Second Offense DUI: What You Need To Know When You Are Likely To Be Found Guilty
Any DUI conviction is serious, but repeat offenses are especially incriminating. If you "got off easy" with your first offense, with some probation, community service, or a suspension of driving privileges, you cannot expect the same thing with a repeat offense. It will be harder to convince the judge that you are truly sorry for your actions or that you can be reformed with a lighter sentence, since a repeat offense indicates a lack remorse, even if you are truly sorry. Here are some things you need to know about your options when it comes to fighting or negotiating a second DUI charge.
1. You could go to jail.
Jail time is not essential for a first offense, but it is common and even mandatory for second or third DUI charges. If you are found guilty, count on spending some time in jail. Your DUI attorney can negotiate the terms of your incarceration and you can plead down for a reduced sentence, but it's wise to make arrangements for your family or education in order to prepare for the time you will spend in prison.
2. Be careful when negotiating plea deals.
Plea deals are a great way to help reduce the severity of your sentence. The prosecutor may offer reduced jail time and other concessions, like lower fines or fewer years of probation following release, in exchange for your guilty plea. Your lawyer might advise you to take the deal if there is a very slight chance of proving innocence. However, plea deals themselves can be a trap. Don't answer questions or acknowledge statements like, "You and I both know you had alcohol in your vehicle." If you make affirmative statements, even just a nod, these could be used against you later in court. Instead, remain silent or stay neutral by replying with, "You don't have evidence," or "That is just a speculation."
3. Your case could be dismissed.
In the case a of DUI, even second offenses, cases can be dismissed by the judge. The prosecutor knows this, and if trial day comes and the changes of dismissal are great, he or she might approach you with an excellent plea deal. If you get a great offer on the day of your trial, you need to do some digging before you accept the offer. If your case has the chance of being dismissed, then a deal would be worse for you. One of the most common reasons is that the officer who arrested you for a DUI does not show up to testify. Without the officer's testimony and evidence, the case against you must be dropped.