A fun drinking night with friends can lead to a DUI charge if you get behind the wheels while intoxicated. In most states, a first DUI offense is categorized as a misdemeanor. However, you should not underestimate the charges of a DUI misdemeanor. Again, a DUI charge on your record can have far-reaching consequences. It is always wise to seek the expertise of a DUI lawyer.
Consequences of a DUI Offense
Most first time DUI offenders assume that they will only get probation after a first time DUI offense. However, considering the rising fatalities as a result of drunk driving, the courts are now issuing harsher penalties even for first-time offenders. The court can still give a jail term verdict even for a misdemeanor. In addition to this, your license can be suspended for a specified period, even for a first-time offense.
If you a charged with a first time DUI offense, you can apply for a hardship license or an occupational license. This allows you to drive to school or work. A DUI probation also comes with court costs, probation fees, substantial fines and urinalysis fees. You will also be required to attend an alcohol and drug counseling program for a specified number of hours. Community service can also be part of the probation.
As is evident, even a misdemeanor DUI charge can still attract, license suspension, fines and community service. There are several circumstances when the courts may issue an enhanced penalty for a misdemeanor. For instance, if you have a child on board, the courts can treat this as a felony offense, even if you are a first-time offender. In addition to the criminal sentence, a DUI charge will also carry an administrative element. For example, offenders who refuse to take a breath test can get a harsher penalty and a driver’s license suspension.
If you drive with a license suspension, you can attract more fines. You can also be asked to install an ignition interlock device during the suspension period. These devices have huge cost implications of about $200 per month. In some states, the license can be suspended for three years. This is why DUI charges should not be taken lightly. It is always wise to consult with a DUI lawyer. These legal experts understand the system and the possible defenses they can use to get you a lesser charge.
Long-term Consequences of a DUI Charge
A first-time DUI offence can still affect auto insurance and your employment prospects. Today, many employers run a background criminal check on all potential employees. A DUI criminal history makes you a risky applicant, and most employers will not offer you jobs. The same risk aspect applies to insurance rates. Again, insurance companies may not cover for accidents as a result of drunk driving.
As is evident, you cannot afford to take a first time DUI offense lightly. It is in your best interest to consult with a DUI lawyer and get legal help.