Howard County Second Offense DUI Lawyer
First offense DUIs can be a stain on an individual’s record. Second offense DUIs are represented even more poorly on someone’s record, especially if the second offense happened relatively close to the first offense. Below, a Howard County DUI lawyer speaks on how second offense DUIs are treated in the court system and the importance of working with a DUI lawyer.
Prosecution of Second Offense DUIs in Howard County
Second time offense DUIs are always heard in the District Court. Second time DUI charges are always prosecuted more vigorously by the State Attorney’s office because they are in a position to show the prior offense. The person, in the court’s opinion, did not learn their lesson and is now a habitual offender and a threat to the greater public good.
The general assumption for someone charged with a second offense DUI is that the person is an alcoholic, reckless, and a danger to themselves and the community.
Importance of Working With a Howard County Defense Attorney
A person hires an attorney to separate the first offense from the second. If they are going to trial, it is important to stay within the facts of the second offense, not the first offense. The relevance of the first offense is not present. This is a totally different traffic stop at a totally different time. The second offense, if it were ever to come up, would be in the penalty phase, if the person lost their case. Prior to that, the person has a right to their defense. The matter should be vigorously defended by the attorney of their choice.
An individual always deserves equal protection under the law. They always deserve to face their accuser regarding the current matter in court. If a person chooses to have a trial and has good facts, everything related to that offense should be the main focus of the trial; not a prior event. The case being heard that day in court is the one and only thing that matters.
Prejudice Against Second Offense DUI Charges
A second time offense DUI gets more attention from the State’s Attorney’s office. It is prosecuted in a way where the prosecutor tries to focus on a person’s prior acts and that the person has an issue.
A second offense DUI charge is taken very seriously. The judge treats the second time offender with substantially different penalties. The person charged is looking at an extended probation period. The expectation is that the individual completed extensive treatment and if they haven’t done that, it will be assigned to them as part of the conditions of probation. The person could very well face a weekend or two in prison or longer.
Penalties For a Second Offense DUI
Second offense DUI carries one year in jail and a $1000 fine as a DUI offense. As a second offense, there is now a multiplier that makes it a two year maximum penalty and a $2000 maximum fine.
Amount of Time Between DUIs
The more time between DUIs, the better it looks. If someone had a first offense 20 years ago and now there is a second offense, the effect of that first offense is reduced somewhat. The effect of the first DUI is not completely reduced because it certainly happened. If the state can demonstrate that it happened, the person has to answer to that if they accept a plea or are convicted. But the statue, the legislature says that after ten years a person is eligible to be granted a second probation before judgment. That is up to the judge.
Building a Defense As a Howard County Defense Lawyer
Defending a second offense DUI is no different than defending a first offense DUI. The attorney is focused solely on the recent event.
The observations of the officer are very important. Why was the person stopped? What observations of the person were made by the officer? Did the officer detect the odor of alcohol? Was the officer able to reasonably articulate the suspicion that the person was, in fact, under the influence? Was the person able to perform the Standard Field Sobriety Tests as instructed? Were they properly explained? Did the results of the instructions and Standard Field Sobriety Tests indicate that the person was under the influence? If so, did the person submit to the breath test?
Differences Defending Second Offense v. First Offense
Defending a second offense DUI is not completely different from a first time DUI. The substance of every case, every element must be met by the state. In defending the charge, the attorney is cognizant of the fact that every element must be proven. For the charge to be found guilty, every element must be met by evidence presented by the state. The state bears the burden of that proof. An attorney prosecutes the second offense DUI in the same way, understanding that as a second time offender, the client is vulnerable to enhanced penalties.