Manassas Second Offense DUI Charges

First-offense and second-offense DUI charges are both very serious charges. For second-offense DUIs, prosecutors and the courts will likely be even more strict since it is a repeat offense. Below, a Manassas DUI lawyer discusses exactly how second-offense DUI charges are treated and heard in Manassas. If you would like to learn more about how second-offense DUI charges are handled, don’t hesitate to call and schedule a consultation with our experienced Manassas DUI attorneys.

How Second Offense DUI Charges Are Treated

Second-offense DUI charges are heard in Prince William County Courthouse on Lee Avenue in the City of Manassas. These cases are handeled seriously by all parties involved and therefore should be taken seriously by the defense as well

How Prosecutors Handle Second-Offense DUI Charges

Prosecutors handle second-offense DUI charges very seriously because the person is now considered a repeat offender. With the second-offense charges prosecutors are always seeking jail time. The number of days in jail a person can get depends upon how recent their previous conviction was.  Rest assured, if it was within ten years, there will be mandatory, minimum jail time. Prosecutors do not relax those requirements.

How Courts Treat Second-Offense DUI Charges

Courts in Manassas treat second-offense DUI charges very much by the book. They are bound in many ways to convict a person of whatever charge they can. A court will also follow whatever the statute requires them to impose. Courts are very leery of giving grace of any kind to people with a prior conviction. So expect that the judge in Manassas is going to view your case with an abundance of caution, to make sure that any defenses raised are completely valid.

Penalties For a Second-Offense DUI

Most notably, the penalty for a second-offense DUI is mandatory, minimum jail time if the second offense is within ten years of the first. It is five days of jail if the first offense was within ten years, and ten days of jail if it was within five years. Those days are mandatory, meaning you are going to serve every second of those days. You do not get time off for good behavior when the statute requires mandatory, minimum time, as it does here.

In addition, a person’s license will be suspended for a period of three years. They will be able to get a restricted license, but only after a period of time has passed. If the first conviction was within ten years, then they can apply for a restricted license four months after the conviction.

If the time between the first and second conviction is five years or less, then they can apply for the restricted license one year after the conviction.

Diversion programs are never offered in Manassas, not even for a first offense.

Impact of Time Between Offenses

A second offense within five years is treated more harshly than a second offense within ten years. If the prior offense is more than ten years ago, it will be treated from a legal perspective as though it were a first offense. However, from the prosecutor’s perspective it is more than one DUI and they are going to try for more significant consequences than are normally called for in a first-time offense.

Building a Defense For Second Offense Charges

Second-offense DUI charges in Manassas carry an additional element that we must consider when building a defense, and that is the existence of the predicate offense. The government is alleging that you had a prior conviction, and while that may be true, the issue is whether they can prove it. To that end, we require that they have certified copies documenting any previous convictions which they are seeking to use as an enhancement to the punishment you might get upon conviction. The defense will also examine the previous convictions to ensure that they accurately depict what went on in the previous case, so that if there are flaws in the record those flaws may be exploited.

In addition, if the previous conviction is from another state, then we look at the laws of that other state at the time the conviction was entered to determine if their laws are substantially similar to Virginia’s laws. If they are not, such that that person could be convicted of DUI in that other state under some sort of circumstances that would not result in a conviction in Virginia, then the government cannot use the out-of-state conviction as a predicate offense.

Beyond that analysis, we still look at Constitutional, statutory and scientific defenses to evaluate the merits of every case.

How Is This Different Than Defending a First Time DUI?

It is different because there is a predicate offense being alleged by the government. That adds another layer of analysis that we must perform in order to determine whether the offense was proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Your Driver’s License After a Second DUI Charge

After a second-offense DUI your license will be administratively suspended for 60 days. During those 60 days you cannot drive for any reason and cannot get a restricted license for any reason. You simply are walking for 60 days.

After a conviction for a second-offense DUI in Manassas, your license will be suspended by the court for three years and you will be eligible to apply for a restricted license. If the previous offense was within five years, then you can apply for a restricted license after 12 months. If the previous offense was within ten years, you can apply for a restricted license after four months.\

Challenging a Suspension After a Second Offense

In cases where a person’s license is administratively suspended for 60 days, in almost every case, the attorney is going to have the opportunity to evaluate the case before that 60 days has passed. The attorney then has the ability to file a motion in court to challenge the validity of that administrative suspension. We do this by challenging whether there was probable cause to place the person under arrest for the charge. If the challenge is successful, then the person will get their license back before that 60 days has expired.

If Not Convicted Will You Get Your License Back?

The way the law is written, law enforcement must show that there was probable cause for the DUI arrest.  Accordingly, even if you are not ultimately convicted you will initially be subject to the procedures for a DUI stop and an arrest. They will place you under arrest and your license will remain suspended for the whole 60 days, even if you are subsequently acquitted of that charge.