Drunk driving is a serious offense that carries some harsh penalties for anyone convicted of the crime. Because of all the potential ramifications of a DUI, it’s always important to consider hiring legal representation to help fight your case. You might be thinking, “Of course a lawyer is going to advise hiring an attorney,” but most people don’t completely understand all the potential consequences of your actions. Here’s a look at five potential penalties for driving under the influence.
Penalties For DUI
Here’s what on the line if you are arrested for DUI:
1. Jail Time – Even if it’s your first offense, jail is on the table in most states. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, like if you had an extremely high blood alcohol content, you crashed the vehicle or you injured another person, sometimes jail can become a mandatory punishment.
2. Fines – Monetary fines are almost always a given in the wake of a DUI arrest. In some states these fines can climb into the thousands of dollars. Most states also have a minimum monetary penalty for driving under the influence, so expect your wallet to get a little lighter after a DUI arrest.
3. Loss of Driving Privileges – Some states automatically suspend a license for at least six months after a person has been arrested for driving under the influence. This can make everyday tasks much more difficult. There’s a chance you can get an occupational driving license to commute to and from work while you’re on probation, but forget driving out to the movies or a quick trip to the mall for some shopping. Not only will this affect your life, but it will also impact your family’s life if you can’t help run errands or take the kids to activities.
4. Substance Counseling – You may also be ordered by the court to take part in alcohol or substance abuse counseling. Courts like imposing this penalty because part of the goal of sentencing is to set the offender down the right path to ensure the crime doesn’t happen again. Courts will also generally order that a person cannot drink any alcoholic beverages during a probationary period or while counseling is underway.
5. Higher Insurance Premiums – The potential penalty that most often gets overlooked is a big increase in insurance premiums. This is likely because it is not imposed by the court, but it is a direct result of the court decision. Over time, this increase in insurance premiums can really add up. Once an insurance company classifies you as a “high-risk” driver, you’ll find yourselves paying hundreds if not thousands more a year to get coverage.
Brett Appelman is the owner and managing partner at Appelman & Associates, a criminal defense law firm located in Aurora, Illinois. His firm specializes in criminal matters, traffic citations and family law. If you run into trouble just west of Chicago, give Brett and his team a call.