How Driving Under the Influence Can Change Your Life (USA)

Consideration has been given for the editing and publishing of this post

A DUI, or driving under the influence, is a serious offense – as with any alleged crime, you are innocent until proven guilty. The ramifications of being convicted of a DUI can affect your job or school, not to mention your freedom and monetary penalties. It can also influence job opportunities in the future. You may receive a serious fine as well as a significant raise in your car insurance rates. 

Depending on the jurisdiction, the penalties for a conviction can vary. In all states, the first DUI offense is usually classified as a misdemeanor. 

Loss of driver’s license

There is a mandatory loss of driver’s license in every state. This can be initiated by the court or by the state of motor vehicles department. 

  • 90 days
  • One year
  • Three years

For a first offense, a driver’s license may be suspended for a period of 90 days. Subsequent DUIs require an increased amount of time for license suspension. A second DUI will put you at risk of losing your license for a year – and a third, three years or longer. 

Monetary consequences

DUIs are expensive. Attorney fees add up quickly – not to mention fines that are imposed even with a first offense. DUI fines of $500 up to $2000 are common.

Loss of freedom. Besides the costs of being convicted of a DUI, you may also be looking at a loss of freedom – jail time. Even for a first offense, some states require six-months of jail. 

  • Blood-alcohol test (BAC)
  • Breathalyzer
  • Urine test

These are three of the tests commonly given to someone who is suspected of a DUI. Refusal of these tests, in some states, can result in additional penalties. 

Many states take into consideration the blood-alcohol content, or BAC in determining sentencing. All states have set 0.08% BAC as the legal limit for a DUI. 

Laws and DUI

Even though you might be a minor – don’t expect a break in punishment if you are convicted of a DUI. Since the legal drinking age (in most states) is 21, being found guilty of driving while under age is a separate offense in itself. Underage drivers convicted of a DUI may in fact face adult sentences on minors for lower BACs.

Alternative penalties

Some states include alcohol education as part of their punishment. 

  • Drug/alcohol assessment/treatment
  • Restitution to victims
  • Community service

These alternative sentences may be included as part of the penalties for a DUI. These are usually included in a situation where the DUI conviction was for a first offense. 

Following a DUI, your future shouldn’t be left to chance. If you find yourself looking at charges for a DUI – seek the advice of an attorney who has experience and success defending these types of charges.

August 26, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized