When someone drinks or uses drugs and then operates a vehicle, they should understand what the potential penalties might be. Many people think that getting charged with a DUI is minor traffic offense, but most states now prosecute those offenses as a crime and a serious crime at that. While the exact punishments might vary depending on your state, it's helpful to find out what penalties might exist if you are convicted of this crime. Read on to learn more.
If you are a first-time offender, your chances of being sentenced to jail time are somewhat low. While a few states impose jail time for even first-timers, most states impose mandatory jail time for second or more offenses. In most cases, offenders won't be jailed for more than a few days to several months.
Driver's License Suspensions
Your chances of having your driving license suspended due to a DUI are pretty high. Even if you end up taking a plea deal and are never convicted of a DUI, the department of motor vehicles may impose fines and suspensions on those who demonstrate blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results over a certain amount. Those who are convicted of a DUI or who have their license suspended by the DMV due to a high BAC can expect to lose their license for anywhere from 30 days to several months.
If having no driver's license is not enough, you will undoubtedly also face fines in connection with the suspensions including paying more (a lot more) to have your license reinstated after the suspension period ends. For those who refused to participate in a field sobriety test or BAC test, you can expect some mandatory license suspensions regardless of a DUI conviction. Permanent license revocations are possible for those with multiple DUI convictions.
Ignition Interlock Devices
In some states, convicted DUI offenders must agree to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles. This device prevents the vehicle from starting until the driver blows into a tube that measures BAC. If the device detects the presence of alcohol, the car won't start. Once the car is in motion, the driver must continue to use the device at certain intervals. Not only will the car not start, but the results of the BAC are reported to the driver's probation officer.
Court costs and other fees for those convicted of a DUI vary but will be less for first-time offenders. You can expect fees and fines from several hundred to several thousand dollars. You may also be required to pay for alcohol-related educational classes, victim restitution funds, administrative charges, and more.
Your arrest and the subsequent field sobriety tests can be challenged, so speak to a criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested for a DUI.
Talk to a local DUI attorney for more info.