If you have previously been convicted or have plead guilty to a charge of DUI, which is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or a similar charge, a second conviction can put you in a very difficult position. For instance, it is fairly common for jail time to be required with a second offense, while your first may have required only probation, fines and other punishments that did not directly threaten your freedom. Therefore, you have a very limited time period in which to make some very important decisions, and it is essential to protect your rights, starting immediately after your arrest. It is also important to note that the time limit from your first arrest or conviction for DUI may impact the outcome for this legal case.
#1-Refuse Or Later Question The Field Sobriety Tests
The field sobriety tests administered by law enforcement officers are known to be flawed in several ways. For example, recent sources have indicated a failure rate in some field sobriety tests.
Many lawyers advise declining the field sobriety tests and only submitting to the more accurate blood tests later. Doing so may limit your driving privileges immediately, but can also help keep you out of jail later on. The benefits may outweigh the risk, as a failed sobriety test can be used against you in court. Regardless, be sure to follow the next guideline.
#2-Consult With An Attorney Without Delay
It seems obvious that you need a lawyer, especially for serious case like the one you are dealing with. However, legal representation is even more important with a DUI or recurrent DUI, because of the possibility of mandatory jail time. Therefore, do not wait to have a lawyer appointed for you by the state, unless you have no other choice. Your lawyer can address the legality of stopping or arresting you, which could void or limit the charges you are facing, if error or wrongdoing is found.
Find a good lawyer and remember that many are willing to work out payment plans, if money is a problem. Otherwise, you could permanently lose your driver's license within days of the arrest, not the conviction. In addition, if you happen to be on probation for your previous DUI or another charge, a new arrest could void that arrangement; and your legal situation could quickly become even more complicated.
#3-Be Aware Of The Sentencing Guidelines For Your State
It will also be helpful to remember that the arrest and sentencing guidelines for DUI or similar offenses are not typically federally imposed and instead are determined on a state-by-state basis. That means that each state has the right to determine appropriate punishments for a second offense and choose how long the state can look back on previous offenses when deciding what punishments for secondary DUI offenses will be.
Most states expect jail time for a second offense of this nature. In addition, retaining any driving privileges, even for work, can be challenging. An aggressive legal defense is often necessary, in order for individuals charged with this type of offense more than once to retain their freedom.