Second Time DUI Charges in Rockville
DUI charges are fairly common throughout the state of Maryland, including the city of Rockville. As more bars and restaurants that serve alcohol begin to open, the likelihood drivers are out on the road after having had alcoholic beverages increases. As a result, Rockville law enforcement are cracking down hard on DUIs and increasing vigilance. Below, we discuss second offense DUI charges and how they’re prosecuted by the courts. If you have been arrested or charged with a DUI, call today to schedule a consultation with our Rockville DUI attorney to discuss your case in more detail.
Second DUI Offense
The first time you are arrested for a DUI charge can be frightening. Often, the second time is no less stressful. This is because a second DUI conviction in Rockville comes with increased penalties, with no “first-time leniency” on which to rely. If you are in this situation, you need someone on your side who knows the system, as well as your legal options. You need to contact a Rockville DUI attorney with our firm to find out how you can successfully fight the charge that has been levied against you.
The first part of defending you involves an explanation of your rights. For instance, be aware that you do not have to answer police officers’ questions when they pull you over. If they ask how much you had to drink, or where you were going, they are building a case against you. This investigation begins the moment they see you driving, which is why the “right to remain silent” is one of the most valuable in the United States Constitution. It’s easy for nervous, innocent people to say the wrong thing, resulting in a second charge.
If you had this type of intimidating encounter with police officers, our Rockville DUI attorneys can help. From questioning why law enforcement pulled you over, to reviewing how the arrest and field sobriety testing was handled, we protect your rights every step of the way.
Penalties for a Second Offense
Another part of our defense is helping clients understand the potential penalties for second DUI convictions. For instance, you may face the following:
- Up to 2 years in jail
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- Possible MVA revocation of their driving privileges
These consequences can have a negative impact on your finances, career, and your freedom. Even if you avoid incarceration, a second conviction can damage your community reputation forever.
Court Dates & Hearings
Second offense DUI charges are heard in the District Court of Maryland in Montgomery County, located at 191 East Jefferson Street. They are always going to be heard in either courtroom 413 or 414 during a bench trial where a judge makes a determination of your guilt or innocence, or determines sentencing in a particular case.
Differences in Prosecution of First v. Second Offenses
Prosecutors will handle DUI cases in the same way, whether they are first, second, or third DUI offense. They first determine whether or not they have enough evidence to move forward with the criminal charges. Much depends on whether the prosecutor is going to determine the sentencing and what is going to be considered appropriate from the prosecutor’s perspective.
Most second offense DUI charges in Montgomery County are going to be charges where the prosecutor seeks some period of incarceration. Whether the prosecutor gets that period of incarceration is up to the judge to determine. The judge will hear information from both the prosecution and the defense to determine the appropriate sentence. Because these are second offenses, prosecutors are going to handle them more vigorously and seek out much tougher sentences when it comes to the method in which to resolve these cases.
The amount of time that passes between the first and second DUI charge is a huge factor in determining whether or not a person is going to be incarcerated for the DUI charge. Typically, if more than 10 years have gone by between the first and second offense, it is very rare and unlikely for the prosecutor or the judge to seek detention unless the circumstances warrant it.
Diversion Programs in Rockville for Second Offenses
Prosecutors in Rockville do not offer diversion programs for first or second offenses. Probation is going to be part of any sentencing for a DUI case, particularly on a second offense, but it will usually be part of a larger sentence which might include some period of incarceration.
How Courts Treat Second v. First Offense DUI charges
Courts treat second offense DUI charges more seriously than first offenses in the way that they sentence individuals. Most people who are charged as first time offenders do not see jail time, but most people who are charged with second time offenses are usually in a position where the prosecutor asks for a period of incarceration. Whether the judge decides that period of incarceration is appropriate varies on a case-by-case basis.
Building a Defense for Second-Offense DUIs
Lawyers build defenses for second offense DUI charges in the same way that they do for first offense DUI charges. The defense attorney’s strategies are going to be different for a second offense because the preparation for the sentencing for the second offense is very different. Sometimes lawyers recommend offenders partake in lengthy alcohol education programs or community service so when their court date comes up, these proactive measures put them in a position to make sure that the court understands how seriously they were taking the second offense charges.
The factors lawyers consider for second time offense DUI charges are the same as those for first time DUI charges. They include determining whether the officer properly stopped the individual, whether the officer had a basis for ordering the individual out of the car and taking the Field Sobriety Test, whether that test results rose to a proper level of probable cause to place the individual under arrest, and whether that person was properly advised of their rights about the chemical breath test. Most importantly, they consider how well this was recorded by the officer and whether the officer will be able to successfully testify against the defendant in court about the factors that were used to determine the charge.