In general, it is a good idea to defend yourself against pending criminal charges, regardless of your criminal background and the nature of the charges. However, for those facing second time or third time charges for similar offenses, there is the potential for much steeper consequences. This is certainly true of those in Hawaii facing a second or third driving under the influence (DUI) charge.
While penalties are serious even for first-time offenders, they become much more steep for those accused of repeatedly violating impaired driving laws in Hawaii. Anyone worried about the potential for a second or third DUI conviction should definitely start exploring options for a criminal defense strategy.
Hawaii increases penalties for second and third DUI offenses
In some ways, first time DUI offenders in Hawaii have an easy go of things. Compared to other states, the potential penalties are relatively low. Most first-time DUI charges that do not result in property damage or injuries to a third party have no jail time attached to a conviction or a guilty plea.
Someone convicted of a first DUI offense will have to pay between $150 and $1,000 in fines and will likely have their license suspended for 90 days. In order for subsequent offenses to count as a second and third offense, they must occur within five years of the original offense.
Second DUI offenses within that five-year window carry a minimum jail sentence of five days. Someone who pleads guilty or gets convicted could face up to 14 days in jail, along with a fine of between $500 and $1,500. The license suspension for a second offense lasts for a full year. A third DUI offense carries between 10 and 30 days in jail, between $500 and $2,500 in fines and a license suspension that will last between one and five years.
It is possible to defend against DUI charges even with another conviction
Impaired driving, in some ways, is different than many other criminal offenses. Anyone accused of a crime has the presumption of innocence under federal law in the United States. However, in some cases, the presumption of innocence seems to apply less. Far too many people assume that anyone charged with a DUI must inherently be guilty, especially if it isn't a first offense.
This is due, in large part, to the performance of roadside sobriety tests, as well as chemical breath testing. People may assume that anyone who faces DUI charges has solid evidence against them. However, both of these systems have flaws that can result in false positives. There are many defense strategies that work for certain DUI situations.
Anyone facing DUI charges deserves the same presumption of innocence and opportunity to defend themselves as other criminal offenses. Exploring legal options is a good decision for anyone in Hawaii facing a DUI charge.