Any second offense is considered more serious and the penalties are higher, especially for DUI offenses. Prosecutors have a different mindset and are going to treat those cases more seriously meaning diversion programs may not be offered. Ignition interlock devices will also need to be implemented in a second-time offender’s car following their charge, whereas that is not required for first offenses, which are viewed with more leniency.
With these things in mind, if you are facing a drunk driving charge for the second time, it is important to build a defense early on with the help of a Ft Lauderdale second-offense DUI lawyer. An experienced DUI defense attorney can be helpful in building a strong defense to mitigate any potential penalties you may receive with your second offense.
Court Treatment of Second-Offense DUIs
If the second offense is a felony, that would be handled in Circuit Court. The only time a second offense would be a felony is if it were a case involving serious bodily injury or death. All other second offense DUI cases are misdemeanors and handled in the county courts.
Courts will want to have an individual under supervision/probation, for a longer period of time on a second offense. On a first offense, an individual will receive six months of supervision or probation. On a second drunk driving offense, depending on the facts and circumstances, nine months or maybe even 12 months supervision or probation may be given. The key factors in the Court’s decision would include:
- Time in between the first and second offense
- Other offenses the individual had on their record
- How old they are
- Their driving record
- Aggravating facts or circumstances in their case
- If they were involved in an accident
- If there was a breathalyzer test performed and what the result was
- If there were any open alcoholic containers
Courts tend to keep longer supervision over an individual who comes through the system multiple times. Courts generally conclude that a higher degree of supervision and control over an individual is necessary for a second DUI. A lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale could prepare someone for the court system if they are facing a second DUI offense.
Potential Penalties for Second DUI Offenses
The consequences are more significant for second-offense DUIs because the penalties are higher on a second offense, especially if that offense occurs within five years of that first one. A person is more likely to go to trial for a second drunk driving offense because if they do not go to trial, the chrages will trigger significant penalties even without a trial, i.e., the five-year loss of license and the 10 days in jail. The jury in a jury trial is generally not allowed to hear that an individual has had a prior DUI when considering whether or not they are guilty of a second drunk driving offense.
There are some exceptions to that rule and if a person is not careful, they can have that rule waived. As far as a jury trial is concerned, the first offense and second offense are handled the same, but the ramifications and the penalties are different. An attorney in Ft. Lauderdale could mitigate the potential penalties for a second DUI offense.
Contacting a Fort Lauderdale Second Offense DUI Attorney
The second offenses tend to be litigated a bit heavier and defendants may want to consider engaging in depositions because of the consequences. The same constitutional issues involving the legality of the traffic stop, the legality of the arrest, probable cause for the arrest, and practices utilized by law enforcement are present in these cases for Ft Lauderdale second-offense DUI lawyers to analyze in their defense.
A skilled attorney could analyze the evidence or lack thereof that the prosecutor has, file any motions to dismiss or suppress evidence that might be available, analyze the admissibility of the breathalyzer results and whether or not they can be attacked. The defense is generally the same on a first or a second DUI, but the experience of a lawyer is essential in building a strong defense.