DUI Arrests, Convictions, and Penalties
It is important to remember that a DUI Arrest, is not a DUI conviction. If arrested for a DUI you will go through a process that may or may not lead to a “conviction.” A DUI arrest, is simply that, an arrest with no final judgment as to conviction or penalties. The penalties will vary based on the details of your conviction. In most cases where you have driven drunk and not caused injury or death to another party, you will receive a misdemeanor and could spend some time in prison. However, in some instances the crime will be severe enough to warrant being convicted of a felony, which could come with a state prison sentence for much longer.
If you have received a DUI for the first time and no injuries or death resulted from the incident you can typically expect your sentence to be much less than a repeat DUI offense. In many states there is a minimum number of days that you must serve time in jail, usually ranging from one to three days. In many other states, there is no minimum sentence. However, you may expect to receive large fines and mandatory DUI school as a deterrent to keep you from committing the crime again in the future. You may also receive a license suspension of up to one year or more. You may also find that you have been put on probation, which will give you additional jail time if you violate the terms of your probation period.
Repeat convictions come with much heftier penalties. As an example, if with a BAC of just a little above .08 on a 2nd DUI offense the judge may still choose to sentence you to the minimum required by your state’s laws. However, if your BAC is .15 or more, they consider the fact that you could have hurt someone else on the roadways and may feel that you deserve the harshest penalties possible for your crime. Consider DUI school as your “second chance” if you are given the option. If you take DUI school seriously, you can prevent the same crime from happening in the future. An attorney may be your best option for a second DUI conviction, since the judgments given may be much harsher without that assistance.
If you have been proven guilty of a DUI and convicted, you can expect many different penalties depending on the circumstances. However, there are a variety of penalties that are true to most cases. Here are some of those penalties explained.
Jail Time: When charged as a misdemeanor, you may expect to face up to six months in jail. However, that time can be increased or lessened based on the circumstances in your case. If your BAC was particularly high, you may expect to see higher consequences.
Fines: Courts impose high fines for DUI. These can range anywhere from $500 to as much as $2,000.
License Suspension: If you have been convicted of a DUI, your license may be suspended for a period of time. It could be suspended anywhere from 90 days to a year and in some cases up to three years. If you refuse to take a test issued by law enforcement to determine your status, you could be found guilty and could receive a license suspension by default.
Other Punishments: Of course, there may be other alternative forms of punishment. You may be part of an alcohol prevention program, undergo treatment for alcohol abuse, be assessed for possible addiction, or even serve the community through community service or victim restitution. In many cases, you will be ordered to undergo these processes instead of serving jail time or receiving enormous fines. In other cases, a judge may choose to combine penalties for maximum fines. In addition to this, you can expect your insurance company to cancel your policy or drastically increase your rates. If your license is suspended, the insurance policy may cancel your driver’s policy. A DUI can stay on your record for many years and lead to other negative consequences.
What Happens to Young Offenders
Just because you are a minor involved in a DUI doesn’t mean that you will be free from consequences. Being young will actually make matters worse and be taken more seriously in most cases. Drinking below the age of 21 is a separate crime in and of itself. Some states will penalize you as a young driver just because of your BAC levels. In most cases, instead of being penalized like an adult at .08, they will penalize you as low as .02 because you shouldn’t have any alcohol in your system.
What I Should Expect From the Judge
If you are convicted of or plead guilty to a DUI you will be sentenced in front of a judge, who will make decisions regarding your specific penalties and your future. Among other things, the judge will have the power to decide how much jail time you should receive, how much community service will be required of you, what degree of alcohol counseling you need, and whether or not you should be given a fine.
How to Challenge an Unlawful Arrest
The consequences of a DUI can follow you for years, which is something that should be strongly considered before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle drunk. Along with the penalties that we have already mentioned, you may face additional consequences such as being banned from specific jobs like driving a school bus, delivery van, and many more. You may also face a separate civil lawsuit if there were victims involved in a drunk driving accident. In these cases, you may be sued for property damages or bodily injuries.
In some cases you may find that an unlawful arrest occurred. You have constitutional rights when it comes to your DUI case. Two of these rights are the right to remain silent and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If you believe that your rights have been violated in a DUI arrest, you may challenge this with the courts. Having an experienced DUI attorney on your side will help you maximize the potential of minimizing penalties given. Contact us if you would like to discuss your case and learn more about having an attorney can help. Consultations are free.