DUI is one of the most common criminal offenses, both in the US and globally. Even drivers with otherwise very clean records have been arrested over DUI offenses. Simply defined, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) refers to the act of operating a car (or any motor vehicle) with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Level) that exceeds the legal limit. It is worth noting that DUI offenses are not just limited to the use of alcohol. An individual driving a motor vehicle under the influence of other drugs, including prescription meds, illicit drugs, and over the counter drugs, may be charged with the DUI offense.
DUI convictions do have various consequences. In this article, we will be taking a deeper look at major consequences you may have to deal with if you get caught driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
So, what are these major consequences?
Time in Jail
If you get caught driving under the influence, the officers who arrested you have the responsibility to remove you from the situation and ensure they get you off the road. This means taking you to the police station, booking you, and then probably putting you in jail. You could be put in jail until a bond is posted.
In most jurisdictions, an individual is supposed to demonstrate a significant BAC drop for them to be released. The time you may have to spend in jail will depend on various factors. These factors may include the situation and jurisdiction.
2. Restrictions on Driving Privileges
Nowadays, the assumption that there will be ramifications to your driving privileges if you get caught driving under the influence is always a safe bet. In some states, the arresting officer will confiscate the driver’s license after the arrest. The individual may be allowed to use a temporary license until the trial. If the individual gets convicted of the DUI offense, the driving license may get suspended, revoked, or restricted.
The action that gets taken will largely depend on the DUI offense nature. If you are a first-time offender, your driving license may get suspended for a period of 3 months or 90 days. This period may be longer or shorter depending on the judge handling your case and the situation. If you do not want to have your driving license suspended, you can request a hearing to contest the suspension of the driver’s license. According to James Bradshaw from BrownBradshaw.com, you only have 10 days to request a hearing to contest the suspension of your driver’s license after an arrest for a DUI.
If your license gets suspended, to get it back, you may have to meet various specifications. For example, after the suspension period has elapsed, you may have to install interlock systems on your car’s ignition. You may also have to appear before the Motor Vehicles Department. The department is supposed to evaluate you and assess the risk for future infractions. All these issues will force you to spend more of your cash. For some people, these issues could be embarrassing. They could also cause both resentment and stress.
DUI offenses are considered to be criminal offenses. This means that you may be placed on probation for a specified period of time. Probations do cost money. Therefore, you should expect to spend some cash.
Some of the probation specifications include requiring the convicted individual to avoid using alcohol or other drugs. He/she should also avoid being in places where alcohol is being served, for example, bars. Other restrictions will largely depend on factors such as the situation, state, your probation officer, and your judge.
4. Your Car Insurance Company Will Demand More Money
If you get convicted of a DUI offense, your insurance company is likely to consider you a high-risk driver. This means that you have to pay higher premiums for car insurance. There is usually no way around this. In some cases, the insurance company may even drop you. You may have to look for insurance companies that will accept you. Typically, insurances that accept individuals caught driving under the influence charge high premium rates for the limited automobile insurance they offer.
5. More Fines
After getting convicted of the DUI offense, you may have to pay fines. The fines may eat up your bond. This means that you will have to pay even more money. The fines may force you to apply for a payment program. The reason behind this is that in most cases, the fines will be too extensive for you to handle them all at once.
6. Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program
Most courts will require you to attend treatment for substance use disorder. This could be a condition of your probation. If you fail to attend the treatment, you may be subjected to even steeper fines. The treatment may be specified by your judge. It may include participating in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. It may also require you to attend alcohol abuse residential or inpatient rehabilitation programs.
7. Attending an Alcohol Education Program
Nowadays, more jurisdictions require individuals, even if they are first-offenders, to attend some sort of formal alcohol education program. The program may vary depending on the state you live in and your situation. You will have to pay for the program. Also, your attendance will be monitored.
DUI Offenses Have Both Long-Term and Short-Term Consequences
DUI offenses do vary depending on the state or country where you reside. The consequences can be both long-term and short-term. Obviously, short-term consequences will not cause problems in your life for a long time. Longer-term consequences arising from the DUI conviction often cause the most pain to the affected individuals. These can haunt you for years even after you have already fulfilled your legal obligations and paid the required fines. Avoiding driving under the influence is always the easiest way to avoid having to deal with both the long-term and short-term consequences. Remember, the consequences of this driving mistake will take both your time and money.