What are the penalties for a DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is against the law in every state, and offenders that are caught in the act face a much stricter penalty than just a fine. DUI penalties vary from state to state, and some local jurisdictions may even have additional penalties tacked on to this type of conviction. DUI penalties generally include the following types of punishment.
Fines are imposed on nearly every conviction for driving under the influence, regardless of location. The only difference that may occur is the amount of the fine. Fines are based on state and local laws, the type of offense (first, second, etc.), and may also include other charges resulting from the arrest.
Many areas require that a person be convicted of DUI, even if it is their first offense. Jail terms will depend on the jurisdiction and the type of conviction. Some jail terms may be as little as 24 hours, while others will be for 30 days.
Ignition Interlock Device
This device is becoming one of the most popular DUI penalties, and is now mandatory in 20 states. This device is installed on the car of the convicted person for a specific period of time. It is a dashboard breathalyzer that must be blown into each and every time the car is started. Some devices will also require the driver to continue to blow into the device at intervals when driving.
All jurisdictions will have a license suspension attached to this type of conviction. The length of that suspension will depend on the jurisdiction and the type of offense. Some areas impose longer suspension periods for repeat convictions if there was an accident involved in the arrest, or if there were minors in the car. Other penalties may include:
- Community service
- Mandatory drug or alcohol rehabilitation classes
- Fines paid to anti-alcohol or drug charities (in addition to court-imposed fines)
- Requirement to purchase special car insurance
Why You Need A DUI Defense Attorney
These penalties are only the beginning of the troubles that you will have if you are convicted of a DUI. Your personal life will suffer and you will most likely be impacted financially as well. A conviction could lead to loss of employment or promotions, the inability to get new employment, and possibly the inability to obtain special licenses to work. You will also face hardships because you cannot drive.
A DUI conviction can impact your ability to sign a lease, rent a car in the future, or purchase affordable health or car insurance. It affects every area of your life beyond the court-imposed fines and penalties.
You can represent yourself in court when you are charged with a DUI. However, this may not be in your best interest. A DUI defense attorney will work aggressively to represent your case before the court in an effort to have the charges dropped or significantly reduced. Their understanding of the law and penalties is to your advantage.
By helping you avoid a DUI conviction, your attorney will be giving you an opportunity to take control of your life and your finances again.