Second DUI In Okaloosa County or Walton County

Florida Statute 316.193(1) and (2)(a), identifies a SECOND DUI as an offense being committed when:

  1. A person drives, or is in actual physical control of a vehicle, while being under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance/chemical, to the extent that their normal faculties are impaired and/or has a breath or blood alcohol level higher than .08, and;
  2. Previously convicted of a DUI or comparable out of state offense.

What A Good DUI Attorney Will Look At and Challenge

In order to prove a SECOND DUI Offense, there are key elements the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. When I meet with a client that is charged with potentially a second DUI, there are certain legal issues your attorney must focus on:

  1. Law enforcement may not be aware of the prior DUI conviction.
  2. The prosecutor may not be aware of the prior Driving Under the Influence conviction, especially if it is from out of state.
  3. Since the penalty for any second or subsequent DUI requires a full—one year “hard no drive” driver’s license suspension, for many clients, that could be catastrophic.
  4. The State prosecution must be able to provide “certified convictions” of the Defendant in order to convict on a second or subsequent DUI. This also requires fingerprint records that were filed with the prior plea agreement and/or judgment and sentence of the court.
  5. Trials involving a second or subsequent DUI must be bifurcated, or separated into two stages. This is critical because the jury deciding the case cannot know about any prior DUI convictions. Proving the certification of prior convictions should always be handled by a separate trial or hearing.

Penalties For A 2nd DUI in Okaloosa County or Walton County:

The potential penalties for a SECOND DUI are much greater than that of a FIRST OFFENSE DUI. Fines, Vehicle Impound, Multi-Offender DUI School, Ignition Interlock, and increased jail exposure.

Although a Second DUI Offense is classified as a second degree misdemeanor, the penalties for a Second DUI are more severe than standard second degree misdemeanors.

The standard penalties the Judge is required to impose on a Second DUI are as follows:

  • Up to 9 months incarceration;
  • Driver’s License revoked for a minimum of 6-12 months;
  • 10-30 day vehicle impoundment;
  • Ignition Interlock Device placed on all vehicles owned or operated by the offender for a minimum of 1 year;
  • 50 hours of community service;
  • Complete a 21-hour Multi-Offender DUI Substance Abuse Course.
  • Undergo an evaluation to determine if Substance Abuse treatment is needed, if so complete recommended treatment.

In addition to Second DUI Penalties, enhanced penalties are required to be imposed if the person had a breath or blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or had a minor with them at the time of the offense.

Enhanced penalties are:

  • Up to 12 months incarceration
  • A fine of no less than $2,000 and no more than $4,000
  • Ignition Interlock Devices must be installed on all vehicles owned or operated by the Defendant.

How To Beat A Second DUI In Okaloosa County or Walton County With Solid Defensive Strategies

There are defenses that can be argued for a Second DUI Offense. Law Enforcement Officers must have one of two reasons for stopping a vehicle. The officer has to have reasonable suspicion that a traffic infraction is being committed or have probable cause that the driver committed a crime.

If an illegal DUI stop can be proven, any evidence obtained from the stop can be suppressed. It can also be argued that Field Sobriety Tests were improperly administered due to the officer’s lack of knowledge of the suspect’s normal balance and coordination or if they are even qualified to conduct some of the test such as the HGN (follow pen with eyes) test.

The HGN test is only reliable if it is done by a certified alcohol recognition expert.

An officer must have probable cause to believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol or chemical substance at the time of the stop.

If it can be proven that the officer did not have probable cause or had an unreasonable conclusion that the driver was under the influence, the arrest can be deemed illegal and any evidence can be suppressed. For example, an officer cannot use the smell of alcohol as a sole reason to make an arrest.

If the video shows that the driver performed Field Sobriety Tests satisfactorily as opposed to what was in the officer’s written report, the officer’s conclusion of impairment may be deemed unreasonable by the Judge.

In some situations, the breath test results can be inadmissible as well. There are very strict guidelines that must be followed in administering the Breathalyzer and if the officer fails to comply by the guidelines in any way, the results can be suppressed.

If you are facing charges on a Second DUI offense, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a quality DUI Defense Attorney, one that not only knows the DUI laws, but one that can maximize your chances of having a positive result.

If you need help in Okaloosa County or Walton County after a second arrest for drunk driving, give me a call at (850) 362-6655 for a free evaluation.