blurred police lights on a dark night dui arrestIt has happened again. You were driving home after having dinner at a restaurant when you saw flashing lights in your rearview mirror. With one DUI conviction already under your belt, you can’t afford to get another one. While it’s important that you comply with the officer during the traffic stop, it’s even more important that you contact Flaherty & Merrifield as soon as possible if you are charged with a DUI.

Florida takes drunk driving very seriously, and law enforcement goes especially hard on repeat offenders. If you got a slap on the wrist with your first DUI, you can be sure you won’t be so lucky with the second one. Our DUI defense team has proven strategies for helping clients avoid maximum penalties for DUI, even if they have been convicted before. Do not hesitate to call us after your second DUI arrest in Crestview.

Penalties for a Second DUI in Florida

You might think you were not significantly impacted by your first DUI. Maybe you paid a $500 fine, served a few months of probation, completed some community service, and put it behind you. However, having that conviction on your record is significant because it automatically increases the penalties you will face the next time.

If you are convicted of a second DUI in Florida, but the arrest happens five or more years after the first, you will face the following consequences:

  • A fine of between $1000 and $2000
  • Up to nine months in jail
  • Mandatory placement for at least a year of an ignition interlock device at your own expense
  • Driver’s license suspension of between 180 days and one year
  • Community service of at least 50 hours
  • Impoundment of your vehicle for at least ten days

If the second conviction occurs less than five years after the first, in addition to the above penalties, you will also face the following:

  • Mandatory imprisonment for at least ten days
  • Impoundment of all vehicles owned by you for 30 days, beginning when you are released from jail
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for five years

These are serious consequences that will impact your ability to hold down a job, support your family, comply with mandated parenting orders if you are divorced, and much more. If you caused a crash while driving under the influence or you have prior criminal convictions, the penalties are even more severe. It is vital that you seek skilled representation as soon as possible after your second arrest.

What You Can Do to Help Your Florida DUI Defense Lawyer Do Their Job

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from the worst possible DUI outcomes is to hire a defense attorney. However, your responsibility does not end there. You can make your lawyer’s job a lot easier—and increase the chances of a better result—by making sure you do the following:

  • Understand legal defense strategies. Collaborate with your defense lawyer to explore potential legal defenses based on the specific circumstances of your arrest and the evidence presented.
  • Participate in an alcohol education program. If your lawyer advises it, enroll in an alcohol education or rehabilitation program. Completion of such programs may demonstrate responsibility and could be beneficial in plea negotiations.
  • Follow legal advice. Adhere to the advice provided by your DUI defense attorney. Compliance with legal strategies and recommendations is crucial for a successful defense.
  • Attend hearings. Attend all hearings related to your case. Your defense lawyer can guide you through this process, but it is vital that you arrive on time and present yourself appropriately.
  • Explore plea bargain options. Discuss potential plea bargain options with your attorney, considering reduced charges or alternative sentencing arrangements.
  • Prepare for court appearances. Be punctual and well-prepared for all court appearances. Present yourself in a manner that reflects respect for the legal process.
  • Maintain open communication. Keep open lines of communication with your defense lawyer. Inform them promptly of any developments or new information related to your case, and respond promptly to calls or messages from your lawyer.

The bottom line is that it is essential to follow your lawyer’s advice and instructions to the letter.  

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