Differences Between a 1st and 2nd DUI

For a second offense DUI charge, attorneys begin by analyzing many of the same things they look for when a person is initially charged with a DUI. An experienced DUI lawyer will look at the strength of the prosecutor’s case and the type of evidence they might be able to introduce to prove that you were the one operating the vehicle. They also look to field sobriety test results, and whether there is a breath or urine score that the prosecutors could use to prove intoxication.

There are several differences between defending a second offense DUI compared to a first offense DUI. Some of the more important differences are the fact that a second offense DUI is eligible for a trial before a jury. A first offense DUI, since the maximum penalty is 180 days in jail, is only eligible for a trial before a judge.

Evidence of a Prior DUI

A DC DUI lawyer will look at different kinds of evidence that may not be at issue in a first offense case. One thing that will always be looked at for a second offense DUI charge is whether the prosecutor has followed the necessary procedures to demonstrate that you are a second-time DUI offender.

The prosecutors need to provide documentation demonstrating that you have a first offense DUI in a jurisdiction in the United States whether that is in DC, Virginia, California or Florida. If they do not provide the necessary documentation, then we want to argue that the prosecutor failed to produce the proof required to prove you have a prior offense.

If the prosecutor has provided deficient information, such as they have not provided the date of a prior DUI conviction or they have not provided information on the jurisdiction of the prior offense, then we can challenge the enhancement for failing to provide us with the information required by law.

We would look to all of the requirements that a prosecutor needs to prove in a second offense DUI. While a season DC attorney will likely also challenge the facts of a second DUI allegation, we want to be able to look to any possible challenges to the government’s allegation that you are in fact a second offense DUI offender.

Jury Trials Require Different Strategies

When you have a trial before a jury, there are different strategies and different methods that defense attorneys can use to provide you with a better shot at beating your charges or challenging your charges in different ways.

Prosecutors and Filing of Enhancements

Another important difference between a second offense DUI and a first offense DUI is that the prosecutors need to comply with certain additional requirements in a second offense DUI that they do not need to complete in a first offense DUI.

The most important difference is the filing of enhancements. Enhancements are documentation notifying both the court and the defense that a defendant had a prior DUI conviction. Because of the prior DUI conviction, they are eligible for increased penalties.

When a prosecutor is required to file this type of additional documentation, it is the obligation of the defense attorney to ensure that the prosecutor complies with all of their requirements and provides enough information to enable the defense attorney to properly address the allegations.

Deficiencies in those document filings can provide challenges to the DC second DUI attorneys regarding the prosecutor’s ability to treat a defendant as a second-time offender.