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DUI Second Offense Penalties

Most states give first-time DUI offenders a break in not requiring any jail time and in the amount of fines and other penalties imposed, but those considerations cease if you receive a DUI second offense.

If you are charged with a second DUI within a few years of your first offense, you may have violated the conditions of your probation. In any event, you will face much harsher criminal and civil penalties if your second offense was committed within a certain time from your initial conviction.

Your DUI second offense is still considered a misdemeanor in most states, so long as no serious injuries, property damage, or death resulted. Some states do, however, treat a second DUI as a felony.

Second DUI Penalties

The severity of your sentence and other penalties vary among the states, but typical penalties include:

  • Mandatory minimum jail time ranging from 10 days up to one year, depending on whether your conviction is within a few years of your first DUI
  • Possible community service in lieu of jail time
  • Enhanced fines from $750 to several thousand dollars if your BAC exceeded a certain limit or other aggravating circumstances exist
  • DUI school or other alcohol or drug treatment or education program that may be more than one year long
  • Loss of driving privileges for several years that may be reinstated earlier if certain conditions are met
  • Possible impoundment of your vehicle for a certain period
  • Possible requirement of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for more than one year
  • Possible restricted license for employment, school, or treatment program attendance only

If you are able to drive with an interlock ignition device, you will have to blow into the device and register the absence of alcohol before it will start. There are safeguards against having a sober person blow into the device instead of yourself. If you register a minimal degree of alcohol, your vehicle will not start, and the results will be recorded and made available to authorities. In this case, you could face the revocation of your license at a minimum.

Collateral Consequences

Along with possible jail time and severe restrictions on your driving privileges, you face other consequences for having a second DUI conviction. These include loss of employment and auto insurance. If your auto insurer agrees to continue insuring you, your premiums will be substantial. Otherwise, you may have to apply to a special state agency to obtain high-risk auto coverage. Many states require that you carry liability coverage that is much higher than the minimum.

A DUI conviction can also affect your life insurance premiums. Other possible consequences include:

  • Loss of immigration status
  • Loss of scholarship or other financial aid
  • Loss of military service opportunities
  • Loss of gun ownership rights
  • Restricted travel rights to foreign countries
  • Negative impact on your credit
  • Loss of right to vote
  • Restricted housing prospects
  • Loss of insurance or substantially increased rates

There are numerous defenses available to anyone charged with a second DUI. Contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss possible defenses and other legal options since you face severe financial and other consequences to your life.