Adults above 21 years arrested for driving a vehicle when drunk with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more are charged with DUI. While punishments for a DUI varies in different states, all states have adopted 0.08 as the standard .
First time DUI offense
If it’s your first DUI offense, your license will be suspended in all states. However, there are some states that let you hold a hearing with the DMV after your arrest for avoiding an automatic license suspension. Once this date is set, within a week or two, you can avoid the suspension of your license if and until you lose this hearing.
Fines are usually issued for a DUI offense and sometimes, also mandatory jail time or community service. Most states also require that DUI offenders attend a DUI school or some mandated alcoholic treatment program like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA). This program should, however, be completed before the reinstating of your driver’s license.
You may also have to attend meetings to speak about your experiences, and thus decide to not drive drunk again. Some states will have you install an ignition interlock device on your car. So if you blow into the device and it shows that your BAC is above 0.08, your car will not start.
Multiple DUI offenses
Penalties for multiple DUI offenses are varied. You stand to lose your license for months, years or even permanently or have your car impounded. You may also receive mandatory jail time if you are found guilty of multiple DUI offenses.
The jail sentence for multiple DUI offenses vary from state to state. Some states may pronounce statements for days to weeks, depending on the number of DUI convictions you have, and if there are any aggravating factors to consider.
Most states have a professional counselor who will insist that you attend a mandated alcoholic treatment program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and depending on how harsh they think your alcohol problem is, they may also advise a residential treatment program. There is also a chance of repeat offenders facing a penalty of losing their civil rights like the right to owning a weapon and the right to vote.
There are various aggravating factors for DUI offenses that can lead to an increase in DUI fines and penalties. These penalties include an expired or revoked driving license, an expired auto insurance, being on probation, the presence of children in the vehicle when arrested, underage driving without a license, speeding, refusing a breath test and a BAC that is double the legal limit or 0.16.
If you are arrested for DUI, and have several of these aggravating factors, you stand to face additional penalties like additional fines, jail time or both.
In case you cause an accident because of drunken driving, where someone gets injured, then you face even more severe penalties. This is considered a felony in many states, and if a death occurs in the accident, you can be charged with vehicle manslaughter or murder too.
Looking at the many types of severe penalties you may face, it is always better to contact a DUI attorney immediately on your being charged with DUI. Your attorney will be able to clarify your charges and inform you of your defense options and accordingly, argue your case in court.