Driving under the influence is a criminal act in every state, and the penalties can be incredibly severe. If you are charged with DUI, the first thing you should do is to hire a reputable lawyer, or legal office experienced in DUI cases and laws. Although many attorneys can assist with cases related to drunk driving, it is best to work with an individual or law firm that specializes in these cases. DUI laws change frequently, and each year seems to bring costlier fines and harsher punishments.
If charged with driving while intoxicated, a police officer will arrest you, and you will be charged with DUI. The charges you face may send you to jail and temporarily, or permanently, revoke your driver’s license. Depending upon your level of impairment, the circumstances of your case, and the state's drunk driving laws, you may experience severe consequences. For example, you may become uninsurable, be required to take alcohol abuse classes and therapy, have restrictions placed on your travel, be identified by special license plates, and the like. The consequences of a DUI conviction may affect every aspect of your life, and the only way to avoid this is to seek legal advice and assistance immediately after the arrest. An experienced attorney will always find a way to provide you the best defense possible.
How Reliable Are Sobriety Tests
Keep in mind that even first time offenders may face jail time, driver's license suspension and also be subject to ignition interlock device installation. Drunk driving penalties vary from state to state and mostly depend on the charge and your number of offenses.
DUI convictions can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Drunk driving is typically considered a misdemeanor. Drunk driving is considered a felony offense when you have prior convictions, when you cause property damage, and if you have hurt another individual.
General penalties for driving under the influence include hefty fines, jail time, driver's license suspension, probation, and community service. In more severe cases, punishment includes installing ignition interlock device, AA counseling and even impoundment of the vehicle.
Penalties for first, second, third and fourth time and above DUI convictions are as follows:
• First time DUI offenders may have to pay fines between $500 and $2000, face up to six months in jail, and have their driver's license temporarily suspended.
• Second time DUI offenders may have to pay fines $1000 and $5000, face up to one year in jail, attend community service and have their driver's license suspended for an entire year. A DUI offense is considered second when it’s committed within five years after the first one.
• Third time DUI offenders may have to pay fines between $2000 and $10,000, face up to one year in jail, and have their driver's license suspended for three years.
• Fourth time and above drunk driving offenders are charged with a felony DUI. These offenders have to pay fines between $4000 and $10,000, face up to ten years in jail, and have their driver's license suspended for five years.
Convicted Of Drunk Driving - The After Effects
Every person convicted of drunk driving will have a subsequent criminal record that may affect his life in various aspects. It may change both his personal and work life, but it mostly affects employment. Apart from preventing an individual to get a job due to his criminal background, a driver's license suspension due to DUI can also affect one's employment if his job involves driving. The best way to protect yourself from DUI is never to commit one. However, if you are caught and arrested for drunk driving, make sure you hire an experienced lawyer to defend you and minimize the consequences.