Charges for Second Offense DUI
If you’ve been charged with a second offense DUI in Florida, you probably have a lot of questions: What are the penalties you could face? Does it matter how long ago your first offense was? Is there any point in getting an attorney to defend you?
A second DUI offense is potentially more serious than a first, especially if it happens within five years of your first offense. Certain circumstances can even take a second DUI charge from being a misdemeanor to being a felony, so understanding this charge and what it entails is very important for those facing it.
Contact our legal team at 888-626-1108 for a free initial consultation today if you are facing criminal charges for a Second Offense DUI charge in South Florida.
It may seem like a black-and-white issue with a single outcome possible, but in reality, there is a wide range of possible sentences that could be handed down to you depending on how your second offense played out and whether or not you have an attorney representing you.
Areas in Florida We Represent
If you have been charged for a DUI for the second time, seek the legal assistance of a criminal defense attorney immediately. We represent individuals in Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County including the following areas:
- Boca Raton
- Boynton Beach
- Coral Springs
- Delray Beach
- Fort Lauderdale
- Lake Worth
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Pembroke Pines
- Pompano Beach
- West Palm Beach
Penalties for Second DUI Offense
The penalties for a second DUI offense in Florida can include an array of different punishments, including fines, losing your license or having it restricted, having your vehicle impounded, jail time, and more. Let’s look at each of these items individually:
For a second DUI offense, you can be assessed a fine between $1,000 and $2,000. However, if your blood alcohol level was higher than 0.15, or if there was a minor in the car when you were found to be driving under the influence, that fee doubles and you will be fined between $2,000 and $4,000.
If your second DUI arrest happens within five years of your first conviction for DUI and if you are convicted of your second offense, you will serve a minimum of 10 days in jail. The maximum amount of prison time you can be sentenced depends on the circumstances of your second offense. For example, for a standard second DUI charge without any aggravating circumstances, you can serve a maximum of nine months. However, if you had a passenger under 18 in the car with you, that bumps up to one year. If there was an accident involving serious bodily injury, you can be sentenced to serve up to five years in jail.
If your second DUI charge happens within five years of your first, your license will be suspended for at least five years. In some instances, you might be able to have it reinstated after one year if you can demonstrate a hardship related to the loss of your license like an inability to get to work or school without your license. But even then, it will likely restrict where and when you can drive, such as only being allowed to drive to and from work.
Furthermore, once your license is reinstated, you will have to have an ignition interlocking device (IID) restriction for at least one year. An ignition interlocking device is essentially a breathalyzer that is connected to your vehicle so you can’t start the car if you are above a certain blood alcohol level.
If your second DUI offense takes place within five years of your first, your vehicle will be impounded for a minimum of 30 days. Additionally, those 30 days can’t overlap with your time spent in jail for the DUI conviction, so after you are released, your car will be impounded for at least 30 days. There are some exceptions to this, and in some situations, a judge can decide not to enforce it. For example, if your vehicle is your family’s only transportation, it may not be impounded; but if your license is suspended, you would not be able to drive it.
Understanding What a Second DUI Conviction Entails
Second DUI charges can be somewhat confusing, because for some purposes, it does matter when your first offense was, and for some, it does not matter when your first offense was. There is a five-year look-back period that is taken into account when some sentencing factors are considered. An attorney can help you determine exactly what heightened charges you might be facing based on when your first offense took place.
For example, take the possibility of jail time. Regardless of when your first offense was, whether your first charge was 10 years ago or ten months ago, you can be sentenced to up to nine months in prison for a second DUI offense in Florida if there are no aggravating factors present. And if your first offense was more than five years ago, you may not be sentenced to serve any jail time at all.
However, if your second offense takes place within 5 years of your first offense, there is a mandatory minimum 10-day imprisonment you will have to serve, and you can still be sentenced up to nine months.
How long your license is revoked for can also change depending on when your first and second offenses take place. If your second offense happens within five years of your first, your license will be revoked for a minimum of five years, but if it’s been more than five years, the revocation periods associated with a first offense will be used.
Additionally, if your second DUI conviction happens within five years of your first, you will be required to complete DUI school following your conviction because your license can be reinstated.
It’s also important to understand that if your second offense involves a crash that causes property damage, minor injuries, or death, you can be convicted of a second- or third-degree felony, and your sentencing could become much more serious than losing your license or serving ten days in prison.
This is why having an attorney representing you is so important: with an experienced, competent DUI attorney on your side, you have a better chance of obtaining the best outcome possible in your unique circumstances.
Finding an Attorney for a Second DUI Charge in Palm Beach and Broward County
You can see that being charged with a second DUI offense in Florida — and the potential outcomes you could face — is not as simple as you might think. Many factors can play into the sentence you are facing like your blood alcohol level, how long it’s been since your first offense took place, your age, who was with you in the vehicle, and whether anyone was hurt or any property was damaged.
This is why it’s so important to hire an attorney if you have been charged with a second DUI. From the time you are charged with a second DUI to after you find out what your sentence will be, a DUI attorney is an invaluable resource.
“…Matthew was very good, all my charges were dropped and I never set foot inside a court room. I was arrested for DUI, I refused the field sobriety test, blew .05 on the breathelizer, and refused a urine test. After I hired Matthew, the damaged stopped. Best case scenario outcome….” – anonymous
Before sentencing, an attorney can help you determine what penalties you might be facing and if there are any circumstances that haven’t been considered by the court before they determine your jail time, fines, vehicle impoundment. They can also help you prepare for your hearing and understand how to best represent yourself. After your sentencing, your attorney can help you do things like apply for and possibly obtain a hardship license if your license is suspended.
If you have been charged with a second DUI offense, contact us at Weinstein Legal today to learn what options you have and how we might be able to help you.