Living with a Pending DUI Charge: What to Expect
So you just got a DUI…what now? In order to determine what sort of penalties you are facing, you should look to your record first. Have you had a DUI before? How recently? When and where did it happen? Did you offer any defenses?
This article is designed to inform you of all of the consequences you can face based on your history of DUI incidents.
Since this is your first DUI, you are likely to have lower penalties you encounter as a result of your DUI conviction. In terms of what you are facing from the court, you are likely to have to pay a fine between $500-1000. You may also be incarcerated for a period not to exceed one year, unless there was a minor in the vehicle or you had a Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) over .15. In the likelihood that you have BAL over .15 or a minor child was in the car, the individual will face higher penalties. Your license may also be revoked between 180 days and one year. There is a possibility of a hardship license for transportation between work and home after attending DUI school and application with the DMV (requiring further costs and fees).
Community service work of fifty (50) hours is also another penalty you will likely face. Probation is also a possibility for up to one year after any time you may have to serve in jail. Also, there is the aforementioned DUI school that some courts order that individuals attend. Your vehicle will also be impounded for 10 days. There are locations that will hold your vehicle should you not wish to have the police department hold it for you; however, these locations do come at a cost.
In addition to these penalties, there are other penalties that are not necessarily ordered by the court. If you are employed, there is the possibility that your employer, upon finding out about your DUI conviction, may fire you or place you on probation. Should your employment be contingent upon you having a driver’s license and/or clean driving record, you more likely to face immediate termination. Furthermore, if your employer finds that you are missing too much work as a result of required DUI school attendance, attendance at drug/alcohol programs, probation officer meetings, etc. they may terminate your employment.
Insurance rates also go up after a DUI conviction. Insurance rates can go up at least three times as much as your previous rate. You are placed as a “high risk” driver, which can keep your rates up for three to five years if you maintain a clean driving record.
Families are greatly affected by DUI. Your family may be embarrassed or ashamed as a result of the DUI conviction. This can lead to strained family relationships. Some families find therapy beneficial to attend as a group or alone.
2nd DUI (more than five years since the first)
If this is your second DUI, you may be facing higher penalties. The fines usually charged to an individual with a second DUI can range from $1,000-$2,000. If, however, the individual had a minor in the vehicle at the time of arrest or their BAL was over .15, the individual could pay fines between $2,000-$4,000. Incarceration is also among the penalties to be imposed. An individual who is convicted of a DUI 5 years and 1 day since their last DUI conviction can be incarcerated for not longer than 9 months. Also, an individual may also face license revocation for a 180 days to 1 year. There may be an interlocutory device placed on your vehicle that you may have to blow into in order to have the vehicle start. When driving long distances the device may require you to continue to take breathalyzer tests in your vehicle. You may be eligible for a hardship license with the device or without the device.
Community service, DUI school, alcohol/drug programs may also be ordered. Your vehicle may be impounded for ten days or more. There are locations that will hold your vehicle should you not wish to have the police department hold it for you; however, these locations do come at a cost.
You will also face higher rates for insurance upon obtaining a hardship license. Your ability to maintain employment may also be affected. Employers may see the second DUI as a trend and terminate your employment due to the time you will be missing from attending court, probation officer meetings, and/or other court imposed penalties.
Families are greatly affected by DUI convictions, and there is a great amount of family strain as a result. Therapy, group and individual, is a great way to air grievances and try to rebuild the trust of your family members.
2nd DUI (within 5 years)
After getting a second DUI in 5 years, the court will impose high penalties. The fines and fees assessed an individual with a 2nd DUI within 5 years is ___. Jail time becomes a focal point of penalties if you are convicted of a DUI in 5 years. The court will impose a mandatory 10 day sentence in jail with 48 hours to be imposed consecutively. Your license will likely be revoked for five years as a minimum.
In addition to the penalties mentioned above, community service, DUI school, alcohol/drug programs may be ordered. Your vehicle may be impounded for thirty days. There are locations that will hold your vehicle should you not wish to have the police department hold it for you; however, these locations do come at a cost.
Furthermore, the likelihood of you obtaining insurance upon the reinstatement of your license may be lower or the premiums are likely to be much higher since you are unable to prove your record is clean if your license is revoked for five years.
Also, there is economic burden placed on the family as a result of the costs and fees associated with the DUI conviction—court costs, probation costs, bail, etc. With the possibility of losing employment and/or the difficulty of gaining new employment worsening, the individual may be faced with costs that significantly burden their bank accounts.
Insurance may also prove to be very expensive—exceedingly so—if the individual can get insurance at all. There are brokers through whom you can work if you are having difficulty getting insurance.
3rd DUI (more than 10 years apart)
A third DUI has several implications. The fines and fees assessed an individual with their third DUI conviction are between $2,000-$5,000. If there was a minor child in the vehicle at the time of the DUI or the BAL was higher than .15, the fines and fees are not to be less than $4,000. An individual with a third DUI is looking at jail time not to exceed one year. Your license may be suspended or revoked. If your license is suspended, you may have to get an interlocking device on your vehicle’s ignition that you will have to blow in if you would like your vehicle to start. You may be eligible for a hardship license after a two year suspension.
A court may also order community service, probation, drug/alcohol program attendance, and DUI school attendance. Your vehicle may be impounded at a minimum of 10 days. There are locations that will hold your vehicle should you not wish to have the police department hold it for you; however, these locations do come at a cost.
DUIs are expensive, and with the possibility of losing employment or not gaining further employment looming, the expenses can be burdensome. Insurance may be exceedingly expensive if available at all. Family life can be split apart as some individuals may take opposing sides on the issue.
3rd DUI (within 10 years)—Felony DUI
A third DUI within 10 years will require jail time. An individual with a third DUI in ten years will result in imprisonment for at least thirty days, 48 hours of which must be served consecutively. Fines and Fees assessed can be between $2,000-$5,000. Penalties will be higher in all cases should a minor child be in the vehicle or the individual has a BAL of .15 or higher. Your license will be revoked for ten years with the possibility of a hardship license after two years.
A court will likely order community service, probation, drug/alcohol program attendance, and DUI school attendance. Your vehicle will be impounded of a minimum of 90 days. There are locations that will hold your vehicle should you not wish to have the police department hold it for you; however, these locations do come at a cost.
After your third DUI in ten years, the court has found this to be a felony. Being a convicted felon has ramifications above and beyond penalties the court can impose. The individual may not be able to vote, carry a weapon, or endeavor to have a professional license. Some rights may be restored upon release from incarceration.
With jail time more than likely to ensue, the individual should prepare their family for lower income as he/she will not be able to provide, the possibility of not keeping said job and/or getting new employment, and the general feeling of having to visit in jail. These are hard for a family to accept and may lead to family strife.
4th DUI or Subsequent DUIs—Felony (depending on the length of time between the DUIs)
After your fourth DUI, there are few statutory guidelines that are imposed. The judge, however, has larger discretion on how to sentence jail time, impose civil fees/fines, impoundment, etc.
A court may order community service, probation, drug/alcohol program attendance, and DUI school attendance. Your vehicle may be impounded for a time the judge finds most appropriate. There are locations that will hold your vehicle should you not wish to have the police department hold it for you; however, these locations do come at a cost.
As you can see above, the invidual may be facing higher penalties, fees/fines, jail time, etc. These can result in the loss of civil rights and can lead to family strife. After a third DUI, employment has likely become harder to get and maintain. The chances the individual may be facing more jail time and alcohol/drug rehabilitation programs are much higher.
If there is an accident in which another individual dies as a result of drunk driving, the court imposes higher penalties on the individual convicted of DUI. Fines are not to exceed $10,000. Jail time is not to exceed 15 years. If the individual left the scene of the crime, jail time is not to exceed 30 years. Your license will likely be permanently revoked without reinstatement should you be found guilty of DUI manslaughter.
As listed above, when an individual is convicted of a felony, they lose their civil right to vote, ability to maintain professional licenses, and bear arms. These rights may be reinstated upon release from incarceration, but that is not a guarantee. An individual may be granted parole (early release) for good behavior as well. This is an option if the individual has good behavior while in jail. Once parole expires, it is likely that the individual will be on probation. There are several fees and fines that are unspoken—paying probation officer fees, payment for rehab services, payment for vehicle impoundment, payment for child care, payment for rental of interlocking device.
DUI with Serious Bodily Injury–Felony
If there is an accident involving DUI with serious bodily injury, the court will impose particular sentences. Fines are not to exceed $10,000. In order to determine the jail time to expect, an individual should go through the number of charges he/she has had of DUI and the corresponding amount of time is applicable (for example, if this is the second DUI and serious bodily injury occurs, the individual will face the amount specified for the second DUI conviction (not within 5 years since the first DUI and with a BAL under .15 and no minor children in the vehicle, the individual will face no more than nine months). Restitution may be ordered to be paid or the matter may be taken to civil court where the individual suffering the loss may sue the defendant for repayment of the loss.
Any community service, alcohol/drug rehabilitation programs, DUI school, etc. will be ordered at the court’s sole discretion. Vehicle impoundment may be imposed if your vehicle is still in operating order.
Please see above for the surrounding effects of DUI including but not limited to additional fees and emotional strife that a DUI causes.
As outlined in each case above, an enhanced DUI sentence is imposed on individuals who are found to have a blood alcohol level (BAL) over .15 or have a minor child in the vehicle with them upon getting the DUI. These are called enhanced DUI sentences as they are higher penalties imposed. In each separate case, one can see that an enhanced DUI sentence imposes longer jail time, higher fines/fees, and other penalties.
As you can see, a DUI results in jail time, fees/fines, impoundment of vehicle, DUI school, probation, etc. In conjunction with the court ordered penalties, the individual faces higher insurance rates, public shame, family embarrassment, loss of employment, and may even face loss of civil rights depending on the number of DUIs in the individual’s past. These ramifications come with unspoken expenses, including but not limited to: probation officer payments, drug/alcohol rehabilitation services, loss of employment, child care expenses, rental fees for interlocking device on vehicle, reinstatement/reapplication drivers’ license fees, random drug testing, and any and all restitution the court orders. These expenses could easily total $10,000 for the first DUI—only to get more expensive with more DUIs. A lawyer can be most beneficial in ensuring your rights and helping to keep the expenses associated with a DUI manageable. A DUI attorney will certainly be lower than the costs associated with a DUI should you be unrepresented. The best option at this point would be to seek counsel about your case so a lawyer can best advise you and take your case off your shoulders.