June 21, 2024

Not All DUI Convictions Are Created Equal — Here Are Six Things That Could Affect Your Penalties

Fighting a red light ticket

A DUI conviction is a pretty serious charge; even if you have a great DUI defense attorney who can lower your punishments to what you might get from other misdemeanor traffic offenses, the DUI conviction itself can stay on your driving record for up to 10 years.

The possible punishments you could face include: points added to your driving record, a temporary suspension or permanent revocation of your license, steep fines, jail or prison sentences, community service requirements, mandatory classes for drug and alcohol abuse, and possibly having an ignition interlock device installed in your car. Additionally, you could find that your future opportunities for employment, housing, and education are extremely limited — private businesses and individuals are often permitted to refuse to do business with you if you’ve had a DUI conviction in the past.

With all of that being said, nothing is set in stone when it comes to the consequences of DUI traffic violations. Even though you might not be able to get out of a traffic ticket for a drug- or alcohol-related offense, it’s important to remember that every case is different and the punishments often depend on circumstantial factors. For example,

  • If you are a first-time, second-time, or third-time offender in terms of DUI convictions;
  • If you’ve been convicted of other felony or misdemeanor traffic violations;
  • If you were operating a passenger vehicle (like an average car or truck) or a commercial vehicle (like a delivery truck or semi-truck);
  • The percentage of alcohol that was in your system (i.e., your BAC) while you were operating a vehicle;
  • If you’re under 21 years of age — most states have Zero Tolerance policies here, meaning that you can be charged with a DUI violation if your BAC is .01% or higher;
  • If you refused to take a breathalyzer or sobriety test when you were initially pulled over (technically, every state has something called an “implied consent law” which means that you automatically agree, when you get your driver’s license, to take a chemical BAC test if an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence).

Long story short: if you’re facing a DUI charge, the best thing you can do for yourself is to contact a law firm that specializes in traffic violations. Although it’s possible to handle everything yourself, an experienced lawyer will be more familiar with your state’s traffic laws and will know the best way to handle your specific case. See this link for more references.

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