If you have been convicted of a DUI, you could face many different penalties such as jail time or a loss of driving privileges. In some cases, it could lead to a job loss, strain professional and personal relationships and have a generally negative impact on your finances as well. This is why you should talk an attorney immediately after being charged with driving under the influence.
How Long Could You Go to Jail For?
For a first offense, you could go to jail for a minimum of 24 hours assuming that there were no aggravating factors in the case. Aggravating factors may include an extremely high blood alcohol content, eluding police or taking actions that leave someone dead or injured. In such a scenario, you could be held in jail until you can see a judge. If you can’t make bail, you may have to stay in jail until your trial begins.
How Long Could You Lose Your License For?
A driver who refuses to take a breath test at the scene of a traffic stop will automatically lose his or her license for a period of one year. If convicted of a DUI, an individual could lose his or her license for a period of several months or several years. This would depend on the defendant’s prior record and facts in the case. However, a driver convicted of DUI may be allowed to drive to work, school or to a treatment center on a restricted license.
Drivers May Be Fined as Part of a Sentence for DUI
It is possible that a driver may face a fine after being convicted of drunk driving. A fine may also be forthcoming even if a driver accepts a plea deal that lowers the charge or throws out some or all other penalties. Fines may range from $1,000 to $5,000 or more depending on the facts of the case and a driver’s prior criminal record.
Other Fees May Apply After a Case Has Been Resolved
In addition to paying a fine, a driver may be responsible for lawyer fees and court costs. He or she may also have to pay a fee to get his or her car out of an impound lot and to get his or her drivers license and registration reinstated. Higher insurance premiums may also be a consequence of a DUI conviction. Finally, it may be necessary to pay for an ignition interlock device that prevents a driver from operating a vehicle if he or she has been drinking.
Community Service May Be Required After Being Found Guilty of Impaired Driving
As part of a plea agreement, an individual may be asked to do community service in lieu of jail time or a fine. Community service may involve picking up trash, talking to teenagers about the perils of drunk driving or any other service a court deems appropriate.
It May Be Harder to Find Work After a DUI Conviction
After a conviction for DUI, it may be difficult to find a job or enroll in school. This is because such a conviction will be a part of an individual’s permanent record for many years into the future. Individuals must generally disclose that they have been found guilty of this crime if asked on a job application or college admissions document if asked.
Those who are charged with DUI may face significant penalties if convicted. Even if a plea deal is reached, it could still result in a fine, probation or driving restrictions that may make it difficult to live a normal life. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to work with legal counsel who may be able to create a defense to the charge. This may lead to a full acquittal and the opportunity to have the charge sealed.