Long-Term Consequences of a Drunk Driving Charge
No one wants a DUI. Beyond the physical danger in which the drunk driver places herself and others, the criminal penalties from a DUI conviction can be especially harsh. Yes, there are fines and possible jail time, but there are also some punishments that can stick with you for quite a long time.
Here are some of the long-term consequences of a DUI conviction.
Average Alcohol Charge
Even a standard DUI can have you paying the price for years, both financially and reputationally. Although drunk driving laws can vary by state, there are some consistent DUI penalties and some that last longer than a couple years.
You may be offered a plea bargain that includes probation instead of jail. This sounds like a good deal, but probation periods are often much longer than jail sentences, and if you ever violate you probation conditions, that could equal jail time, meaning you'll have the possibility of incarceration hanging over your head for longer. This is the same for the thousands of dollars you will face in fines and fees: pay them off right away and you might be good, but if you can't or won't pay, you could incur more financial damage and also risk going to jail.
You may also get stuck with an ignition interlock device that makes you provide an alcohol-free breath sample in order to start your car or keep it running. IIDS are becoming more and more common, even for first-time DUIs, and you may need to have one installed in your car for a year or more.
Aggravated Alcohol Charges
Of course, there are ways to make a DUI worse, and if your drunk driving garners you more criminal charges, that will mean higher fines, more jail time, and more convictions on your record, which will be harder to expunge now that it includes more than a run-of-the-mill DUI:
- A DUI Can Be a Felony: If you have prior DUI convictions or arrests, an extremely high blood alcohol content, or you are driving on an already suspended or revoked license.
- A DUI Can Be Manslaughter: If your drunk driving accident results in someone's death.
- A DUI Can Be Child Endangerment: If you're driving drunk with kids in the car.
While driving drunk can be a decision you make in a hazy instant, the consequences of a drunk driving charge can be with you your whole life. Talk to an experienced DUI attorney today.