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What Happens After a Second DUI?


What Happens After a Second DUI?

Getting a DUI is scary enough, but a second one can have even more serious consequences. I’m writing this article to walk through what happens after a second DUI, so you can be prepared and hopefully avoid making the same mistake again.

First off, let’s quickly review what happens after a first DUI. The penalties vary by state, but generally you’ll face fines, license suspension, DUI classes, and possible jail time. Your insurance rates will also go way up. It’s a big wake-up call to be more responsible.

Many states treat a second DUI much more harshly. For example, fines may double, license suspension periods will be longer, you may be required to use an ignition interlock device, and jail time is much more likely. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common penalties for a second DUI conviction.


Fines for a second DUI often increase substantially compared to a first offense. For example, in California the fine for a first DUI is $390-$1,000 plus penalties and assessments. But for a second DUI within 10 years, the fine jumps up to $1,015-$2,000 plus penalties and assessments. So you could be looking at around $2,500 or more just for the base fine.

Other states have similar fine increases. In Florida, a second DUI within 5 years bumps the fine up to $1,000-$2,000. And in Texas, it increases to up to $4,000. The fines alone make a second DUI very costly.

License Suspension

For a first DUI, license suspension periods are generally between 30-180 days. But for a second DUI, many states suspend your license for a full year or longer. For example, in California it’s a 2-year suspension. And in Florida and Texas it’s a 5-year suspension if it’s within 5 years of the first offense.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

That’s a really long time to not be able to drive legally! Some states offer the possibility of a restricted license after a period of “hard suspension” where you can’t drive at all. But it’s very limited – often just for work purposes.

Having your license suspended for a year or more is a huge inconvenience and can severely impact your life and job. Many people end up driving illegally, which we obviously don’t recommend because it can lead to further legal issues.

Jail Time

For a first DUI, jail time is possible but not guaranteed. Fines, license suspension, and DUI classes are much more likely. But with a second DUI, prosecutors and judges tend to get much tougher. At minimum you’ll spend a night or two in jail after the arrest. And a conviction on a second DUI charge within 5-10 years almost always leads to mandatory jail time.

For example, a second DUI in California within 10 years comes with a mandatory jail sentence of 90 days to 1 year. The judge has no choice but to impose it. Florida and Texas have similar mandatory minimum jail times of 10 days up to 1 year for a second DUI within 5 years.

Even if you just serve the minimum 10-90 day sentence, that’s a huge disruption to your life. Jail time for a second DUI is almost guaranteed.

Ignition Interlock Device

Many states require an ignition interlock device (IID) to be installed in your car after a second DUI. This is a breathalyzer connected to the ignition system – you have to blow into it clean before the car will start. Random rolling retests are also required while driving.

For example, California, Florida, and Texas all require IIDs after a second DUI conviction. The device must stay installed for a certain period – usually 1-2 years. And you have to pay rental fees which can add up to over $100 per month.

An IID prevents you from starting your car if you’ve been drinking. It’s a major inconvenience, but does help enforce sobriety and safe driving habits.

DUI Classes & Treatment

Almost all states require DUI education classes after a first offense. But after a second DUI, you’ll likely have to take longer and more intensive DUI treatment classes. This includes alcohol education, group counseling, and individual assessment. It aims to change your relationship with alcohol and help prevent another DUI.

For example, California requires you to complete an 18- or 30-month DUI program after a second offense. And Florida requires Level II DUI school, which involves 50 hours of treatment. Completing these programs is mandatory.

Treatment can be very helpful for those struggling with alcohol abuse. But it also takes a lot of time and money to complete the required program.


After serving any jail time, most states require a period of supervised probation for a year or more. This means checking in regularly with a probation officer. You may have to submit to random drug/alcohol testing and complete community service. Any slip-ups could land you back in jail.

Probation terms often include not being able to drink alcohol, frequenting bars, or being out past certain times. Your driving privileges will be restricted. These conditions aim to keep you sober and out of trouble.

While probation allows you to avoid additional jail time, it’s a big lifestyle change. The strict rules and monitoring make it difficult to live a normal life.

Higher Insurance Rates

A first DUI conviction leads to much higher car insurance rates, usually about 2-3x higher. But after a second DUI, many insurance companies may refuse to insure you entirely. Or if they do, your rates could be 4-5x higher than before the first DUI.

SR-22 insurance is often required after a second DUI to reinstate your license. This type of high-risk insurance is expensive. Monthly premiums of $200-300 are common after a second DUI. And you’ll have to maintain the SR-22 coverage for 5 years in many states.

The increased insurance costs make driving legally very expensive. It’s one of the big financial hits of a second DUI.

Employment Issues

A second DUI can also create problems at your job. If your license is suspended, that may make it impossible to commute. Jail time will force you to miss work. And some employers will fire workers after a second DUI, especially if driving is part of the job.

Your career and income may take a big hit after a second DUI conviction. It can be difficult finding a new job as well with a DUI record.

Felony Charges

Most first and second DUIs are prosecuted as misdemeanors. But in some states, a third DUI within a certain period of time can be charged as a felony. And in a few states like Oklahoma, a second DUI is automatically a felony.

Being convicted of a felony leads to much more severe consequences including hefty fines, years in prison, and losing certain rights. It also results in a permanent criminal record that can follow you for life.

So in states that treat a second or third DUI as a felony, it’s critical to get your drinking under control before it reaches that level.

Vehicle Forfeiture

Some states allow your vehicle to be forfeited or sold after a second DUI, meaning you’ll lose your car. For example, Florida allows vehicle forfeiture after a second DUI conviction within 5 years. This adds a huge financial hit on top of the other penalties.

Not all states allow forfeiture for a second DUI. But it’s possible in some, so be prepared to find new transportation if you lose your vehicle.

Permanent Criminal Record

Any DUI conviction becomes a permanent part of your criminal record. That can make things like applying for jobs, housing, loans, and graduate school much more difficult in the future. A second DUI multiplies this effect.

While a DUI record can be expunged in some cases, it’s a difficult process. These convictions have a way of following you around.

Having multiple DUIs on your record will make many things harder down the road. Your opportunities in life may be limited.

Social Embarrassment

Beyond the legal penalties, a second DUI often causes major social embarrassment. Family and friends will look at you differently. People may see you as having a serious drinking problem. The social stigma can be hard to overcome.

Your relationships may suffer. Spouses sometimes seek divorce after a second DUI. The shame and social consequences are very real.

Should You Fight the Charges?

With so much on the line, it’s natural to want to fight a second DUI charge. In some cases, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed. But this depends heavily on the specifics of your case.

An experienced DUI lawyer can review the arrest details and advise you on the best defense options. Here are some common ways a second DUI may be challenged:

  • Illegal traffic stop – If the officer didn’t have valid reason to pull you over, any evidence found after may be excluded.
  • Miranda rights violation – If you weren’t read your rights properly, your statements may get thrown out.
  • Invalid field sobriety tests – Mistakes in how FSTs were conducted could weaken the case against you.
  • Faulty breath test – Machines have margins of error and can be challenged by a skilled DUI lawyer.
  • No probable cause – Officers need valid reasons to make an arrest and charge you.

While it is possible to fight and beat a second DUI, your chances of success are lower than with a first offense. Prosecutors know you’ve been through this before and are less willing to drop charges.

Still, consulting an attorney to explore your options is usually a good idea after any DUI arrest.

Plea Bargaining

Rather than fully contesting the charges, you may be able to negotiate a plea bargain instead. This involves pleading guilty in exchange for reduced penalties.

For a second DUI, typical plea bargains include:

  • Pleading to a first DUI instead of a second
  • Getting mandatory minimum jail time waived
  • Having the charges reduced to reckless driving
  • Agreeing to increased probation or treatment programs

Reckless driving is often the best outcome as it avoids a second DUI conviction. But you’ll still face fines, license suspension, and higher insurance costs.

An experienced lawyer can advise if a plea bargain makes sense and help negotiate the best deal possible under the circumstances.

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