Drinking and driving is a huge problem in America, and over 111 million Americans admitted to driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in 2016. Those who are driving while under the influence will not have quick reaction times. They may also make poor decisions that could lead to fatal accidents. These individuals will also have poor coordination and concentration, which means that they are a danger to others on the road.
“In general, a DUI is defined as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above. However, if your BAC hovers around 0.07, a prosecutor could argue that your BAC was above 0.08 while you were driving, but has fallen below that level while you were getting breathalyzed.”
The consequences of getting charged and convicted of a DUI will vary from state to state. It will also depend on the individual’s driving record, and whether they were engaged in any reckless driving patterns before getting pulled over. This article will look at what happens when you get a DUI.
Immediately after getting booked for a DUI, you will be placed in the back of a police vehicle and taken to the nearest police station. There, your mug shot will be taken, and you will be fingerprinted. You may then have to either:
- Go to jail for a certain amount of time
- Sit at the police station until you have sobered up
- Post bail and be driven home by a friend or family member
In many states, the police will impound your vehicle as well. You will be responsible for paying the impound fee. Depending on your BAC, you may lose your license immediately and be barred from driving until your case has been resolved before a judge.
“If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you may immediately lose your driver’s license in some states.”
At this time, you will also be given a ticket or a summons with a date for when you are to appear in court. In court, you will be given the opportunity to plead guilty or deny the charges. If you deny the charges and try to fight the case, the police officer will need to provide evidence that you were driving under the influence. In many cases, this may be your BAC or even a video of you failing the breathalyzer test.
Will I Lose My Driver’s License?
Many people are most worried about whether or not they will lose their driver’s license. If you are convicted of a DUI, you will absolutely lose your driving license and privileges for a period of time.
But, what if you have to drive to work or school?
Some states offer what is known as a hardship license. This license will allow you to drive to work or school during certain periods of time. For example, you may be able to drive to and from work only between the hours of 8am and 6pm. You will not be able to drive at night.
Those who have already been previously convicted of a DUI may lose their driving license completely, and may not be able to drive until they’ve completed a class on responsible driving. Some courts may require the convicted individual to complete an alcohol addiction treatment program before he or she can drive again.
Long-Term Consequences of a DUI
When you get a DUI, you may face long-term consequences for years to come. In fact,the long-term consequences are often the most difficult and trying part of getting convicted with a DUI. Depending on your BAC level and other circumstances, you may face some pretty serious and dire consequences. Some long-term consequences of getting a DUI may include:
- Losing your job. Some places have a strict mandatory firing policy. Anyone who is convicted of a DUI may be at risk of losing their jobs. This is particularly true for those in the driving industry, like a mailman or a bus driver.
- Losing your auto insurance. If your auto insurance company deems you as a threat or as an irresponsible driver, it may choose not to offer you any insurance at all. In some states, you cannot drive if you do not have any insurance.
- Having to pay a huge fine. Depending on the laws of your state, you may also be fined. In Washington State, you can be fined up to $5,000 for a first-time offense.
- Getting incarcerated. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also face jail time. Some states are quite strict when it comes to drunk driving. In fact, first-time offenders in California can receive anywhere from 48 hours to six months of jail time. Second-time offenders may receive anywhere from 96 hours to one year in jail.
Some other long-term consequences may include losing your license completely. It’s important to note that a DUI is considered a serious criminal offense. If you are convicted of a DUI, this charge will remain on your record. It could prevent you from being able to accomplish many things in the future.
In some situations, those who are convicted of a DUI may get probation instead. Those who are unable to meet the terms of their probation may be sent back to jail.
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
If you are facing a DUI charge, you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent your case. This is the best way that you can protect yourself and make sure that you get a fair judgment. A lawyer can also give you some input as to whether you should fight the case or whether you should take a plea bargain based on his or her experience.
In the event that you do not have the means to hire a lawyer, the state will provide you with one.
It’s important to note that a DUI is a very serious offense. Many people don’t take it as seriously as they should. You should always have a lawyer by your side when facing a legal case. This way, you’ll know what your rights are, and you’ll get a better understanding of the law.
Don’t Drink and Drive
29 people die every day in the U.S. from motor vehicle crashes caused by an alcohol-impaired driver. That works out to be a death every 50 minutes. Drinking and driving is deadly, and those who get behind the wheel while under the influence are putting not only themselves, but others in danger.
If you have a drinking problem, the least that you can do is to make sure that you have a safe ride home. Call a taxi or a friend. Don’t risk your life and the lives of others by driving. It’s not only an irresponsible decision, but it can also have a devastating impact on many lives.
Do you have any experience with DUIs? What are some of your “get-home-safe” tips? Let us know in the comments below.