While every state varies in its DUI laws and every case is different, there will always be some consequences of a DUI charge. In many cases, though, a first DUI will have far fewer consequences than a second or third one, and your lawyer might even be able to get you a plea bargain that is highly beneficial for you. No matter what, though, it is important to understand that you will likely have some consequences, and here are some of the potential consequences you might face after a first DUI.
You might not realize this, but you can get jail time for a first DUI. While this is rare, there is still a chance that this could happen; however, it will depend on the circumstance of the case and many other factors. The most time you would have to spend in jail for this crime is six months, as this is the maximum amount of time you can receive for a first DUI in all states. Chances are, though, that you will not have to serve any of this time.
You will likely have to serve at least six months of probation for a first DUI crime, too; however, it could be longer. Probation can be considered formal or informal. Typically, formal probation will have more requirements, guidelines, and rules and will often require meeting with your probation officer at least once a month. Informal probation may only require meeting with your probation officer once or twice a year. In either case, though, you will need to avoid doing certain things while on probation. This includes drinking, using drugs, and committing crimes.
Loss of Driving Privileges
In most cases, the court will instantly order a person's license to be suspended. Fortunately, this suspension is often temporary and may only last a few weeks to a few months. If it lasts for longer than this, you might be able to apply for a hardship driver's license. This type of license allows you to legally drive to and from important places, such as work or bringing your kids to school and back home. With this type of license, you will not be able to go out as you please, as you could end up in more trouble if you are driving somewhere that is not allowed with a hardship license.
There is also a chance that you will have to purchase an ignition interlock device in order to get your license back. You will have to pay for the device and the monitoring fees it costs each month, but it might be the only option you have for driving during this time.
It is also important to realize that your auto insurance rates might increase and that there is a chance you might be required to buy a special type of insurance called SR-22. No matter what consequences you face, you must do what the court says in order to avoid further legal problems.
Classes or Community Service
Additionally, it is very common for people charged with DUIs to be ordered to attend classes or complete community service. The classes you must take may be ones that teach about the dangers of drunk driving, or you might have to take a defensive driving class. Community service is simply a consequence that requires you to work in your community for a certain number of hours.
In addition to these consequences, you will have fines to pay and legal bills, but it is important to know that hiring a criminal defense attorney will help you with your case and may result in fewer consequences for your charge.