Guide to Second DUI Offense Penalties
Repeat DUI infractions are considered much more serious than a first-time offense. Because of this, the penalties for a second DUI offense in many states are significantly higher than penalties for a first DUI offense. A second offense can carry much higher fines and a far greater risk of jail time. State mandatory minimums make jail time mandatory for some second DUI offenses. This guide will help you to understand the penalties and consequences of a second DUI offense, including jail time, fines, consequences to your vehicle, and consequences to your driver's license. Because these penalties vary by state, it is important that you check your state's specific sentencing guidelines if you are in danger of being convicted of a second DUI offense.
License Suspension and Revocation
No matter what state you live in, your license will be suspended for a significant period of time if you are convicted of a second DUI offense. First-time offenders may only have their license suspended for a month or two, but the vast majority of states suspend your license for a year or more when you have been convicted for a second time. Many states also allow your vehicle to be confiscated and auctioned off by the government if it has been used to commit repeat DUI.
Some states will suspend your license for up to three years when you commit a second DUI offense. In most states, after some period of time you may be allowed to petition the court for limited driving privileges (for instance, if you need to drive in order to get to work or school). However, this will generally happen only after half the suspension time has elapsed. Drivers with limited driving privileges may also be subject to additional consequences to their vehicles—see the next section of this guide for details.
Ignition Interlock and DUI License Plates
When you regain limited driving privileges after a second DUI offense, you may be forced to install an ignition interlock device on your car or use special DUI license plates. Ignition interlocks are devices that require you to take a “breathalyzer” test with a clean result before your vehicle will start. DUI license plates are specially marked (usually differently-colored) license plates that indicate you have previously been convicted of DUI.
Jail Time and Fines
State mandatory minimums for both fines and jail time escalate rapidly with each new DUI offense. A second DUI offense requires jail time in most states, although you may be able to reduce your jail time by getting alcohol addiction assessment and treatment. Your jail time and fines may be made higher if your DUI was aggravated by causing an accident or having a particularly high BAC level.
Fines for a second DUI offense can be several thousand dollars, and regaining vehicle insurance after a second DUI conviction can be quite difficult and expensive. You may wish to speak to a lawyer regarding legal options in your state if you are convicted of a second DUI offense.