Driving while intoxicated, or DWI is a serious offense. It can cause significant harm to you, your family, and your job. Depending on your state, you could face prison time, fines, and even community supervision. In addition, you may also lose your driving privileges for some time.
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In most states, the penalty for your first offense of DWI is usually a misdemeanor. The penalties for subsequent DUIs are much greater. Your attorney can help you determine how to avoid the most severe consequences of a DUI. Generally, you should not drive after drinking and plan a cab or Uber ride home after a night out. You can also ask a friend or family member to take you home if you feel intoxicated.
Depending on the severity of your offense, you could spend a year or more in jail. A convicted DUI driver who causes an accident that results in death or bodily injury will be sentenced to restitution for the victims. Similarly, repeat offenders will be charged with a felony.
A person’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) can play a huge role in the time spent in jail. Generally, the higher your BAC is, the longer you’ll be in jail. Additionally, if you refuse to submit to a breath test, you can be convicted of a felony. If you’re convicted of a DUI, your insurance policy will likely be canceled, and you may lose your license.
First-time DWI offenders should plan for a minimum of 10 days in jail. They should also expect to pay a fine of at least $1,000. Those who are convicted of a second or third DWI within 10 years may face up to seven years in prison. Also, a convicted driver will have his or her license revoked for a period of up to one year.
As with any criminal charge, the specific length of your jail sentence depends on the facts of the case. Typically, the court will impose penalties that closely follow a pre-sentence investigation report’s recommendations. However, in some cases, a prosecutor may agree to a shorter sentence.
You might have to undergo a series of field sobriety tests. These are not passed/failed tests but are designed to detect clues that you are intoxicated. During these tests, you will be asked to perform certain tasks in a particular way. For example, you might be asked to stand on a stairwell or to squat. This is done to prevent you from getting too drunk and losing control of your vehicle.
If you’re convicted of DUI, you’ll need to obtain a hardship license, which will let you drive to school or work. Additionally, you’ll need to get your car back from the impound. Depending on your circumstances, you might also be able to post bail or be released on your recognizance.
A DUI conviction can have a lasting impact on your life. You’ll need to find out how long it will take for your record to clear.