Anyone facing a 2nd offense DUI can literally “feel” the seriousness of the situation, so there is nothing to be gained by repeating all the scary things that could happen. As a Michigan DUI lawyer with the most informational blog anywhere, I’ve gone to great lengths to explain how most of those potential negative consequences won’t occur, anyway, and that even jail can be avoided in most 2nd offense cases. Thus, the last thing the reader needs is some laundry list of all the possible legal punishments that can be imposed. Nor, for that matter, does the reader need to endure some babbling sales pitch about how this or that lawyer can save you from them, or from more of them than the next guy. In this 2-part article, I want to step back and take something of a “big picture” look at a 2nd offense DUI situation and 2 key assumptions that run through every such case: the presence of a drinking problem and that the person is a habitual (meaning repeat) offender.
To get a handle on that first assumption, forget the whole court and criminal justice system for a moment. Imagine you are at a social gathering with some really decent people. The subject of DUI’s comes up, and someone mentions that Lovely Linda’s husband was recently arrested for his second offense. By all accounts, Linda’s husband is a successful professional and a nice guy. A few people blink and say something like “wow,” or “ooh.” Why do regular people react that way? First, because it seems out of character or unexpected (Linda and her husband are, remember, nice people), and second, because people automatically assume that he has a drinking problem, based solely upon the news that he picked up a 2nd DUI. The distinction I want to the reader to think about here is that things are perceived differently, depending on your position in the situation. When it’s you facing the DUI, it is normal to have all kinds of excuses and explanations to minimize your actions. However, if it’s you hearing about someone else’s 2nd offense DUI, you generally and almost immediately conclude that he or she has some kind of drinking problem, and would likely be dismissive of all the person’s excuses and explanations to the contrary.
If we’re going to undertake a realistic examination of 2nd offense DUI cases, we have to begin with this. There are too many lawyers out there selling people what they want to hear, but in the real world, where these cases are actually handled, you have to understand how a 2nd offense drunk driving is perceived, especially in the court system where they are decided. You have to ask yourself if you’re looking for a lawyer to help you, or just agree with you. Whatever you may say or feel about it, the truth is that when you walk into court for a 2nd offense DUI, you are seen, up front, as having a troubled relationship to alcohol.