While drunk driving arrests are all too common, each DUI case is unique, meaning the possible penalties you could face when charged with drunk driving will vary depending on the specifics of your case. There are, however, some general rules that prosecutors and courts follow when charging, plea bargaining, and punishing DUI offenses.
Here’s a look at some of the most common questions regarding DUI penalties, and the most common punishments for DUI convictions.
You may be lucky enough to have your case sent to a diversion program, with only some classes to attend and a few fines to pay. Then again, you might be forced to install an ignition interlock device in your car, have your license revoked, or face jail time.
Obviously, the penalties for a first-time DUI will generally be lesser, as long as there wasn’t a serious accident. Still, some states are requiring interlock devices after a first DUI offense.
If you were fortunate enough to get diversion for your first drunk driving case, or even get your record expunged, you probably won’t be so lucky the second time around. Some states even consider a second DUI as a felony, rather than a misdemeanor.
Generally speaking, if you’re looking at a third DUI conviction, it’s not so much whether you’ll be serving jail time, but how much jail time you’ll be serving.
Once you’re labeled as a habitual offender under state DUI laws, the penalties for a conviction (or even an arrest) can ratchet up quickly. You could be looking at license revocation, automatic felony charges, and mandatory minimum jail sentences.
Repeat offenses are just one way a misdemeanor DUI can get kicked up to a felony. If you have existing issues with your license or cause property damage or personal injury, expect the charge to get serious.
Once reserved for habitual offenders, interlock devices that require you to submit a breath test in order to start your car or keep it running are becoming more and more coming for first-time offenders.
One of the most common penalties for a DUI is probation; here are the most common probation conditions following DUI charges.
One of the quickest ways to ramp up DUI penalties is to get caught driving drunk with a child in the car. You could be facing aggravated or felony DUI charges, along with child abuse or endangerment charges as well.
State legislators, county prosecutors, and city police take drunk driving seriously, which means serious consequences for DUI convictions, both in the short-term in and in the future.
- Find DUI / DWI Lawyers Near You (FindLaw’s Lawyer Directory)
- Drunk Driving Court: Top 5 DUI FAQs (FindLaw Blotter)
- 5 New DUI Laws to Know About (FindLaw Blotter)
- 5 Ways to Make a DUI Worse (FindLaw Blotter)