Even though most jurisdictions regard DUI as a misdemeanor, you shouldn’t take this is a light offense. If you’ve been charged for the first time, the court looks at what happened while you were allegedly under the influence. This can include aggravating factors, such as whether you were involved in a hit and run, your behavior on scene, and any prior DUI convictions that you have.
Result of the First DUI
You may think that a DUI is a non-serious offense and that you can get off lightly. However, this is far from the case. Even as a first crime, you can incur fines and probation. The court can even decide that you will have to face jail time, along with probation. Each jurisdiction has it’s own laws, and even this type of felony may require you to spend time behind bars. Nearly every state and the District of Columbia will suspend your license for an amount of time, even if its a first offense. If you refuse to provide a breath test, your license will be automatically suspended.
The court may take into account any previous charges on your record. If they decide that this was a one-off, you may apply for an occupational or hardship license. The license will give you the ability to drive for work or school. Probation doesn’t come easy or cheap—hefty fines are often levied offense. Also, you will need to pay for the cost of going to court, probation fees, and any other fees regarding the DUI.
What Are Some Common Punishments for DUI?
The courts may decide to consider probation. Probation can include taking away your license for a while, community service, and a fine. Nevertheless, if the courts deem that the DUI has a lot more to it, for example, you were involved in an accident, you were driving with a minor, you may start looking at jail time. Some jurisdictions are more aggressive than others. The state prosecutor may be more aggressive in pursuing jail time.
Your license may be suspended due to a refusal to provide a blood-alcohol sample or a BAC level over .08. If you refuse to offer a BAC test, you will be granted an administrative hearing to get your license back.
If your license is suspended, you should not attempt to drive. You can be arrested again for driving on a suspended license and incur additional penalties. Being caught driving while your license has been suspended will only incur more charges, fines, and possible jail time.
How Does Your Worklife Get Affected?
For some employers, a DUI arrest is a much bigger deal. Depending on your line of work, that may or may not be justified. If your vocation involves driving, a DUI suspension can seriously impact your work. Also, many employers perform background checks, and a DUI may prevent you from getting a job. Employers may feel you are a liability.
Auto insurance may be difficult to obtain, as insurers classify individuals with a DUI as risky drivers. The companies are reluctant to hand out policies, even if no one was hurt while under influence.
In Washington D.C., the Law Office of K. Lawson Wellington can provide you with the advice you need to know your rights or concerns.