How Second DUI Charges Are Treated in Washington, DC

Facing a second DUI charge in Washington, DC? Here’s how you can expect your case to be treated by prosecutors and judges according to a DC DUI lawyer. For legal guidance call and schedule a free consultation with our firm today.

How Do Prosecutors in DC Handle Second Offense DUI Charges?

Prosecutors move forward on second offense DUI charges very aggressively. The reason for that is that the DC legislators and the DC Attorney General’s Office see alleged repeat DUI offenders as a threat to public safety even more so than many other violent offenses and sometimes even violent felonies.

For that reason, the DC legislators created mandatory minimum levels of jail time for second offense DUIs and have instructed the DC Attorney General’s Office to prosecute these cases very aggressively. This means that if you are facing a second offense DUI, you can expect that a prosecutor will most likely file enhancements against you to inform the judge that you are a second time offender. You would then have to go about fighting and negotiating with the prosecutor to do everything in your power to be able to try and minimize the potential jail time that you face.

Are Second Offense Charges Prosecuted More Vigorously Than First Offenses?

The DC Attorney General’s Office does prosecute second offense DUIs even more vigorously than first offense DUIs. That means that even a person who may have been eligible for certain more favorable negotiated agreements or reduced penalties in a first offense DUI case would not be eligible for those more favorable options in the second offense DUI case.

As an example, deferred sentencing agreements which may be a possibility in some first offense cases are not possible in second offense cases. Prosecutors in second offenses almost universally move forward with requests for mandatory minimum periods of incarceration and longer periods of probation as well as potentially higher fines and potentially stricter conditions of pre-trial release.

Do DC Prosecutors Still Offer Diversion Programs Or Probation On A Second Offense?

DC prosecutors do not offer any diversion or deferred sentencing programs on second offense DUIs. Probation is also very difficult. It’s very rare for prosecutors to offer because of the mandatory minimum levels of jail time that accompany second offense DUIs.

However, it’s important to have an effective and aggressive defense attorney who can do anything in his or her power to try and avoid those mandatory levels of jail time in a second offense case.

How Do Courts Treat Second Offense DUI Charges?

Courts treat DUI second offenses much more seriously than the first offense DUIs. Very frequently, a judge may see a first offense DUI as simply a momentarily lapse of judgment. It can happen to many people who don’t realize that they were intoxicated and make a mistake that many people make by driving after they had one too many drinks.

On a second offense DUI, on the other hand, judges treat people as being greater threats to the safety of the community. And therefore, the judges would want to make sure that the person receives much harsher penalties the second time around to make sure that they no longer pose a threat to the community.

As defense attorneys, we always want to make sure that we humanize any person facing a charge of a second offense DUI. That can mean establishing context for a person’s second offense and in the eyes of the judge, making sure that that person is not considered to be a serious threat to others.