Each state has a different sentencing and fine scheme for DUI/DWI convictions. Most states are lenient to first-time offense and allow it to be charged as a misdemeanor. However, drunk driving laws are harsher on individuals found guilty on multiple occasions and may attract hefty fines and longer jail times.
Penalties that you may face if you are convicted of a DUI/DWI charge include fines, imprisonment, mandatory alcohol assessment & treatment, probation, and community service.
First-time offenders risk facing up to six months in jail if found guilty, which may be increased further if there are aggravating factors such as an unusually high blood-alcohol concentration.
Subsequent DUI offenses will generally lead to longer jail term sentences. In fact, you risk spending several years behind bars if you are involved in a DUI felony that has killed or injured someone.
You may also be fined amounts ranging from $500 to $2,000 or more depending on the state. Furthermore, the judge may order the installation of an ignition interlock device on your car at your own expense.
The ignition interlock device requires a motorist to blow into a simple unit installed on the vehicle’s dashboard, and if the blood-alcohol content level detected is above the set limit, the driver won’t be able to start the car.
Your driving license may also be suspended or revoked if you are charged with DUI/DWI. Each state has its own term on the actual length of license suspension. In most cases, a first-time offense will attract a 90-day license suspension.
During the suspension time, you can apply for a restricted license that only allows you to drive to school or work. If you refuse to take the BAC test, your driver’s license can be suspended regardless of whether you are convicted or not.