DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances is illegal in the United States. Most states have set a legal BAC limit at 0.08 percent making it illegal to drive at or above that set limit. If a person is caught driving with that BAC level, he can get arrested. Then he can get convicted of DUI if he is found guilty on those charges. The law considers DUI conviction seriously and therefore the punishments can be severe. Even first time offenders are subject to jail time, driver’s license suspension, ignition interlock device and heavy fines. This article informs you about DUI penalties, it’s after effects and remedies available to the convicted.
DUI conviction Penalties:
Penalties can be severe depending on the charge and varies from state to state. DUI conviction can be classified into misdemeanor and felony. Normally a DUI is a misdemeanor. A felony offense is charged when a person has several prior DUI convictions, injured another individual, caused property damage, and has high BAC level. A person with a felony charge has to face severe penalties than those with misdemeanor charge. Generally, the penalties for a DUI include, hefty fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension, probation, community service, installing ignition interlock device and in an extreme condition, impoundment of vehicle may occur. Penalties for first, second, third and fourth time and above DUI convictions are as follows:
First time DUI offenders may face up to six months in a jail, incur temporary driver’s license suspension and incur fines between $500 and $2000.
Second time DUI offenders (second DUI committed within five years) may face up to one year in a jail, may need to attend community service, incur license suspension for a year and incur fines between $1000 and $5000.
Third time DUI offenders may face up to one year in jail, incur driver’s license suspension for three years and incur fines between $2000 and $10,000.
Fourth time and above DUI offenders are charged under felony conviction. They may face up to ten years in jail, incur driver’s license suspension for five years and incur fines between $4000 and $10,000.
DUI conviction after effects:
A person convicted of DUI will have a subsequent criminal record. It will affect him in various aspects of his life. It acts as a barrier to both his personal and work life for many years to come. But it can mainly affect his employment. His DUI conviction will appear on his record when an employer performs criminal background check. That would disqualify him from a job that he may be highly qualified for. Likewise, driver’s license suspension due to DUI can affect one’s employment if his job involves driving.
Remedies to get your life back on track:
There are remedies available for those convicted of DUI and it helps them to get their life back on track. Most state allows cleaning or expunging DUI record. A DUI record expungement refers to erasing DUI conviction from public records. It’s like a DUI never happened. Therefore, potential employers will not have access to the DUI conviction. One can even answer “no” to the question regarding criminal conviction in the job application form. However, it is only available for someone with a misdemeanor offense. Some states even allow felony to be expunged i.e., reducing felony to misdemeanor.