In part 1 of this article, we began our general overview of 2nd Offense DUI’s and some of the considerations involved in this type of case. In part 2, we continued that examination. Here, in part 3, we’ll conclude with a discussion of Court costs and other, related fees, and take a look at how the emotional and psychological aspects of a 2nd Offense charge can be viewed either with optimism, or pessimism, and how being ready, willing and able to do some legwork can have such a significant impact on making the outcome of such a case much better.
It should come as no surprise that, beyond legal Fees, this will cost a lot. And here’s where I have to be honest about my feeling on the matter: Oh well. We all have money issues. If I had more than enough to need to work, I’d be somewhere warm, managing investment accounts under a palm garden, sipping Sweet Tea and listening to the gentle crash of the ocean waves. But I’m here, and not there, and neither is the person facing a 2nd Offense. We all have to do what we have to do, and if you’re facing a 2nd Offense DUI, paying a lot of money is part of that.
Some people take a bit of stress off themselves and just accept this, while others will rant on about how it’s a great big conspiracy on the part of the Court and the Government to make money. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what it is, because a person has no choice, anyway.
Those costs are significant. If a 1st Offense seemed expensive, wait and see how this goes. Fines and costs can easily be double that of a 1st Offense. The Driver Responsibility Fees WILL be double, racking in at $1000 per year, for 2 years. Probation will likely be longer, and will almost certainly be Reporting, which will also cost a nice chunk of cash, unless the person lives, or moves out-of-state. There will be Counseling and/or Treatment. Guess who pays for that?
Now I’m not suggesting anyone can “buy” their way out of a 2nd Offense DUI, but NOT being able to pay fines and costs, and otherwise coming to Court with empty pockets will only complicate things. Here’s where another bit of honesty, as opposed to salesman’s diplomacy, is needed on the part of the Lawyer: If YOU were the Judge, and you sat on that Bench and saw DUI after DUI, with lots of them being 2nd Offenses, how interested would you be in dealing with all the excuses why a person cannot pay? Part of that Judge’s mentality becomes, at least with time, the whole notion that “If you’re going to play, you’ve got to pay.” It’s really that “oh well” sentiment all over again.
Now, I do understand that not everyone can satisfy the financial obligations caused by a 2nd Offense quite so easily. But a Lawyer has to do more than just go in and ask the Judge “can my Client have some time to pay?” After all, the Client can do that on their own. Instead, I have a rather simple approach; if you pay me, I’ll help you get time to pay them. We might need to sit down and actually sketch out a budget to hand the Judge, but if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes.
This pretty much wraps up the “Legal” considerations involved in a 2nd Offense DUI case. There are also a few very important emotional and psychological aspects to these cases that are just as important.
Whatever the final details of any case, no one feels good about having to deal with this mess. In an earlier, 4 part article, I went over, in great detail, how most people facing a 2nd Offense DUI fall into on of 3 categories:
- Those who “get it,” and realize alcohol has been the common denominator in their life’s problems,
- Those who know something is wrong, and are willing to look at that possibility, and
- Those who just don’t get anything, and feel unlucky, or even “picked on.”
There are, of course, cases where a person is truly just “unlucky” and doesn’t really have a drinking problem, although the “statistics” tell us those cases are really rare.
Whichever category a person falls into, that feeling of dread, and that idea that “my life is ruined” are often a natural part of dealing with these cases. Another article I wrote a while ago outlined how, in the vast majority of cases where a person has to deal with these types of feelings, things work out. Seldom do things turn out nearly as bad as the person at first feared. They do not become homeless.
Even those who, at this juncture, really do have a problem and, for whatever reason, are unable to recognize it, will look back, whenever they get better, and see the negative consequences from their 2nd Offense DUI as at least the beginnings of a “wake-up call.”
That may be cold comfort to someone who needs a Driver’s License to do their job. But bear in mind that, throughout history, strong people have faced far greater obstacles and overcome them. If there’s anything to be taken away from this experience, it’s the notion that each of us controls our own destiny, and even when all seems to be lined up against us we seem to be getting knocked down again and again, the only thing to do is to get up, dust off, and get back in the game of life.
A 2nd Offense OWI sucks. There’s no getting around that. It’s going to hurt in a lot of ways. However, with good Legal Representation and proper planning, a lot of that hardship can be avoided, or minimized.
Sometimes, a person has the proverbial “light switch” go off and will quit drinking. That can be hard. Recently, a Client of mine, in describing her new-found sobriety and her experiences in getting used to, it candidly admitted that, from time to time, “I miss my old friend.” Still, a person really only has 2 choices when faced with a 2nd Offense Drunk Driving:
- Do nothing, and see what happens, or
- Take the lead in making things happen.
There is an old adage that I think best describes how important that notion of taking the lead can be. “Good work is the key to good fortune. Winners take that praise, losers seldom take that blame.”
Remember, at this point, you’re still at bat in your own life. It’s only that 3rd strike that puts you out.