How Serious is a Second DUI?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 21 January 2020
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In most places, a second driving under the influence (DUI) charge is a serious offense. When a person is charged with a second DUI, he is considered a repeat offender. In the eyes of the law, the first punishment he was given for driving under the influence failed to prevent him from committing the same crime again. As such, a person with a second DUI is usually given a harsher punishment in an effort to not only keep him from behind the wheel, but also help him to understand the seriousness of his crime. In many cases, a person convicted of this offense faces a longer period of time in jail, a longer driver’s license suspension, and an extended term in DUI school.

A DUI is a serious offense, regardless of the number of times a person is arrested for it. In general, however, each subsequent DUI is considered a more serious offense than the prior DUI. While a person with a first DUI may face the punishments allowable in his jurisdiction, his punishments may be more lenient because he hasn’t been in trouble before. Punishments may also be more lenient due to the fact that anyone can make a mistake once. A second DUI is more serious because the offender apparently knows the law regarding this type of offense and understands the consequences of his actions, yet commits the same crime again.


Since a second DUI is considered more serious than a first, a person who is convicted of this crime is likely to face harsher penalties. For example, a person who is convicted of a first DUI may have his license suspended for six months in some jurisdictions. A person who is convicted of a second DUI, however, may have his license suspended for two years or even lose it entirely.

Many jurisdictions require people convicted of DUIs to serve mandatory jail sentences and give repeat offenders more time in jail. For example, some jurisdictions give first-time DUI offenders at least 48 hours in jail. For a second DUI, however, a person may get twice as much jail time. In fact, there are some jurisdictions in which a second-time offender has to spend 10 to 30 days in jail.

Often, a second DUI also means a person will be given probation and have to attend DUI school. In some jurisdictions, for example, first-, second-, and third-time offenders are given three-to-five years of probation. Offenders may be required to attend DUI school as well, which is a drug and alcohol education program for DUI offenders. A second DUI conviction usually translates into a longer period of time in DUI school. This may depend, however, on the particular jurisdiction’s laws.


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