If you get a second DUI / OVWI within seven years of a prior DUI / OVWI, it will be charged as a felony. A second DUI / OVWI is serious, not only because it’s charged as a felony, but also because of the different perspectives surrounding first and second-offense DUI / OVWIs. A first offense is serious, but judges, prosecutors, and the public tend to understand that mistakes happen, and no one is perfect; it can really happen to anyone.
When it comes to a second offense, the courts and the public are much less forgiving. Judges and prosecutors think that the person is not learning their lesson or has an alcohol problem, or both. Unfortunately, the focus of a repeat offender DUI / OVWI prosecution is making an example out of the person.
Second DUI / OVWI: Mandatory jail or mandatory community service?
The biggest difference between a first and second DUI / OVWI is that for the second, there is a mandatory five actual days in jail or 240 hours of community service. To do a little math, 240 hours of community service is the equivalent of working a full-time job for six weeks. This stretches out even longer if someone only has the weekends available for their community service.
Still, most clients (and pretty much most people in general) would rather do the community service than jail time. Unfortunately, it’s not always up to the client. Some prosecutors will never even offer the community service work. Others will offer the community service work, but the judge will never accept it.
Beyond the fact that it’s a felony, this is what makes a second offense so serious—a defendant often has little-to-no choice in which of these statutorily required “options” they will end up with.
Click here to read on about the potential consequences of multiple DUI / OVWI charges.