The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that one out of every 121 licensed drivers is arrested for DUI.
Driving under the influence comes with hefty consequences, but a majority of offenders still face a second DUI charge. Being arrested for a second DUI increases the penalties, for example, more expensive fines and a longer jail term.
You also risk having your license revoked, especially if the conviction for second DUI takes place within ten years after the first.
For a prosecutor to have you convicted a second time, they must prove that you were operating a motor vehicle. They also must show that you had a BAC of 0.8% or higher at the time of arrest.
Keep on reading to learn more!
Penalties for Second DUI Cases
The mandatory sentences that exist under the law for a second DUI conviction include the following:
1. Jail Term
The possible jail term you face is a minimum of 96 hours and a maximum of twelve months. The jail time will be accompanied by a fine of between $390 and $1,000. The amount will be higher than what you got for the first DUI offense.
The court has the discretion to have you serve your jail term in place of the fine.
2. License Suspension
If you’re charged with a second DUI offense within ten years after the first, your license will be revoked. It might also be suspended for at least twelve months. The revocation or suspension will be longer than for the first DUI conviction.
You’ll be entitled to a restricted license three months after the conviction. Until then, you won’t have any driving privileges. Note that the permit is only issued provided your driving license is not expired.
It also must not have been revoked for any other reason. The restricted license is valid for only 30 days until revocation goes into effect. The license enables you to drive to and from work or court for the suspension period.
The restricted license is only issued after the successful completion of the DUI program. You also must submit proof of financial responsibility. The law also requires you to complete 90 days of suspension for a case involving alcohol and twelve months for a drug-related matter.
If you refuse to take a chemical test in a second DUI case, your punishment will be harsher. The court will suspend your license for two years. You also won’t qualify for a restricted license in that period.
3. DUI Classes
A second DUI arrest will require you to attend mandatory DUI classes within 21 days after sentencing.
The objectives of the program are to reduce the number of repeat offenses by persons who undergo the program. The program also allows the participants to address the problems they face concerning alcohol and drug use.
The programs vary in their qualities, locations, costs, and structure. You can find a program that runs for twelve hours, three to nine months, 18 months, or 30 months.
It’s advisable to look for one that suits your schedule and location so that you maximize your time there.
Note that you can’t take the classes online as these don’t meet the requirements for DUI programs.
What if you’re unable to attend the classes regularly?
Most of the programs are flexible. They allow you up of a certain number of absences. The requirement is that you must make up for the missed classes before the end of the program.
Being absent from the class for more than the stipulated number of times will have you dropped from the program. Prolonged absence from the program equates to a violation of your program. Failure to complete the classes also leads to the provocation of your restricted license.
If the court is notified that you didn’t complete the course, it may issue a warrant of arrest.
4. AA Meetings
Besides a DUI class program, the court may impose additional sentences that require you to attend AA programs. Other programs are Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and others that reinforce the seriousness of a DUI.
The judge may require you to participate in a one-day Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program.
5. Ignition Interlock Device
A court has the discretion to require you to have an Ignition Interlock Device in the first instance of DUI. On the second charge, any car you drive must have the IID installed after the suspension period.
This is one of the conditions for your probation.
An ignition interlock device inhibits a person from driving if they have a certain amount of alcohol in the body system. The device measure’s the individual’s alcohol level in their breath and registers their level of alcohol consumption.
A person is intoxicated if they have a BAC of 0.8% and over. However, under Vehicle Code 2352 (a), you might be convicted of DUI with a BAC of less than 0.8%.
Requirements for Ignition Interlock Device Installation
If a judge rules that you should install the interlock device, there are a few things you need to do. First, you need to pay a $45 administrative fee and provide Insurance Proof Certificate to the traffic department.
You’ll also have to meet the cost of installation and have it installed by a professional.
The costs of installation range from approximately $75 to $150. For offenders on low income and who may not afford it, there’s a financial assistance program that can cover 50% of the cost.
There are maintenance costs of about $50 each time the device is presented for calibration.
Despite having the device installed, remember you still have to serve the suspension period. It’s usually 30 days long. You must install the device on every vehicle you own apart from motorcycles and company-owned vehicles.
As a second DUI offender, the IID must remain installed for twelve months.
If in case there was an accident and an injury occurred, it’ll stay in place for two years. If caught while driving on a suspended license, you’ll have it for three years.
These rules apply to all drivers convicted of a second DUI regardless of where the offense took place.
How Can a Lawyer Help You in a Second DUI Case?
Being arrested a second time for driving under the influence is a daunting challenge.
Most offenders don’t hire an attorney for the first offense. In the second DUI case, it’s best if you work with a DUI attorney. You need to hire one immediately after your arrest to have them look at your case in the shortest time possible.
Creating an effective DUI defense is an involving process. Some of the reasons why you need to hire an attorney are as follows:
1. Collection and Analysis of Evidence
A good DUI defense lawyer knows which evidence to collect in favor of your case.
The process entails summoning the relevant witnesses who’ll support your case. The attorney may also obtain videos from the police vehicle, showing your stop and all accompanying audio recordings.
The videos are relevant because they prove the police’s reason for stopping you as right or wrong. For example, if they say they stopped you because you didn’t have a front license plate, the video will show if it was indeed missing.
2. Legal Research and Writing
Besides the collection and analysis of evidence, an attorney also put the pieces of evidence together. They’ll then draw up a motion in support of your case. If you feel that the officers in your arrest maltreated you, your attorney can file a Pitchess Motion.
A Pitchess motion should be filed before the trial begins. The more an attorney digs from the file of the officer in question, the stronger your case will be against the officer.
As a defendant, you’re entitled to request for information from an officer’s’ file if you feel he or she was biased in arresting you.
3. Plea Bargaining
An attorney is a professional in the best position to settle your case to your satisfaction. Most DUI cases don’t get to the trial stage, probably because they have a good attorney representing them. It helps if your attorney has good working relations with the District Attorneys.
Their discussions on your case can help you get less severe sentencing.
What to Do When Stopped for DUI
Your case will be easier for you and our attorney if you can observe a few important things when stopped for DUI.
1. Maintain the Right Attitude
Passing the “attitude test” is very crucial when dealing with the police. Use polite words like Sir or Madam to let the cops know you respect their power. It’s easy to convict yourself in a DUI case if you resist arrest or act disrespectfully.
While you have rights during an arrest, use them respectfully.
2. Don’t Confess to Drinking
In as much as you want to be cooperative to pass the “attitude test,” by any means don’t confess you had a drink. In the officer’s perspective, this kind of honesty isn’t respectful.
You’ll only hand them the evidence they need to use against you in court.
At this point, all that you need to give to the police if your driver license, insurance information, and vehicle registration if requested. Anything you say can be misquoted, used against you, mistaken, or misunderstood.
Police can also report it as rambling, mumbling, or slurred speech, purporting you were drunk.
3. Don’t Agree to A Field Sobriety Test
A police officer who administers a sobriety test has already decided to arrest you.
The test includes standing on one foot, walking on a straight line, or putting a finger in your nose. Whether you’ve been drinking or not, don’t agree to the test.
Behind your mind, you should know that there’s no correlation between performance and the test. The police know this already, and you need not explain. The test is just a means they use to justify arresting you.
4. Don’t Take the Roadside Breath Test
This applies to people over 21 years and who aren’t on probation for DUI. Don’t take the preliminary alcohol screening test even if you haven’t been drinking. What should you do instead?
Upon being arrested, request to have the breath test at the station. Don’t have your blood drawn unless you can’t give a breath test. If you’re supposed to do a back-up test for any reason, give urine, not blood.
5. Be Careful What You Say Afterwards
After you’ve given your breath sample, you’ll want to remain quiet. Don’t try to befriend the officers and if you call anyone, watch your words. If you admit to drinking to anyone over the phone, this will be noted in the report and will work against you.
6. Hire an Attorney
The chances of winning your case are higher if you work with a DUI attorney. A great lawyer can help you navigate successfully through this case, providing you with answers to all your questions.
The sooner you get one, the better for your situation.
Knowing how to behave after the police stop you will go a long way in helping your case. The less you say, the safer you’ll be.
Having a second DUI case isn’t as easy as with a first one. The penalties are usually stricter, and the jail term longer if you earn it. A court will revoke or suspend your license for not less than three months.
Other verdicts include enrollment into AA, MADD, and HAM programs. Failure to complete the programs indicates a violation of your probation. The court can issue a warrant of arrest against you in such a case.
There’s also the option of installation of Ignition Interlock Device. This detects your alcohol consumption level and automatically locks the engine if you’re drunk beyond 0.8%. The cost of installation and maintenance of the IID is upon you.
To increase the chances of winning a second DUI case, hire a professional and well-experienced attorney. Besides, avoid saying too much upon your arrest as this can be used against you by the police.
Knowing your rights and using them correctly will also increase your chances of getting a less severe DUI ruling.
If you’re looking for a lawyer in San Antonio, consider contacting us to help you with your case.