While many people know that DUIs are against the law, they may not know what the repercussions are if charged with one. Driving under the influence could have a variety of consequences, especially if there is an accident or property damage involved in the incident. If you have to file a car accident police report because of your DUI, there may be more serious penalties than if you were only given a citation. In these situations, it may also be a good idea to consult with a lawyer to lessen your sentence, if possible. Here’s a quick breakdown of what happens when you are pulled over for your first DUI.
DUIs are misdemeanors
In most states and territories, driving under the influence is classified as a misdemeanor, as opposed to a felony. While less serious than felonies, misdemeanors may result in a monetary fine or a short jail sentence of a year or fewer. Misdemeanors may have an effect on your life years after the incident, as misdemeanors show up on your criminal record and can be discovered by a potential employer during a routine background check. This could result in you not being offered a job, particularly if the job requires you to drive a vehicle or serve alcohol.
Typical repercussions of a DUI
Just because a DUI is a misdemeanor doesn’t mean that you’ll get off scot-free, even if it’s your first DUI. For example, many people assume that they will get probation instead of jail time if it’s their first DUI, but this depends on the particulars of your case. Depending on which state you were caught driving under the influence in, jail time can range anywhere from 24 hours to a full year. Beyond probation or jail time, you will likely have your license suspended for a period of time, as well. This can range anywhere from 90 days to a 2-year year suspension. Another common repercussion of being charged with a DUI is a monetary fine, in addition to having to pay any court costs associated with your case. Fines range greatly depending on where you reside, and they typically start around $150 or $250 and cap out at $5,000 in some areas, depending on the severity of the DUI.
Other side effects of DUIs
When your license has been suspended, it can cause a lot of inconveniences in your life. If you need to drive in order to commute to and from school or work, you may be able to apply for something called a hardship license in order to be able to operate a car during your suspension. You may also be required to attend a series of courses on alcohol consumption and traffic safety. These courses can typically be completed where you live.
It’s also worth noting that even if it’s your first DUI, there are some factors that may result in your misdemeanor being raised to a felony charge. One example of this is if anyone else was in the vehicle with you, especially a child. This could result in reckless endangerment charges. If anyone got hurt or killed while you were driving intoxicated, you may also receive accidental death or vehicular manslaughter charges.
If you believe your issues are severe and need the help of a counselor, you could check into an alcohol addiction treatment in Toronto or whatever city is most convenient. Such facilities have professionals who are readily available to tailor and craft a personalized treatment option for your specific case.
Unlike receiving a speeding ticket, DUIs tend to carry a lot of weight. Because of the myriad ways a DUI can affect your future, it’s recommended to consult with an attorney prior to showing up in court. Clarifying the circumstances surrounding your DUI with a team of experienced lawyers may end up lessening your sentence, ultimately benefiting you in the long run.