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Any DUI charge can result in serious consequences for your personal, professional, and financial situation. A second DUI conviction within a five-year period may have even more severe implications for these aspects of your life. If you are facing a second DUI charge, you may want to get the advice of a Shelby County second-offense DUI lawyer prior to making any hasty decisions to resolve your charges.

A second DUI conviction can result in a substantially longer jail sentence and many more expenses than for a first DUI conviction. These costs may include probation fees, high-risk vehicle insurance, fines, expenses related to the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. A dedicated DUI lawyer may be able to represent your interests and minimize the impact of the charges against you.

DUI Charges in Shelby County

DUI charges may result whenever a law enforcement officer accuses individuals of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater, when under the influence of controlled substances, alcohol, or both that impairs their ability to drive safely, or under the influence of any substance that impairs mental or physical faculties to the point that they are unable to safely drive.

Some drivers are subject to different BAC limits. Individuals who are under the age of 21 may not drive if they have a BAC of 0.02 percent or greater. Daycare and school bus drivers are prohibited from driving if they have a BAC of 0.04 percent or greater.

Likewise, drivers who hold commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs) are subject to federal restrictions on BAC levels when operating commercial vehicles. All of these special circumstances also may lead to DUI charges in Shelby County.

Lookback Period for DUI Convictions

In determining whether a DUI conviction is a first, second, or subsequent offense for the purposes of sentencing, the court will “look back” at the criminal history of individuals for the previous five years. If there is a first DUI conviction within that five-year lookback period, then the current DUI charge will constitute a second DUI offense under Alabama law. This lookback period can create a significant difference in potential jail sentences and fines between a first DUI conviction and a second DUI conviction.

Penalties for a Second-Offense DUI Convictions

As per Ala. Code § 32-5A-191, the charges for a second-offense DUI are still misdemeanor charges, but the potential penalties are greater than for a first-offense DUI. A conviction for a second DUI can result in a sentence of incarceration ranging from a mandatory minimum of five days to 365 days. In lieu of the mandatory minimum five-day sentence, however, the sentencing court can require individuals to complete 30 days of community service.

Other penalties may include a minimum fine of $1,100 up to a maximum fine of $5,100. Individuals with a second DUI conviction within five years also will have a license revocation for one year and the required installation of an ignition interlock device for two years.

However, the court may permit these individuals to obtain an ignition interlock restricted license after serving 45 days of the license suspension; at that point, the two-year required ignition interlock installation period would begin.

Furthermore, individuals in this situation will be required to maintain high-risk SR-22 motor vehicle insurance for a period of three years, which is costly. They also may need to complete any court referrals to a substance abuse treatment program. As a result of these high stakes, getting advice from a skilled Shelby County second-offense DUI lawyer could be key to resolving a defendant’s situation in a positive manner.

How a Shelby County Second-Offense DUI Attorney Could Help

A DUI charge, even if a second offense within five years, does not always result in a DUI conviction. In some cases, there are evidentiary issues, law enforcement officers who do not always follow procedure, and other circumstances that may impact the ability to effectively prosecute your case.

A Shelby County second-offense DUI lawyer may be able to investigate your case and consider whether any irregularities in your arrest and charges exist.

Working with a skilled DUI defense attorney in Shelby County can be a good first step to building a defense to the charges against you. Going it alone when the potential penalties for a conviction are so great can be a risky choice. Getting advice at the outset of your case may be the wiser path to follow.