The consequences of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol are stiff across the country and rightfully so as tens of thousands of people lose their lives due to drunk/impaired drivers each year. That being said, if you have been convicted of a DUI, the consequences can be extremely costly in terms of your finances, your freedom, career and driving expenses.
This article will outline penalties involved with DUI convictions, and what motorists who are convicted of DUIs must go through to regain their driving privileges. It is NEVER a good idea to drive while intoxicated and this article will show you why.
Penalties, Fines and Punishments
When a motorist is pulled over and determined to be intoxicated by either failing or refusing to take a field sobriety test such as a breathalyzer, the driver is usually arrested on the spot. States can vary on how severe they punish first time offenders, but typically the scenario described by Bognet in the 2010 edition of The Standard Speaker is fairly accurate. He sums up the experience a person is in for once pulled over for a DUI in Pennsylvania:
“A conviction results in a criminal record. If convicted for a FIRST offense, you could spend up to six months in jail, pay a fine of up to $5,000, have your driver’s license suspended for a year, serve a probationary term, attend Highway Safety School, undergo Drug and Alcohol Evaluation/Treatment, pay $1,000 or so in court costs plus attorney’s fees and endure the publicity that your case will generate hop over to this web-site. Not a happy situation!. A conviction for DUI carries a mandatory (not discretionary) driver’s license suspension of one year in Pennsylvania. Even worse, if you are caught driving under a DUI-related suspension, as so many are, you will then be facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 60 days and mandatory fines, costs, etc.”
Refusing to take a sobriety test is not a good idea and in many cases just makes it worse on you if you are convicted of a DUI. Callahan cautions in the September 28, 2012 edition of the St. Joseph News Press to cooperative if asked by authorities to take a sobriety test:
“Don’t refuse a sobriety test. When you obtain the privilege of driving a motor vehicle, you are effectively giving your consent to DUI testing if a police officer reasonably believes you are under the influence while operating a motor vehicle. This is called implied consent and many states have these laws on their books. If you refuse to take a breath, blood or urine test, prosecutors may turn to the implied consent laws when you go to court. In many states, refusal to submit to a chemical test may be used to increase the penalties if you’re convicted of a DUI.”
In many states, it is required that once convicted of a DUI, an interlock device must be installed on your car. These devices prevent you from driving your vehicle unless you blow into the device, which tests your blood alcohol level. These interlocks have helped reduce repeat offenders and they have to be paid for by the convicted driver. Even if you are not driving a car, you can be convicted of DUI if you are operating a boat, ATV, motorcycle or even riding a ski lift and snowmobiling while intoxicated and as stated above the penalties are real.
Being convicted of a DUI is not pleasant. In addition to having a criminal record, which can make it harder for you to find and/or keep your job, the fines, lawyer fees, and time missed at work if you manage to retain your job make risking a DUI all the more unattractive. Most importantly, if you are driving while drunk or intoxicated, you are a serious safety risk to yourself and others. As a responsible citizen, you should take steps to avoid having to drive while in that state of mind. Call a cab, have a designated driver, ask to spend the night where you are at if possible. You can save yourself a lot of pain and someone’s life.