Second Offense DUI Charges In Summerville

A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can have long-term consequences such as steep fines and implications on your driving record. A subsequent conviction for a DUI can have even harsher consequences. Fortunately, a DUI attorney could help. Reach out to a local lawyer to learn about second offense DUI charges in Summerville.

Where Are Second Offense DUI Charges Heard In Summerville?

Second DUI offenses in Summerville are heard in general sessions court. In South Carolina, there are two types of criminal courts. There is a higher court, which is general sessions, and there is also a lower court, which is magistrate or municipal. For second offense DUIs, these charges are heard in St. George. There are higher penalties associated with a DUI second offense.

How Do Prosecutors Handle Second Offense DUI Charges?

In a second offense DUI case, a person has to have had a prior conviction for DUI, and that prior conviction would have needed to be within the last 10 years. The defendant could have been charged with driving under unlawful alcohol concentration as their first offense, and then the second offense being charged with a DUI. Those charges do enhance each other. Since the defendant can be considered a repeat offender, prosecutors do not exercise as much discretion. However, a prosecutor typically will look for when that last offense was. For example, if the first offense was nine years ago, then there could be more discretion used. If the first offense was not long before the second offense, then the prosecutor will handle the case more vigorously.

The Penalties For a Second Offense DUI In Summerville

A second offense, just like all aspects of the DUI law, is broken down into three different categories. A second offense DUI penalties are dependent on whether the defendant refused the Breathalyzer test, blew between a 0.10 and 0.16 or above a 0.16. If a person is charged with DUI second offense, and they refused the test or blew under a 0.10, the maximum penalty is up to a year in jail with five days mandatory minimum; the five days is a strict five days in jail with a $5,100 fine. Now, the fine can be lowered down from a maximum  $5,100 to a minimum of a $2,100 fine, which actually can be suspended down to $1,100.

For a defendant that is charged with a DUI second offense and they provide a breath sample between a 0.10 and a 0.16, the maximum penalty they are facing is two years in jail and 30 days minimum in jail with a maximum of $5,500 fine and a minimum of $2,500 fine.  However, that $2,500 fine can be suspended to $1,100.

If the breath sample is above a 0.16, then their mandatory minimum is 90 days in jail with a maximum of three years in jail, and a maximum of $6,500 fine, a minimum of $3,500, which can be suspended down to $1,100.

Additionally, for all second offenses, if found guilty, they are required to have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle for a total of two years prior to them being able to receive their license back.

The Use of Substance Abuse Programs

The mandatory minimum cannot be suspended, so a person would need to serve out that mandatory minimum sentence. However, being that the charges are in general sessions, which is the higher court, typically, a person would get a probationary sentence. However, more likely than not, for a second DUI, individuals may be given a probationary sentence and be required to potentially attend substance abuse counseling.

Reviewing The Evidence

DUI lawyers handle all driving under the influence cases the same way. The main thing the lawyer is going to look for when building a defense for a second DUI case is video footage of the alleged incident. According to the statute, a police officer is required to have a video of a DUI arrest. The video recording is required to start prior to the blue lights and will show a defendant’s driving. A Summerville DUI lawyer is going to see how that evidence will be portrayed to a jury and whether a jury is going to think that the driving is indicative of someone driving under the influence.

Additionally, a lawyer is going to look for evidence of a field sobriety test. A DUI attorney is going to want to watch that video and see if the officer’s performing that test in the correct manner. Finally, a Summerville DUI attorney is going to look at that breath test machine. Overall, the attorney will look at complete operations and the procedures that were performed because performing those operations and procedures incorrectly could all be defensive for a DUI second offense.

Let a Summerville DUI Lawyer Help Build a Defense

DUI cases are complicated, but an experienced attorney could help ensure the case goes smoothly. If you are facing second offense DUI charges in Summerville, seek help from an attorney as soon as possible. Let a diligent DUI attorney help your case. Call today to get started building your defense.