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Two DUIs in One Night?

How can someone possibly get two DUIs in one night? It happens more often than you might expect.

Most of us know that alcohol reduces inhibitions. We usually think of this in terms of a drunk being overly affectionate or saying things he wouldn’t say sober. We also know this explains why a person who knows better will keep drinking when he is already too drunk. But other inhibitions are reduced, too, including knowing not to drive after you’ve been detained, arrested, stuck, photographed, fingerprinted, processed, and returned home to sleep it off.

No night in the drunk tank?

Many people are surprised to learn that not all people arrested for DUI are tossed in a drunk tank for the night. Far from it: the vast majority of DUI suspects are released that night, either to a friend or family member, to a cab driver, or – if the officer is feeling generous or it is on his way – are given a ride back home. The reason for this is that although someone may be “arrested” for DUI that night, he isn’t actually charged for the offense until several days, or even weeks or months later. If lab tests beyond what the local hospital could do were required, it may be even longer before charges are filed.

Years ago, there was a rule that DUI charges had to be filed within ten days of the incident. That rule has been set aside, and the actual statute of limitations is now the standard two years.

In the rare instance where someone is incarcerated for the night, it is because of some reason other than the DUI itself. He may be from out of state, have no permanent residence, or have additional charges against him. He may be in the country illegally and is being held at the behest of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. To be held in jail, there must be a “commitment,” meaning he must have been given the opportunity to post bail to be released and, failing to post that bail amount, is incarcerated in lieu of bail. A Magisterial District Judge sets bail, and one is on duty all night for just such cases.

Two DUIs in One Night?

As I explained above, this is not that uncommon. I myself have represented at least three individuals over the years with two (or more!) DUIs in one day. It is always a tragic story of overindulgence and alcoholism. The best outcome for this sort of case is intensive, prolonged treatment of the underlying disease of alcoholism. Unfortunately, our courts and justice systems are traditionally ill-equipped to treat people with an illness like alcoholism. In recent years, however, there has been an increasing understanding of the need for treatment in addition to punishment. This has taken the form of specific DUI Courts that help individuals with several DUI offenses get and stay clean and sober. There are also private treatment programs that the courts will increasingly recognize as suitable for “time credit” toward any jail sentences.

If you find yourself charged with a DUI, you need an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side. Pick someone who knows what options are available and can help you get the help you need. Attorney Justin P. Miller knows what options are out there and can assist you in your time of need. Contact him today for a free consultation.

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