When you are charged and convicted of a DUI, there are many chances to add to your legal woes. Driving on a suspended license or outside of restrictions and interlock violations come to mind. Then there are the chances of relapsing into old behaviors and receiving a second DUI charge. In this regard, not only is the legal system stacked against offenders, but many offenders are stacked against themselves.
According to research compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1/3 of all DUI arrests are repeat offenders. In addition, the following groups are more likely to reoffend and receive a second DUI conviction:
- Males: around 90% of repeat offenders are men.
- Individuals between 30 and 40 years old: the mean age of a repeat offender is 35
- Individuals who are educated through high school or lower
- Individuals who are unemployed, have low income or non-white collar jobs
- Individuals who have never been married or are divorced, separated or widowed
- Individuals who have personality and/or psychosocial issues
If you are a first time offender, go through that list one by one and check off if any apply to you. I’ll go first: I checked off all six. I am a mid-30’s male, educated through high school (for now, I am in the process of completing a bachelor’s degree), who works in the service industry, divorced and in therapy for anxiety and depression.
If any apply to you, you are at great risk of reoffending and need to work extra hard at staying out of trouble. Becoming aware of your risk for reoffending is the first step. The second is becoming aware of the behaviors that led to your first offense, and correcting them for good.
Finally, the penalties for a second DUI in the Commonwealth of Virginia according to the DMV:
- Mandatory, minimum $500 fine
- Driver’s license revocation for three years
- Possible jail term up to one year
- If eligible for a restricted driver’s license, an interlock device required to be installed on every vehicle owned, co-owned or operated by the offender
- VASAP enrollment
Additionally, a conviction for a DUI second offense within ten years of a prior offense carries a mandatory minimum ten-day jail sentence. A conviction for DUI second offense within five years of a prior offense carries a mandatory minimum 20-day jail term.
It’s a difficult road overcoming your first DUI, especially if you fall into one or more of the risk factors for a second. Be aware of the risk factors and work to correct any and all behaviors that led to the first offense. A second offense is just not worth it.