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Second DUI is jail time mandatory?

If you have been arrested for a second DUI you are facing serious fines, penalties, and probation. Many drivers, however, are most worried about spending time in jail. Recently on our DUI forum we had a user ask, “If I have been arrested for a second DUI will I spend time in jail?” Unfortunately, when discussing DUI fines and penalties it is impossible to speak in generalities because DUI laws are developed and enforced by each state, which means state laws vary. For instance, if you are arrested and convicted for a second DUI in the state of Washington you may spend 90 days to 1 year in jail for a second DUI offense. The state of Texas has similar penalties and fines. Wisconsin, however, has more lax DUI penalties. If you are convicted of a second DUI in Wisconsin you probably will not be sent to jail.

Second DUI for injury or death

  Although the question didn’t specify, if the driver is charged with causing injury or death while under the influence alcohol, they should expect to spend time in prison. For instance, in Nevada if a driver causes injury and death they can be charged with a category B felony, which allows the state to impose a two to twenty year sentence in the Nevada State Prison. Drivers will also pay fines up to $5,000 and their license could be suspended or revoked.

DUI penalties with aggravating factors

  Sentencing can also be more severe in states which consider aggravating factors when assessing fines and penalties. Drivers who are arrested without aggravating factors may avoid jail time for a second DUI arrest and conviction. Other drivers may not. For instance, some states will assess higher fines and penalties if the driver is transporting a child at the time of the DUI arrest, the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is very high, they were operating a vehicle over the speed limit, they refused to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath or urine, or they were driving the wrong direction on a limited access highway. Other states may have additional charges which can elevate a DUI arrest to a DUI with aggravating factors.

How do I avoid jail time?

  The best way to avoid jail time is to have the DUI case against you dismissed. If the prosecution has sufficient evidence against you, however, it’s time to hire an experienced DUI lawyer who understands DUI criminal cases, can gather evidence to weaken the prosecution’s case and can raise available defenses. In some cases, a DUI lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecution to reduce the charges. In some states judges also have some discretion for imposing sentences. In these states if you are willing to rehabilitate yourself and to make amends for your crime the judge may be willing to suspend jail and put you on probation. If you have been arrested for second DUI you will need to talk to a DUI lawyer and find out what possible options you have to avoid jail.