Repeat DUI Offenders
Drunk driving cases involving first-time offenders can be complex. When drunk driving cases involve a defendant who has previously been charged with a DUI, it can be especially difficult to obtain a result that is favorable to the person charged with the crime. In hopes of deterring additional drunken driving incidents, many states have enacted harsher penalties for repeat DUI offenders. Those charged with a second or third DUI should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who is licensed to practice in the state in which the crime was committed; an attorney will investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest and work to reduce the charges or limit the penalties.
Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenders
A repeat DUI offender refers to a person that has a prior DUI/DWI on his or her record within a set number of years. The penalties for repeat DUI offenders vary in severity by state. In general, they include:
- Ignition interlock device: An ignition interlock device is installed in the vehicles of those who have been convicted of a DUI. In most cases, an ignition interlock device is not installed for first-time offenders (unless the circumstances of the case show extreme reckless or negligence on the part of the driver). Ignition interlock devices are more commonly installed in the vehicles of second and third-time DUI offenders.
- License suspension: For first-time DUI offenders, most states suspend the convicted driver's license for a period of three to six months. For second or third-time offenders, the license suspension lasts longer, usually for a period of six months to two years.
- Jail time: In many states, a repeat DUI defense comes with mandatory jail time.
- Ankle bracelets: High-risk DUI offenders may be fitted with alcohol detecting ankle bracelets.
- Alcohol education classes: Many repeat DUI offenders are required to complete a set number of alcohol education classes and/or AA meetings within a certain amount of time. These programs are designed to educate offenders about the health effects of alcohol and drugs, and the dangers of driving while under the influence of such substances.
- Community service: Repeat DUI offenders may be sentenced to community service.
- Fines: Repeat DUI offenders typically face higher fines than first-time offenders.
- Vehicle confiscation: Authorities may confiscate the vehicles of repeat DUI offenders. This is most common in drivers getting arrested for their third (or higher) DUI. To gain repossession of the vehicle, the offender must pay all administrative fines and fees.
Defending Repeat DUI Offenders
The punishments for repeat DUI offenders make it all the more difficult for them to make a living and move on with their lives. Those who have been charged with their second or third DUI should consult a local DUI attorney as soon as possible to learn more about their options. An attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to reckless driving; get the case dismissed due to lack of evidence or faulty evidence; or reduce the penalties associated with the DUI charge. Whatever the circumstances of your case may be, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney.