2nd (Second) Offense DUI Cases
Above and beyond everything else, the goal of hiring a lawyer for any DUI charge is to stay out of jail and avoid as many of the legal penalties and negative consequences (like long and demanding probation with unnecessary treatment, and burdensome testing) as possible.
This is even more true for anyone facing a 2nd offense OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) charge.
I have written rather extensively about the DUI process, both on this site, and within the more than 1200 blog articles I have written and published.
Anyone who has had a prior DUI and been through the process once before can identify with the accuracy and detail of the information I have put up, particularly within the drunk driving section of the blog.
It makes sense, then, to begin our discussion here by restating the gold standard of drunk driving defense: Success in a DUI case is best measured by what does NOT happen to you.
Next, let's look at some of the potential consequences of 2nd Offense DUI:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Driver's license revoked for life with no appeal for 1 year
- A fine of up to $1000, plus costs
- 6 Points on driving record
- $1000 driver responsibility fee for 2 years
- Vehicle immobilization and/or forfeiture
- License plate confiscation
The good news here is that, except for the money and points, most of those can be avoided.
Of course, the real heart of a drunk driving second offense charge is staying out of jail.
The bad news is that a potential jail sentence is more realistic in a 2nd offense case than in a 1st offense case.
Realistic, though, doesn't mean probable; it only means possible.
Of course, it makes sense that a 2nd offense DUI case is more serious than a 1st offense, and it hardly takes a lawyer to explain why.
The first task of a Michigan DUI lawyer in a 2nd offense DUI case is to obtain, and then carefully examine ALL of the evidence.
Every angle of the case must be carefully checked out to see if there is some way out of the charge. The traffic stop, the field sobriety tests and the breath or blood test(s) must be critically examined.
We'll want to see any dash-cam or body cam video. If there ever was a time to search for a flaw in the evidence, it's in this situation.
If the case is solid, then our first priority in any 2nd offense DUI is to keep the client out of jail, and my team and I are especially good at that.
However, once that has been accomplished, there are still plenty of other negative consequences that we have to keep off of our client’s back.
In the real world, everyone who is facing the real possibility of jail will gladly and quickly agree to just about any kind of probation to avoid getting locked up.
When all is said and done, though, no one wants to find themselves stuck on “probation from Hell."
My team and I will do everything to avoid burdensome and difficult probation, but it requires time and effort.
Of course, we'll examine over the possibility of seeking admission into a Sobriety Court program with our client. This is often possible, even if the court where a person's case is pending doesn't have such a program, through a case transfer to a court that does.
To accomplish this, we'll invest the time in getting to know our client, his or her life circumstances, and what happened that resulted in their arrest.
In Michigan, any person convicted of 2 DUI's within 7 years, or 3 DUI's within 10 years is categorized as a "habitual alcohol offender."
This is critically important.
The law requires that, if a person is arrested for a second DUI charge within 7 years from the date of a conviction for a 1st offense, he or she MUST be sentenced to some kind of counseling.
In addition, the law also requires the revocation of a person's driver's license.
Instead of just waiting to see what kind of counseling the court eventually orders (and it will certainly not take into account what is affordable and convenient for the person), we help our clients find an affordable, convenient counseling program that works for them and can help drive a better outcome in the case.
Beyond having spent decades dealing with alcohol issues as a lawyer, I have also completed a formal, post-graduate program of addiction studies, as well. This enables my team and I to provide an unsurpassed understanding of the development, diagnosis, treatment of and recovery from alcohol problems to every 2nd offense DUI case we handle.
No matter how you cut it, this means making things better for the client, and helping him or her avoid unnecessary counseling or treatment.
We use our client’s proactive involvement to their advantage when dealing with the prosecutor.
In addition, this "take charge" approach will have similar benefits when the client meet with the probation officer for their mandatory alcohol assessment test as part of their pre-sentence investigation (PSI) before they appear in front of the Judge for sentencing.
In the final analysis, handling a second offense DUI is all about damage control.
Whatever else, anyone facing a DUI is concerned about one primary thing: What is going to happen to me?
Once we remove jail from that equation, we can then shift the focus to avoiding as many of the other consequences as possible and making things better so the client can get on with life.
As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I are confident in our knowledge, experience and skill. Precisely because of that, we take the rather unusual step of reminding every person looking for a lawyer to be a smart consumer, look around, and compare lawyers.
Then call us.