Updated January 20, 2019
First-time DUI Offense and Driver’s License Suspension: What You Should Know
The costs and consequences that you can expect will happen for a conviction of a first DUI offense, or refusing to take a breath or blood test can include an expensive fine with a jail sentence, as well as a lengthy suspension or permanent revocation of your drivers license.
- Minimum Sentences for a 1st Offense DUI or Refusing to Provide a Breath Test Sample
- What to Expect for the Total Cost of a First DUI and What Ramifications Happen to Your License
- What Happens With First Offense Drug-impaired DUI Drivers
- New First Offense Drunk and Drugged Driving Laws Have Gotten Tougher
- How First-Time DUI Offense and Driver’s License Suspension Punishments Are Avoided Under The Law
It is essential that you get legal help immediately to limit the negative impact a DUI or DWI related charge can have on you or your family’s lives. You need to know what to say and do while in police custody, as well as afterwards for how soon and when you can get your drivers license and car back.
There are also arrest factors we can review as well as other important information that may get charges dropped or dismissed, which in turn can drastically affect the DUI license suspension length of time. No matter what action you decide to take next, always remember that only a lawyer can provide you with the proper legal advice when confronted with a drunk or drugged driving charge. Please do not hesitate to contact us so we can inform you of your best defense options based on what happened leading up to the arrest.
Minimum Sentences for a 1st Offense DUI or Refusing to Provide a Breath Test Sample
There are new laws in place that determine the minimum first-time offender sentence that happens for driving under the influence of alcohol or intoxicated by drugs in every state. The exact ramifications will always depend on the details of the charge, and if there is any prior record for similar criminal offenses. Many winning defenses for a DUI refusal can be made, and a refusal to submit to an alcohol test can result in an acquittal in court.
For a person without any previous criminal history or record who is convicted of a DUI or DWI charge, the average minimum penalty to expect in most states is a $1,250.00 court fine and 6 months to 1 year driver’s license suspension.
Typically what happens next, is the fine for a 1st DUI offender will start at a price of around $1,250 and the cost will increase depending on the circumstances of your particular case. It is also important to note that this minimum court fine does not include additional common costs that will occur, such as fees for drug or alcohol classes, having to use an Ignition Interlock Device, or hiring a lawyer to fight the case.
What to Expect for the Total Cost of a First DUI and What Ramifications Happen to Your License
Under the strict new laws for first-time DUI offenders, besides the more expensive monetary cost and longer suspended license penalties to deal with, there are now more cases where a driver with no criminal record at all is still sentenced to serve time jail. This offense adds up to be a high price in every way possible very quickly, and is more that most people ever expect to have happen.
In cases where the accused person has been convicted of one drunk or drugged driving offense previously, the prosecution will proceed to charge the DUI as a Second Offense under what the new laws for sentencing are. A repeat offender who gets convicted in court, results in the minimum average jail sentence time to serve of 30 days, and at least two years with having a suspended driver’s license. If granted a temporary restricted license during this suspension period, a person will also be required to install and use an Ignition Interlock Device at their own expense.
Finally, in cases where the accused person has multiple prior convictions for DUI or DWI related offenses, the prosecutor can upgrade the charges to a felony, which has even more severe costs and consequences. In these types of criminal cases, the minimum jail sentence to expect is typically at least 3 months in custody, and a 3 year license suspension. For some drivers, this can even result in a lifetime ban on being able to legally drive again.
What happens when a driver gets convicted of refusing to provide a breath or DUI blood test sample, the minimum sentences will follow the same consequences and fees as stated above. This is because under how the current DUI law is now set up, it is considered an assumption of guilt by the court if you refused to take the chemical tests, rather than provided the breath samples. Also, drivers license suspensions will generally be just as long for refusal charges, as if blowing over the .08 legal BAC limit and being found guilty in court.
A person who chooses to driver while their license is suspended, will face additional criminal charges with further penalties. Along with this punishment, some drivers may have their vehicle impounded for 30 days or more. If you have questions about about vehicle impounding or related fees, please contact us for help.
What Happens With First Offense Drug-impaired DUI Drivers
Intoxication by drugs and driving a car is a dangerous criminal offense – regardless if the DUI is for prescription medication, Marijuana, and/or illegal narcotics. Recent news reports and research indicates impairment by drug DUIs are happening at least as often as alcohol-caused DUI and DWI charges. When a driver is Intoxicated by a combination of both drugs and alcohol at the same time, studies have shown it to be drastically even more dangerous than the sum of each substance separately.
What will happen if a police officer reasonably suspects that a driver is operating under the influence of drugs, the officer will first likely ask the driver to submit to a roadside evaluation to determine the level of impairment. Next, the driver will be arrested for DUI and then taken to a police station or hospital for a blood draw to analyze for what types of drugs, and how much are in the driver’s system.
After these chemical blood tests are completed and the results of drug levels are known, a driver will formally be charged with a DUI or DWI offense by police. The same administrative license suspension penalties can be expected to happen just the same for a first offense drug DUI charge, as it is when caused by alcohol.
New First Offense Drunk and Drugged Driving Laws Have Gotten Tougher
Strong new first offense DUI laws, tougher than ever before, have now gone into effect in every state throughout the country. Penalties can add up to an average cost anywhere between $1,200 and $2,500 for a first offense conviction or guilty plea. This consequently means more time with having a suspended license and using the Ignition Interlock. If an individual gets charged with DUI or DWI more than one time, the punishments that can be expected to happen gets even tougher.
Depending on your blood-alcohol content on a roadside breath screening test and the number of times you were convicted before, your driver’s license will be suspended, your car will get impounded, and you will also have to pay any of the towing and storage fees incurred. Additionally, you’ll have to pay another monetary fee for the payment to reinstate your drivers license, once you are legally allowed to drive again by the court. You will also be required to complete the mandatory hours set of DUI school classes, and be required to use an Ignition Interlock Device to legally drive again.
When a driver’s blood alcohol level is far above the legal 0.08 BAC limit, or if illegal drugs were found in a blood test, a person could face upgraded felony charges. Criminal offense DUI convictions in the United States can result in additional fines and/or jail time, along with additional license suspension time lengths of two to four years on average.
U.S. Code Title 23 Chapter 1 § 164 outlines what the minimum penalties are for repeat offenders for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. In summary, it is considered a serious criminal offense under the DUI law in every state to operate or have care and control of a motor vehicle, boat, motorcycle, lawnmower, or even a bicycle while your blood alcohol concentration is greater than .08 BAC.
Other common criminal driving offenses similar to DUI violations include:
- Failing to take a breath or blood test sample when first requested by police,
- Reckless driving,
- Failure to stop or provide information after being involved in an accident,
- Criminal negligence while operating a motor vehicle,
- Driving while a license is suspended,
- Running from police in a vehicle pursuit, and
- all the above (if applicable) that results in severe harm or a fatality to another person.
Administrative license suspension consequences at the DMV will apply if:
- You are arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol content over (BAC) 0.08, or
- You were driving under the influence of drugs such as Marijuana, or
- You refused to provide a breath or blood test sample when police asked.
- If the police officer suspects an individual is driving while intoxicated, he or she will ask you to provide a breath sample, into a roadside screening device. Depending on the BAC reading of the test, the device will typically either indicate Pass, Warn, or Fail.
- PASS means a person’s breath sample shows a BAC below 0.05
- WARN indicates a driver’s breath results are between 0.05 and 0.08 BAC.
- FAIL is any test results reading over the established .08 BAC legal limit to drive a vehicle safely under the current DUI law.
For a first time offense DUI or DWI conviction within a five-year period:
- You can expect to lose your driver’s license for a minimum of 6 months to 2 years on average.
- You may also have your vehicle impounded for a period of time. For people this happens to, you will pay all related towing and storage fees.
- You will be required to pay an average $200 fee to get your driver’s license reinstated, once the suspension time period is over.
- To regain your driving privileges, you will have to complete the all the mandatory hours of DUI classes set by the court, and have to use an Ignition Interlock Device on any car you will drive, after your driving suspension ends.
Drivers who get a second DUI offense within a five-year time period can expect:
- You will have a suspended license for at least 2 years under the strict new law for repeat offenders.
- Those who have their cars impounded by police, will pay all related towing and storage fees.
- You will pay an average cost of $230 as a driver’s license reinstatement charge.
- To legally drive again after a suspension period, you will have to finish all required hours of DUI school, and still have to use an Ignition Interlock whenever you drive until the court says you can remove the device.
If you refuse to provide a breath test sample when police request one:
- In general, most first offense penalties and fees can be expected to happen as a result if convicted of a DUI test refusal charge.
- As such, you will likely lose your driver’s license for up to 2 years under current sentencing laws.
- Once the license suspension period has expired, you will have needed to complete any remaining hours of drug and alcohol classes, and have to use an Ignition Interlock Device on all cars you will be driving, which includes any vehicles used for work.
Collectively, you will face DMV administrative license consequences that will cost you about $5,000 before you can legally operate a motor vehicle again.
Under circumstances that took place with many drivers depending on the details, police may issue other charges and violations beyond a DUI refusal offense during an arrest.
How First-Time DUI Offense and Driver’s License Suspension Punishments Are Avoided Under The Law
When a person is arrested DUI or DWI as a first-time offender, they are logically concerned about the chances of losing their license and nervous about what comes next. On top of the expensive costs of fines and legal costs that take place, people are also bothered by the thought of getting fired from their job without the ability to drive with a valid license.
It is without question the new laws are tough on drivers charged with operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It makes perfect sense if you are charged with DUI, you should do whatever you can to have those charges dropped or minimized as soon as possible. With each new year, it also means tougher sentencing guidelines under the law for drivers who enter a guilty plea or get convicted even one time. In addition to loss of a personal reputation, insurance cost increases, license suspension and Ignition Interlock ramifications, you may easily find yourself struggling to keep your job or get to work in the future.
We can help you online immediately to prevent the consequences for what happens to your license for a first DUI offense in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Mandatory first-time DUI offense driver’s license suspension happens in every state under the new laws today. There are arrest-specific defenses you should know about what happens to your license getting suspended for a first DUI, and legal ways to avoid the suspension in time to help win at the DMV license hearing.
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