Frederick County Second-Offense DUI Lawyer
Subsequent DUI charges are even more serious than a first offense. With a first offense, a judge may be willing to believe that the criminal act was just a onetime mistake, but with a subsequent charge, it may be evident that there is an underlying pattern or substance abuse issue. Second-offense DUI charges are still misdemeanors that are heard in district court meaning that they are heard by a judge unless a jury is requested.
If you are now facing a subsequent intoxicated driving charge, it is essential that you consult a Frederick County second-offense DUI lawyer right away. Even more is at stake than the last charge and working with someone who knows how to defend cases like these could make the difference in your case.
Second-Time Drunk Driving Charge Penalties
A second-offense DUI carries the same maximum penalty as a first offense. However, if the first offense was a conviction, the prosecution could seek an enhancement on the requisite penalties. In these cases, defendants may face up to two years in prison as a maximum penalty. The sanctions get worse depending on whether the prior is a conviction and whether the state has submitted the appropriate notice in advance.
How is a Driver’s License Affected by a Second-Offense Conviction?
The effect of a second DUI on a person’s driver’s license depends on a number of factors including how old the prior conviction was, whether there was a refusal to take a breath test, what the blood alcohol content (BAC) was, and whether they are a Maryland license holder or not. At a minimum, drivers are facing a six-month suspension, but they may be facing a maximum two-year suspension.
Because license suspensions are the act of civil administration from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, there are very limited ways to challenge these tests. If the license is suspended for the refusal of a breathalyzer test, there could be a challenge about whether the person was properly advised, whether they actually tried any of the tests but were physically unable to do so, or various other factors that might alter the situation. If the suspension was automatically done based off the driver’s BAC reading, there is little that can be done other than attempting to refute the test itself. However, it is possible to petition for a restricted license which might restore a person’s ability to drive for certain essential reasons.
Building a Second-Offense DUI Defense in Frederick County
If the DUI is a second offense, the procedure for challenging the evidence is the same. It would be looked at as a standalone case and it does not matter if the person has one prior, no priors, or four priors. The state still must prove their case and the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
However, if the facts and evidence are such that the trial will likely result in a guilty finding, there are mitigating steps a defendant could take to present themselves better before a judge at sentencing. Taking an alcohol awareness class or joining Alcoholics Anonymous could be seen as proactive steps toward preventing a third offense and may impact a judge’s sentence. However, these mitigating steps depend on the facts of the specific case so it is wise to discuss this case with a seasoned criminal defense attorney.
How Could an Attorney Help Fight a Repeat Drunk Driving Offense?
Unless the first offense has a significant age to it—20 years or more—virtually all prosecutors will seek and request the person to be sentenced to some period of incarceration as a subsequent offender for DUI. They treat it more seriously assuming there are no unusual factors of the DUI itself that makes the situation worse. Because the stakes are so much higher, it is even more important that defendants work with a Frederick County second-offense DUI lawyer. An attorney could be the ally you need to guide you through the court process and help you mitigate the potential consequences. Call today to schedule a consultation for your case.