When someone is stopped for DUI (Driving Under the Influence), they may be charged with a multitude of offenses (DUI, also known as a DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated, in some states). Everything here is based on the particulars of each case’s facts and circumstances.
For the majority of drivers, the first arrest for drunk driving is usually charged with a misdemeanor, but in certain cases, the consequences can be far more severe. The penalty mainly depends on the state law and the conditions of the arrest. The most common DUI offense and DUI charges are listed below:
First DUI Conviction:
A first-time DUI or DWI is often considered a misdemeanor and carries a maximum prison sentence of six months to a year in several states depending upon the state law. However, the maximum jail sentence for a first DUI is also lesser in several states. For instance, in New Jersey, a first-time DWI carries a maximum 30-day sentence in jail. A first DUI may not result in any potential jail time in some places, including Pennsylvania, despite the rarity of it. In many places, first-time offenders must serve at least a few days in prison.
Second or third DUI Conviction:
First convection can be treated as a misdemeanor; however, second or third convictions can lead to longer jail times than the first DUI conviction, even more than one year. For a first offense, Colorado’s minimum sentence is five days in jail; for a second, it’s ten days; and for a third, it’s sixty days. However, in Colorado, the maximum jail sentence for a first, second, or third DUI is one year, which is the same for all three offenses.
If you are convicted for the fourth DUI within 10 years then the fourth DUI will be considered a Felony DUI. A felony DUI means one can face severe consequences and longer jail times than usual but again, it all depends on the state law and the judge’s discretion at the time of trial.
If found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a youngster (under age 21) may be subjected to different punishment than an adult. The majority of jurisdictions have zero-tolerance policies that forbid drivers under the age of 21 from operating a vehicle while having even a trace level of alcohol in their systems. Zero-tolerance infractions often result in license suspension and penalties but not prison time.
A DUI or DWI offense can lead to license suspension for a good amount of time and that again is dependent on the state law. The period of the license suspension also depends on prior convictions. For instance, in California, the length of suspension is six months for a first DUI conviction, two years for a second, and three years for a third DUI conviction. If the driver refuses to take a blood, breath, or urine test unlawfully, then it can also lead to suspension of license and usually, the period of suspension in this condition is more.
These are some of the consequences that one has to face if one has been convicted of DUI. Now one question must be arising in your mind: what should you do if you are charged with DUI? The feasible answer will be: to contact a DUI defense attorney and follow the legal proceedings.
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