College Park Second Offense DUI

A second offense DUI in College Park is a serious matter which, due to the repeat nature of the offense, generally requires a strong defense. With this in mind, it is important for those accused to consult with a  College Park second DUI lawyer to help contest the DUI charges, or mitigate the potential consequences. An experienced DUI lawyer in College Park can help protect the rights of the accused and ensure that they put forth the strongest defense possible based on the evidence and facts of the case.

Severity of a Second Offense

The general assumption if someone’s DUIs are very close in time is that they have a drinking problem and which was not addressed properly or which they did not take seriously. Some judges will very candidly and openly court address that assumption in court, questioning how they can trust a second time DUI offender with another opportunity. This is where it is important to have an attorney lined up right away that can get the individual into any programming or alcohol assessment meetings, including AA or NA meetings, that can help show that they are taking the charges seriously.

A College Park second DUI lawyer can also help raise defenses to the charge. Perhaps the drinking issue came along at a later time, or perhaps this officer recalled that they previously stopped the driver and therefore stopped them again. It is not out of the question that an officer will see a familiar face and stop that person. Regardless of the defense, it is incredibly important and can not be stressed enough that a person charged with a second DUI, should get in contact with a College Park second DUI lawyer right away.

Mitigating Factors

The time between the DUIs definitely matters, because the legislature says that after 10 years a driver can become eligible for a second Probation Before Judgment, or a first Probation Before Judgment if they were not given the benefit of one the first time. It is not easy to obtain that eligibility from a judge without showing promise, however. A driver must show that there is reason to believe that this could just simply be a second isolated event. It takes a lot of effort and work from the attorney to show that someone charged with a second DUI is in fact a reliable person.

A College Park second DUI lawyer will try to show that it was just a poor choice by an otherwise good-character individual, and that while there was a prior years ago, it was an isolated event. From there it comes down to what the driver has done to show these were isolated events, and that is important. To win at trial, the defense needs to be able to settle this kind of stuff from the very beginning, because there is an extensive amount of work that needs to be done, not just by the attorney, but by the driver as well.

Building a Defense

Looking at all the basic elements of the DUI stop, whether it is a first, second or third offense, is very important. Attorneys know that for a second offense, putting their client on the stand is not as easy as the first time. It is very difficult to put an individual on the stand who has a prior offense, because that second offense will be held against them no matter what the prosecution says. What the prosecution can do is pull in your testimony with a little bit less credit, because the judge may believe that since you have been through this before you are more inclined not to be truthful. They just compare the credibility of the testimony given by you and the officer, and in the end they may find one more credible than the other. 

An experienced attorney will go back to the basics of the case. Why did the officer stop the vehicle? What contact did he make? What statements were given? What observations were made by the officer? Did he do a standard field sobriety test? If so, what were the results? A College Park second DUI attorney will want to know everything that the officer observed so they can look for defense strategies. For instance, if the officer simply stopped the driver with no good reason, then perhaps they can suppress the breath test that was taken or show the stop wasn’t reasonable.

Penalties on a Maryland Driver’s License

If you have a Maryland license it will be seized by the officer and turned in to the MVA. You get the same forms that you would for a first-time offense. You have the right to request a Motor Vehicle Administrative Hearing. What we are looking for then is the gap in time between your first and second offense as related to eligibility for suspension with restriction. If you are not eligible for a restricted license, are you required to go on the Ignition Interlock program or are you eligible for it? It is very important that you contact your attorney right away.

Challenging a License Suspension

The difference in challenging suspensions really comes down to whether the officer has good reasons to stop you or the refusal was not done willingly or knowingly, or that something was irregular about the stop or the conduct of the officer.

That is where the initial challenge comes in. If you have been convicted you are basically suggesting that this is an isolated event, that you are of good moral character, that you have been driving for a long period of time, and that you have made all efforts to correct your one fault. Your argument is that penalizing you further, administratively, by taking your license and driving privilege is too much. The Administrative Law Judge will listen to all that when it is presented by your lawyer.

Applying for a Restricted License

You cannot apply for a restricted license.You have 10 days to request the Motor Vehicle Administrative Hearing and it is $150. If there is no reason to request a hearing then you want to make sure your lawyer advises or at least goes over it with you so that you both agree. You really need to get your attorney on the phone if this happens, especially if it is your second offense. and it is up to the Administrative Law Judge as to whether they grant it or not. They will weigh how close in time the first and second offenses are. If you just had a first offense and just completed probation and a week later you are cited with a second DUI, you will probably not get much mercy from the Administrative Law Judge. Which is why, if you had an attorney from the very beginning, they can suggest you try to become part of the Ignition Interlock program, which is also $150.