What You Need To Know About DUI Penalties

If you or someone close to you has ever been arrested for drunk driving, then you probably know that DUI penalties depend on many factors. While criminal procedures and DUI penalties may vary from state to state, there are some penalties which are common to almost every state.

What Constitutes a DUI Charge?

It is important to note that the legal drinking age is 21 in most states. Any driver, under the age of 21, who is found to be driving while intoxicated, is deemed to have committed an offense. The level of blood alcohol does not matter in such cases because most states have a zero tolerance policy against underage drinking. Any adult driver who is pulled over by a police officer and records blood alcohol level of more than 0.08 is considered to have been driving while intoxicated.

DUI Penalties

The following are common penalties that can be dispensed by a court when the accused is found guilty.

  • Probation
  • Fines and fees
  • Suspension of driving license
  • Going to DUI school
  • Mandatory jail-time.

First Offense

Drivers who have been found to be driving while intoxicated for the first time can expect to get off easy especially if they are represented by good lawyers. The penalties for a first time DUI charge may include:

  • Probation. During this time the person will be required to stay away from alcohol especially before driving. No probation officers are assigned in such cases.
  • The accused may be required by the court to pay court fees and fines if found guilty. Part of the fine can be paid off through community service
  • License can be suspended for up to six months.
  • A person can also be ordered by the court to attend a DUI school.
  • Immediately after arrest, drunk drivers must be kept in jail for at least 48 hours.

Second Offense

Penalties and punishments for second offenders include:

  • Probation. No probation officer is assigned.
  • Court fees and fines amounting to thousand of dollars. Part of the fine can also be worked off through community service.
  • Suspension of driving license for up to two years.
  • Attending up to 18 months of DUI School.
  • Up to 96 hours of jail-time immediately after arrest.

Third Offense

A third DUI offense shows a trend, and the penalties are stricter. The punishments and penalties are similar to those of a second offense. The only difference is that the suspension of driving license is for three years and the convicted person must be jailed for up to 120 days.

Fourth Offense

In some states and counties, third and fourth DUI offenses are considered felony DUI. Penalties for these charges include:

  • Permanent loss of driving license.
  • Up to 3 years in state prison.
  • The charges vary from state to state, so it may be worthwhile to check with your state.

Sandra Roland is a law student, activist and freelance writer. She is interested in all areas of law and has recently been writing for a West Palm Beach DUI Lawyer. She hopes to one day become a lawyer or mediator.

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