In the United States, DUI laws and penalties vary based on the state in which you were arrested. These factors can make a big difference in the outcome of your case and your future driving. It’s important to find a DUI attorney who has experience in the state where you were arrested and charges were filed. An experienced attorney will have a better understanding of the local court system and will be able to handle your case with a higher degree of skill.
Generally speaking, the most severe penalties for a first offense are jail time and fines. However, if you have multiple criminal convictions or a high BAC level or other aggravating circumstances, the severity of your sentence may change significantly. It’s best to consult with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible after a DUI arrest so you can take action to fight against the worst penalties.
Jail Time and Fines for a First Offense
The maximum amount of time you can spend in jail for a DUI is determined by the law in your state. Typically, this is one to six months but it can be much longer depending on the judge’s discretion. It is also common for courts to allow for work release, electronic home monitoring (EHM) or other alternatives to jail.
If you are convicted of a 1st offense DUI, you will be facing the following penalties: incarceration in the county jail, mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment, community service, probation and possibly an ignition interlock device (IID). You can also face additional charges if you were driving with a suspended license.
Your Driving Record and Insurance Costs After a DUI Conviction
If your record is blemished with a DUI, it will make it harder to get car insurance. It can also raise your insurance rates, which can be costly. In addition, your employer might not hire you because of your record and you may be required to pay fines, victim’s fees, or a court-ordered probation fee.
A second DUI charge can result in a longer jail sentence, a larger fine, and even a two-year driver’s license suspension. This is because a second DUI charge can be categorized as a felony.
Penalties for a Third DUI Conviction
A third DUI is considered a felony, and you could face up to five years in prison. This is a serious penalty that can negatively affect your life, including job opportunities, housing and insurance.
In California, a third DUI conviction can also cause your insurance company to cancel your policy or drastically raise your rates. Additionally, it can create a lot of extra stress and worry in your life.
The number of prior DUI convictions is a significant factor in the severity of your case. A first DUI is treated as a misdemeanor, but second and third DUIs are considered felonies in most jurisdictions. A third DUI is a serious matter, and it’s crucial that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest for DUI to fight against the harsh penalties.