DUI laws vary from state to state, but all states view a second DUI charge more seriously than a first. When you face your first DUI charge, it is a lot easier to avoid major consequences from it, but when you commit a second DUI, you will likely face much harsher consequences. Here are some things to understand about the difference.
A second charge makes you a repeat offender
Courts are almost always more lenient on people who do not have any criminal history, and this is true with DUI cases. A court will be more lenient with your first DUI charge simply because you do not have a history of committing this crime. You should understand, though, that a second DUI charge makes you a repeat offender. The court does not offer as much sympathy to repeat offenders as they will to people with clean records. Because of this, you should expect a second DUI case to be harder to fight than your first DUI case.
A second charge is more likely to lead to a felony charge rather than a misdemeanor
While you will need to look up the rules in your own state, it is important to understand that a second DUI charge has a much greater chance of falling into the category of felony compared to a first DUI charge. In most states and cases, DUIs are considered misdemeanors, especially if they are first-time DUI charges. After that, though, a second or third DUI charge could be considered a felony. A felony is much worse to have on your record, and it will result in worse consequences.
The consequences are more severe
Again, the consequences of a second DUI will depend on how your state views and treats repeat offenders of DUI charges, but you should expect the consequences to be more severe with a second DUI compare to a first-time one. After your second DUI, you might lose your driver's license for a significant amount of time. You might also be required to install an interlock ignition device when you do get your license privileges back. You could also end up serving time in jail, having to pay fines, or being required to complete community service or counseling.
If you do not know how to handle your second DUI charge, contact a law firm. A DUI attorney can help you determine a strategy on how to face your charges, and this may help you get better results from your case.