermore, they’ll monitor you very closely for what will probably be a longer probationary period.
Impact of Time Between DUIs
The amount of time between DUIs does matter in that the further you get away from your first DUI, the more likely a judge is to look past that previous indiscretion. If it’s been seven or eight years, for instance, a judge may not be inclined to put you in jail, even for a weekend. If it’s been more than 10 years, the judge may actually be able to grant you a second probation before judgment with the help of a Baltimore second offense DUI attorney. The legislature allows a second PBJ after 10 years, at the Judge’s discretion.
On the other hand, if you’re charged with a new DUI offense very soon after the first one, you’re likely to receive much harsher treatment from the judge, and state attorneys are certainly going to prosecute it as vigorously as possible.
Defending Second Offense Charges
For a second-offense DUI charge, a second offense DUI lawyer in Baltimore will be looking at the same things you would look at for a first DUI. In both situations, the strength of the prosecutor’s case is the most important thing and depends on an array of questions such as:
- Whether you were operating the vehicle
- Why the vehicle was originally stopped
- Was there any reasonably articulated suspicion of alcohol such as an odor of alcohol?
- Were there any standard field sobriety tests conducted and how did you perform?
- Was there a breath test?
- Was there a blood test?
All of this is evidence that the officer has to put in his or her report, and the prosecutor would have it at his or her disposal. In this respect, a second DUI charge is no different than a first DUI. And again, prosecutors still have to provide that evidence to your defense attorney so that you and your attorney can review it. Then, you have an opportunity to challenge the evidence and take it to trial if you’ve been wrongfully accused.
Difference in Defending First and Second DUI Offenses
The actual defense is the same in first and second offenses, but it’s important to understand that the stakes are a much higher because the second offense carries greater penalties. There could be a presumption that you are a habitual offender. For a defense attorney, there’s certainly more pressure to really break the case down in order to win at trial.
Importance of Legal Representation
You should work with a Baltimore second offense DUI lawyer because you always deserve equal protection under the law. It should not simply be assumed that someone is a public hazard due to a prior alcohol related offense. The most important thing for an attorney to do is ensure the fairness of the process. If someone has a prior conviction, he or she especially needs protection because there’s already an assumption by the prosecutor and they will attempt to tell the court that this person has done it once, so he or she probably did it again. These are the sorts of assumptions that erode clients’ constitutional rights, and it’s important to work with an attorney who understands how to counteract those assumptions.