The first thing one has to understand is that DUI charges are no trivial matter. Even if it is the first offense, the conviction is almost always associated with some penalties that may include the following:
- Temporary license suspension
- A monetary penalty that may range from $500-$2,000
- Incarceration for a period that may range from 1 day to 6 months
- Undergoing drug and alcohol counseling
- Retaking the motor vehicle driving test
The final penalty for a first time DUI depends on the laws in your state. But generally speaking, the judge will take into account any aggravating factors like the cooperation of the defendant with law enforcement, the level of alcohol in the body, any injury or death associated with the DUI and age of the driver. In some states, there are mandatory minimum jail sentences for 1-7 days, even with the first DUI offense. A first time DUI conviction is classified as a misdemeanor as long as there was no accident involved, and no one is injured or killed.
For drivers who repeat drunk driving offenses, the penalties are much more severe. These penalties may increase quite significantly if the driver refuses a breathalyzer test or refuses to submit to a blood test.
Here are some more facts about what happens to drivers who have three or more DUIs.
- Felony: A third time DUI is classified as a felony, and it carries repercussions for the rest of your life. This will show up on background checks, and you will not be eligible for any government assistance in the form of housing, college tuition, and government jobs. With a felony conviction, getting a bank loan will be nearly impossible. Jobs that involve driving will be out of the question, and most employers may not be willing to hire you because they may deem you to be unreliable and a drunk.
- Rehabilitation Program: A third time DUI conviction will mean mandatory participation in adult and alcohol rehabilitation program as a condition of your probation. Keep in mind that you will have to bear the costs of the rehabilitation program, which could range from $2000-$10,000.
- Impounding of Vehicle: A third time DUI or higher also means immediate impounding of your vehicle at the scene for at least 90 days. Again, you will be responsible for the daily fee, which is not going to be a small amount.
- Forfeiture of Vehicle: A third time DUI may even mean forfeiture of the vehicle, depending on the circumstances of your case.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device. In most cases of repeat DUIs, the judge will order an ignition interlock device, the cost of which will be borne by the convicted driver. Your vehicle will not start unless you have an alcohol free breath. If there is alcohol in the breath above the pre-set limit, the car will not start. In addition, while driving, the device will ask for random breaths. The data is then transferred to the DMV.
- Yellow License Plates: In addition to ignition interlock devices, many states now utilize yellow license plates to indicate to others on the road that you have been penalized while driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Insurance problem: If you are repeat DUI offender, your insurance company may cancel your insurance policy because you will be considered a high-risk driver. It will be very difficult for you to find another insurance company, and even if you do find an insurer, the rates will be extremely high, so high that most average people cannot afford it.
Contact a DUI Lawyer at The Bateman Firm
Drunk driving is a serious offense, and as is evident from the penalties outlined above, it is in every driver’s interest to avoid getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Even if you do make a mistake once, make sure you don’t do it again, because second DUI charge and then a third and then all subsequent DUI charges will destroy your credibility personally and professionally and will also have a significant impact on your financial stability.
If you have been charged with a DUI, call our DUI lawyer at The Bateman Firm. Remember, DUI charges will stay on your record and can affect your insurance rates, your ability to get loans, your job prospects, and your overall life. Do not take this charge lightly. Do not make the same mistake again. Talk to our DUI lawyers and they will help you.