Wicomico Second Offense DUI Charges
Second offense DUI charges are heard in the district court of Wicomico. The case itself is the same as the first offense in terms of the type of evidence required and the fact that the burden of proof rests on the prosecution. The difference is that the courts are a little more aggressive and what they are requesting as far as punishment is certainly more strict. Therefore, when facing these more severe penalties and prosecution, it is essential to have a qualified DUI attorney by your side, to guide, advise, and defend you every step of the way.
If someone has a prior conviction, the state can–in advance and in writing–provide them with what is called a Subsequent Offender Notice. If someone receives such a notice because they have a prior conviction, the penalties they are facing are enhanced significantly.
For example, DUI now carries a potential two years in jail instead of just one. However, although the prosecutor generally files these automatically, it does not necessarily mean the defendant will be incarcerated for two full years. It simply means that the prosecution now has the ability to request that as the punishment. The final penalty is up to the judge.
The timeframe between the first and second DUI is extremely significant because there is a decay factor. If the DUI offenses take place within two years of one another, that presents more of a problem for the defense than if they took place 22 years apart. Often, the courts look more leniently upon a prior conviction if many years have passed, even if the prosecutor has filed a subsequent offender notice.
Probation Before Judgment
By law, a defendant is not entitled to, nor can they receive, probation before judgment for a DUI offense more than once in a 10-year period. Therefore, if someone is charged with a DUI and receives probation before judgment, but then 90 days later is charged again with another DUI, then a conviction is the only option.
This is also assuming you would be found guilty or get a PBJ. But how they are sentenced is also different. A first offense without any serious factors can get a PBJ or a suspended sentence; a second offense in a short period of time will almost certainly implicate some jail time.
Upon a conviction, a defendant will be required to install an ignition interlock on any vehicle they drive for at least a period of one year. Additionally, they will receive up to 12 points on the single DUI charge alone. That will trigger a Motor Vehicle Administration suspension due to point accumulation on one’s license and driving history.
Challenging A License Suspension
If you get notice of your being suspended pursuant to point accumulation, you can request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension and at a hearing, an administrative law judge can either impose suspension, reduce it, or waive it. They have the full ability to do so and your work, school, family life responsibilities and overall treatment would come into the conversation on whether that it is appropriate to give you your license back or suspend you at that time.
If someone’s license is suspended after a second offense, it is possible sometimes to apply for a restricted license. At the hearing, the administrative law judge can give someone back their license with restrictions in some circumstances, but it depends on what happened in the first offense and whether the breath test was under .15.
Building A Defense
Regarding the prior conviction, the trial of the first DUI does not enter the actual court hearing. It is not relevant to what has taken place and is therefore not included in the proceedings. It would not be admissible either to a judge or jury. The judge or jury are limited to the facts of the case at hand and decide based upon the merits of that individual case.
As far as defending the second offense in a trial, the same evidentiary factors come into play as the first time around. These include but are not limited to:
- BAC levels of .15 or greater
- Whether there was an accident
- Whether there was bodily harm or property damage as a direct result
- Whether there was a chemical test refusal
How An Attorney Can Help
Ultimately, a competent attorney will do everything in their power to work out and negotiate a resolution with prosecutors and judges. Facing a conviction for a second DUI offense can be intimidating, and the process can be confusing and complicated. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side will help you navigate the process as you work toward a reasonable and appropriate resolution.