Consequences and Penalties for a DUI Charge
In many parts of the world, drunk driving is a criminal offense. The risk of vehicular accidents increases with the involvement of perception and coordination-altering substances. While many substances – both alcohol and drugs – can subsequently render one to lose clear judgment while driving, the resulting penalties will depend on the severity of the impairment.
DUI or DWI?
Some states differentiate driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) depending on the amount of alcohol present in the body during the course of the driving. If it’s more than the legal limit, they usually charge this as a DWI. Anything below it is DUI.
Other jurisdictions make no apparent distinction between DUI or DWI. This is because both pose imminent threat to the safety and security of the general public, so they’re considered criminal offenses. Although hiring DUI lawyers in Springfield can help, doing so doesn’t entirely make one free from penalties.
Jail Sentence and Fines
DUI or DWI offenders can receive a minimum of several days up to as long as six months for first DUI offenses. The length of the jail sentence will depend on the amount of alcohol or substance measured during the time of the arrest. Aggravating factors such as damage to property or personal injuries to bystanders may significantly increase the jail sentence.
Fines can range from 500 USD to 2,000 USD. Again, aggravating factors may increase the fines altogether. Noll Law Office reminds that repeat offenders may receive harsher penalties.
Driver’s License Suspension
Aside from the jail sentence and fines, and depending on the state that carried out the DUI charge, the authorities may also suspend your driver’s license. This can range from:
- For the first offense, 30 days to 12 months
- For the second offense, 60 days to 3 years
- For the third offense, 90 days to 5 years
By the fourth offense, your driver’s license will already be revoked. All states, except Connecticut, allow up to three offenses. For Connecticut, the third offense already warrants a full revocation of the driver’s license. For Illinois, the third offense may result in the confiscation of the vehicle.
Almost all states require mandatory assessment and rehabilitation of DUI offenders. This is part of a larger measure to help curb future incidents involving drunk driving.
These penalties act as a deterrent to others who might be tempted to get behind the wheel when drunk. However, statistics do show that the current set of penalties for DUI or DWI offenders haven’t made a dent in the rising incidents of vehicular accidents involving drunk driving.