Stacey M. Washington, Attorney and CounselorAttorney and Counselor
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How Prior Criminal History Can Impact A DUI Case

prior criminal history.jpgCan a prior DUI conviction impact your current DUI case? Yes. A judge may use the accused's prior conviction to enhance his/her sentence. It is not uncommon for the prosecutor to use old convictions to enhance a sentence. Read on to learn more.

Prior Conviction Criminal Penalty Enhancement

A prior felony conviction or conviction arising from a crime that involves dishonesty may be introduced into evidence at trial to impeach the defendant. Prior convictions are typically used by the prosecution to have enhanced penalties and fines assessed against the accused at sentencing. The prosecutor must notify the defendant and court of his/her intent to introduce a prior conviction into evidence.

In most criminal matters, a key way the accused can prevent the admission of a prior conviction in his/her case is to refuse to testify at trial. If the accused chooses to testify, the prosecutor may try and put the accused's character into question in order to introduce a criminal conviction involving dishonest to impeach the accused's credibility if the truthfulness of his/her testimony is questioned. Fortunately, a judge may disallow a prior conviction to be introduced as evidence in most cases. The judge will use a balancing test to determine if the prior conviction should be admitted.

In Michigan, if a person is charged with a second DUI within seven (7) years of the date of his/her first DUI conviction, he/she will be subject to increased criminal penalties and license sanctions. Therefore, if a person is convicted of a subsequent DUI during this seven (7) year period, criminal penalties will be enhanced. For example, a second DUI requires the defendant serve a minimum of five (5) days in jail. The defendant's license will be revoked for a minimum of one (1) year if he/she is convicted of a second DUI within seven (7) years of the first DUI conviction.

Having two (2) prior DUI convictions in a lifetime (including convictions in other states) will result in a felony DUI charge. The penalties for a felony DUI conviction in Michigan are significant. If the defendant has any prior criminal convictions of any kind, a felony DUI could lead to prison time in addition to a mandatory license revocation of one (1) to five (5) years.

Having prior DUI convictions makes it a challenge to negotiate with the prosecutor for a lesser charge with a lesser penalty. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. Contact my law office to discuss your case in confidence.

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