The Difference Between Your First DUI And Your Second

Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is always considered a serious charge. After all, when you drive while you are impaired, you could hurt yourself and others. Because it is considered a serious charge, courts take these charges even more seriously when a person is charged with a second DUI. Here are several things to understand about repeat DUI offenses.

A First Charge Can Leave Major Consequences but Is Easier to Get Out Of

When you initially get charged with your first DUI, your lawyer will often try to get the charges reduced on the basis of this being your first time. If you have a perfect driving record besides this, and if your criminal history is clean, your lawyer might be successful with getting the court to reduce your charges.

The court might agree to reduce the charges to "wet and reckless" which is similar to reckless driving. The word "wet" refers to alcohol being involved, but this is not a charge that is equal to a DUI. It is considered a less-serious crime; however, you might have to agree to a plea bargain to make this happen. If you are successful with this, you will not have to worry about facing jail time, which is a huge relief.

In addition, your lawyer might be able to get the charges reduced or convince the court to give you a lighter punishment if you agree to complete certain tasks. For example, you might have to agree to take a defensive driving course, or you might have to agree to complete an alcohol rehabilitation program. In some cases, first-time offenders can get their charges reduced by agreeing to probation for a certain length of time.

A Second Charge Makes You a Repeat Offender

Even if you are able to get the charges of a DUI reduced, the initial charges can still follow you around and can affect your life if you are again caught driving under the influence. If you are caught again, the courts consider you a repeat offender, and it is very difficult to get DUI charges reduced if you are considered a repeat offender.

Every state has rules relating to DUIs and repeat offenders, but all states carry harsh laws for repeat offenders. Courts are a lot more lenient to a person who has never been charged before, but they are not so lenient when a person was charged in the past. People with multiple charges, therefore, will typically face a lot of consequences.

The first is facing jail time. You can go to jail for a DUI, even if it is your first charge, and your chances of going to jail are much greater if you are a repeat offender. A second consequence is losing your driving privileges. You may not be able to drive for many years after receiving a second DUI charge. When you do get your license back, you will most likely need SR-22 insurance coverage for at least three years.

Some states, such as New York, even charge people with multiple DUIs with felonies. Having a felony on your record can taunt you for the rest of your life, unless you are able to get the charge expunged. As you can see, it is much harder to get out of the consequences of a second DUI.

If you are currently facing your first DUI charge, hire a lawyer today for help getting the charge reduced. As you face this charge, you should realize that it will be harder to get the charges reduced if you are ever caught doing this again. Contact a DUI lawyer for help if you haven't already.