Howard County Third DUI Lawyer
Procedurally, third offense DUI charges are treated the same as first and second offense DUI charges. Third offenses DUIs are going to start out in the district courts and then if an individual wants to have a trial by jury they will be transferred to the circuit court. The difference between a third offense and prior offenses, is that prosecutors and judges are much less likely to show a person any kind of leniency in court. They will view someone facing a third offense DUI charge in Howard County as a repeat and habitual offender who potentially poses a risk to public safety.
Penalties for a Third Offense DUI Charges
If it is a third or subsequent offender the penalties can go to a maximum period of incarceration of up to three years. As with first and second offenses it is pretty rare for third offenses to receive the maximum jail sentence. Typically, in Howard County if an individual is convicted of third offense DUI there will be a period of active incarceration and it can range anywhere from a few weekends up to several months of active incarceration.
Enhanced Penalties and Aggravating Factors
If an individual has prior convictions the state can file for enhanced penalties. They would have to file a motion in court to do that and that raises the maximum period of incarceration from one year which is the default to potentially up to three years if there are two prior convictions.
Additionally if an individual is transporting a minor that creates potential for enhanced penalties. There are also potential for enhanced penalties if an individual refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test. However, it is pretty rare for an individual in a third offense to receive the maximum allowable sentence.
How Courts Treat Third Offense DUI Charges
They treat them significantly more seriously than they treat first and second offenses. Third offense DUI charges in Howard County are almost never eligible for probation before judgment. Even if the two priors are old, most judges are going to be unwilling to give probation before judgment on a third offense. There is the possibility of active incarceration on third offenses and that is pretty unlikely in first offense. In third offense some judges will not allow individuals to serve any incarceration on weekends. Additionally the probation period is going to be a lot longer in a third offense than it will be on a first offense and the level of supervision is probably going to be more intense than it would be for a first offense.
Value of an Experienced Howard County Third DUI Attorney
Local experience when handling third time DUI charges in Howard County is extremely important. There are two things that you need to look for in a lawyer for a third offense. One is familiarity with the law. You have to have a lawyer who understands the DUI law and who understands the science behind DUI cases and who can challenge that in court.
Then you also need a lawyer who knows the judges and who knows the prosecutors. You need to know which judges are going to be willing to hear certain arguments or which judges are going to like certain facts and which judges are not going to be acceptable for certain cases. There is a lot a lawyer can do in terms of positioning the case to get it away from a judge who isn’t likely to look well on certain facts.