Will I be Going to Jail for a Second DUI Offense?

Chances of Jail Time for Second DUI or DWI Convictions

Being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a very serious thing but when it is a second offense, the stakes are even higher. Generally, second offenders and repeat offenders face higher penalties for DUI and DWI than first time offenders, which often include higher fines, longer license suspensions, and a higher likelihood of having to serve jail time. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the penalties for DUI and DWI often vary from state to state.

Jail Time Associated with Driving Under the Influence Convictions

In all of the 50 states, a first-offense DUI or DWI conviction is considered a misdemeanor crime. Even though this type of charge could carry a sentence of up to six months in jail, jail time is generally not required for first-time offenders – rather, they pay fines and/or have their licenses suspended. For those who are repeat offenders, it is not uncommon for jail time to be mandatory and, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, these sentences can range anywhere from months to a few years.

Penalties Vary by State

Generally, the penalties for Driving Under the Influence and Driving While Intoxicated include some combination of having to pay fines, having the offender’s license suspended, having to participate in alcohol and/or drug education classes, having their vehicle confiscated, and having to spend time behind bars. Depending on the state and the severity of the charge against the offender, these penalties can range in severity or length of time. Here are some examples of mandatory jail sentences by state:

  • Alabama:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail or 30 Days Community Service
  • Arizona:
    • First Offense DUI: 24 Hours in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 30 Days in Jail
  • California:
    • First Offense DUI: 4 Days in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 90 Days in Jail
  • Connecticut:
    • First Offense DUI: 48 Hours in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 120 Days in Jail
  • District of Columbia:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time unless:
      • BAC is higher than .20 – 5 Days in Jail
      • BAC is higher than.25 – 15 Days in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail or 30 Days Community Service
  • Georgia:
    • First Offense DUI: 24 Hours in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 3 Days in Jail
  • Idaho:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
  • Indiana:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
  • Kansas:
    • First Offense DUI: 2 Days in Jail or 100 Hours Community Service
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
  • Louisiana:
    • First Offense DUI: 2 Days in jail or 48 Hours Community Service
    • Second Offense DUI: 30 Days in Jail or 2 Days in Jail and 30 Days of Community Service
  • Maryland:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
  • Michigan:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
  • Mississippi:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
  • Montana:
    • First Offense DUI: 1 Day in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
  • Nevada:
    • First Offense DUI: 2 Days in Jail or 48 Hours Community Service
      • Offender Must Wear Distinctive Garb Indicating DUI Conviction for Community Service
    • Second Offense DUI: 10 Days in Jail
  • New Jersey:
    • First Offense DUI: 12 Hours in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 2 Days in Jail
  • New York:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail or 30 Days Community Service
  • North Dakota:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
  • Oklahoma:
    • First Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 10 Days in Jail
  • Pennsylvania:
    • First Offense DUI:
      • BAC of .08 to 0.99 – No Minimum Jail Time
      • BAC of .10 to .159 – 2 Days in Jail
      • BAC of .16 and Higher – 3 Days in jail
    • Second Offense DUI:
      • BAC of .08 to 0.99 – 5 Days in Jail
      • BAC of .10 to .159 – 30 Days in Jail
      • BAC of .16 and Higher – 90 Days in jail
    • South Carolina:
      • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
      • Second Offense DUI: 5 Days in Jail
  •  Tennessee:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
      • BAC of .20 or Higher – 7 Days in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 45 Days in Jail
  •  Utah:
    • First Offense DUI: 2 Days in Jail
    • Second Offense DUI: 10 Days in Jail
  •  Virginia:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI:
      • Prior Offense Occurred More than 5 Years but Less than 10 Years Ago – 10 Days in Jail
      • Prior Offense Occurred Less than 5 Years Ago – 20 Days in Jail
  • West Virginia:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 6 Months in Jail
  •  Wyoming:
    • First Offense DUI: No Minimum Required Jail Time
    • Second Offense DUI: 7 Days in Jail

As you can see from the examples above, jail time is a requirement for second offense DUI or DWI convictions in many of the 50 states. Even though jail time is likely, the length of the jail sentence varies greatly from one state to the next, and in some cases, certain factors surround the DUI arrest also play a role in the amount of time an offender will serve in jail after their second DUI conviction.

Is Jail Time Likely for Young Offenders?

In many cases, young offenders of crimes receive lesser sentences because they are not considered to be adults in the eyes of the law. Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated charges for minors, however, often carry harsher penalties, since the legal drinking age in almost all states is 21 years of age. The legal Blood Alcohol Content level for adults is .08 percent where the legal limit for minors is .02 percent. Generally, underage offenders arrested for DUI will be charged with both Driving Under the Influence as well as Underage Drinking.

Depending on the laws in the state in which the arrest took place, it may be possible for the younger offender to face the same penalties for their crime as an adult offender – this means they will face equal fines, education requirements, vehicle revocation, and jail time as their adult counterparts. In addition to these penalties, underage DUI offenders will likely have their license suspended for a period of one year or more and will have to face the additional penalties brought on by the Underage Drinking charge.

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