If you’re an adult in the United States you will be propositioned with the opportunity to drink alcohol. Whether it be as part of a team building exercise, a friend’s birthday party or perhaps just because Friday night is ‘the drinking night’ for your social circle.
You see, unlike many other countries around the world, drinking alcohol is considered to be a very sociable activity in the U.S. However, what most people don’t know (and therefore tend to forget) is that operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol remains illegal across all states and territories.
If caught and convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), there are several penalties that you may have to endure as a result. In this blog post, we will cover some common questions on handling a DUI:
What happens if you’re arrested for a DUI?
First and foremost, you should be aware that DUI is a criminal charge and not a traffic violation. That means that you will have to appear in court. It is a lot like if you were charged with shoplifting or assault.
In most cases, you will be arrested and taken to the police station first before being booked and released on bail. You may also have your vehicle impounded if it’s determined to be unroadworthy. You may also have your license suspended as soon as you’re arrested, depending on the state.
Most states will suspend your license on the spot, and it may stay suspended until the end of the case. Every state is different, and you should check your local laws and consult your situation to a criminal defense lawyer. If the police officer believes that you’re intoxicated and refuse to give a breathalyzer test, you will be arrested and charged with a DUI.
How long will a DUI remain on your record?
This will depend on the state where you were charged and convicted for a DUI. You should note that every state has their own laws and criteria for when to remove DUIs from your record. For example, in California, a first-time DUI conviction will be on your record for ten years from the date of the conviction.
In New York, the length of time that a DUI remains on your record will depend on whether it’s a first or repeat offence. First-time DUIs in New York will remain on your record for five years. While repeat offenses will remain on your record for ten years.
If you’re charged with a DUI in Florida, and you’re convicted, the charge will remain on your record permanently. This will have a serious impact on any future employment opportunities as well as your ability to travel abroad.
What are the penalties for a first-time DUI?
Depending on the circumstances, you may be fined between several hundred to several thousand dollars. You may also be sentenced to community service or be ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
Many states will also require you to take an alcohol awareness program. You may also be sentenced to attend specialized DUI classes. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be sentenced to attend a 30-day inpatient or an outpatient drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.
What are the penalties for a second-time DUI?
In this case, the penalties will be more severe than if it were a first-time offense. You could be sentenced to as many as two years in prison. The fines can also be much higher than a first-time DUI.
You may also be ordered to attend an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program for a longer period of time than a first-time offender. You may also have your privilege to drive revoked for a much longer period of time. In some extreme cases, a judge may impose a mandatory 10-year driving ban.
A DUI is not something to be taken lightly. If you’re caught driving under the influence, there will be serious consequences. There are many ways to handle a DUI, but you want to make sure that you do it correctly. Make sure you get the right legal support so that you can get the best outcome possible.