Driving under the influence, or DUI is a criminal offense and as such, the consequences are serious. Individuals convicted of DUI face penalties imposed at a state level, which may include fines, suspension of the driver license, substance abuse education/counseling/treatment, and jail time. Minors face even stiffer consequences because 21 is the legal drinking age in most states, rendering underage drinking a separate crime.
Consequences of DUI linger long after the fines are paid and continue even after jail time is served. Driver license suspension typically ranges from 90 days for a first offense to three years for a third-time offender. Simply refusing to submit to breath, urine, or blood testing can result in automatic license suspension in some states. Whether or not they are proven guilty, individuals suspected of DUI may be off the roads for a while.
After they are permitted to resume driving, many DUI offenders have trouble getting auto insurance. Some insurance companies cancel coverage for policyholders convicted of DUI and others charge exorbitant rates. Drunk driving charges remain on the driving record for a minimum of five years, with actual length varying by state. In some states, a prior conviction of DUI will affect subsequent sentencing indefinitely.
Some judges sentence DUI offenders to long periods of community service. Those who escape this consequence may face something worse: the inability to find employment. Jobs that involve operating a vehicle may no longer be on the table, forcing these individuals to pursue new careers where they must start at the bottom and work their way up. Reduced income may throw the household into financial distress.
DUI Cases with Victims
If an individual convicted of DUI was involved in an accident with victims, those individuals may file civil lawsuits for bodily injuries or property damages. A civil suit means more time in court and the expense of retaining a defense attorney. Civil judgments can be extremely expensive, particularly if the accident resulted in permanent injury or death. For many years, life will be very unpleasant for a DUI offender who loses a civil lawsuit.
DUI penalties are serious and long-term so do not plead guilty unless recommended by an experienced DUI attorney. To find one of these specialized legal experts, complete a free DUI arrest evaluation on FightDUICharges.com and let our legal advocates make the connection. If it is possible to fight the DUI charge, this type of attorney is best equipped to help.