Drinking and driving has many consequences, some lasting much longer than a hangover. Many drivers do not consider the fact that they could temporarily lose their licenses and even their vehicles. Most states impose driving penalties even for first-time offenders. Drivers who doubt their guilt should retain lawyers to fight their convictions and prevent revocation of driving privileges.
Driving under the influence is considered a crime in every state and the penalties fit the infraction. Many states have a zero-tolerance policy for driving while intoxicated. First-time offenders face fines of hundreds of dollars, possible community service, and may even have to serve jail time. Punishments are designed to prevent repeat infractions, which have increasingly severe consequences, particularly in terms of driving privileges.
Some states immediately impound the motor vehicle used by the driver unless this is the only method of household transportation. Florida law imposes a ten-day impoundment period for a first DUI conviction. Washington state law requires impoundment for the vehicle for a minimum of 12 hours and even a sober passenger or another individual called to the scene may not drive the vehicle away from the scene.
Driver License Revocation
Driving-related DUI consequences do not end once the vehicle is out of the impound lot. States also impose revocation of the driver license for initial DUIs. In most states, the license is suspended before the individual is convicted. The police officer making the stop takes the drive license and replaces it with a temporary version. The expiration date of this license is the date that driving privileges are suspended.
The only way to prevent license suspension in this situation is to win the DUI hearing. A driver must request the hearing to prevent automatic license suspension. Retaining a DUI lawyer is the recommended next step because this attorney can help win the hearing. Unrepresented drivers may be more likely to lose, resulting in license suspension for a period determined by blood-alcohol content and other factors.
States often impose harsher DUI penalties for drivers under the age of 21. Illinois has a Zero Tolerance Law that calls for immediate loss of driving privileges for all underage drivers with any trace of alcohol in their systems. Underage drivers receive a three-month license suspension, six months if they refuse or fail to complete testing of blood-alcohol content. Even transporting alcoholic beverages in the vehicle can result in a 12-month suspension of all driving privileges.