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      DUI/DWI Penalties - Drunk Driving Laws and Consequences of a DUI Charge

 

  Learn about the penalties and laws of a DUI charge



Recommended: How to Clear Your DUI Record


Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated

  First Offense:

  • up to a $2,000 fine
  • 72 hours to 180 days in jail
  • driver's license suspension: 90 days to 1 year

PROBATION:
Most people convicted of a first offense DWI do not serve any jail time. They are technically sentenced to jail, but the jail sentence is suspended and they are put on probation (community supervision). The probation is generally for a term of one to two years. While on probation you must do what the judge orders you to do. These orders are called conditions of probation. If you do not do what the judge has ordered you to do (the conditions) then the judge has the option of revoking your probation and putting you in jail for any number of days up to the original jail sentence you received that was suspended.

The judge can order any reasonable condition on your probation. The typical conditions of probation are as follows:

  1. Do not violate the law.
  2. Report to your probation officer. (This is usually once a month.)
  3. Pay your fine, court costs and monthly probation fees.
  4. Do your community service. For a first offense DWI you must do between 24 and 80 hours community service. The type of community service varies.
  5. You can not drink alcohol.
  6. You must attend DWI Education classes.
  7. You must attend what is called a Victim Impact Panel. This is presented by M.A.D.D. It is designed to educate on the dangers of DWI.
  8. Get a drug and alcohol evaluation. (If the evaluation reveals you have a problem with drugs or alcohol then treatment of the problem will be ordered.)
  9. Maintain a job.

(These are the most common conditions that are imposed on a person placed on probation on a DWI first offense)

  Second Offense:

  • up to a $4,000 fine
  • 30 days to 1 year in jail
  • driver's license suspension: 180 days to 2 years

PROBATION:
If you are convicted of a second DWI you are eligible for probation. Probation is not granted as often for second DWI as it is for first, but it is not uncommon. If you are given probation on a second DWI the requirements will generally be much more demanding than a first offense. Likewise, the length of probation will more than likely be for a full two years. The additional requirements that are generally required on a second offense are as follows:

  1. You must serve jail time as a condition of your probation.(The maximum is 30 days, this is day for day jail time.)
  2. The community service must be from 80 to 200 hours.
  3. You will be required to have a deep lung air device on your vehicle. This is a breath test hooked up to your cars ignition. If alcohol is on your breath your car will not start. This will be automatically reported to your probation officer as a violation of your probation and can cause your probation to be revoked.

  Third Offense:

  • up to a $10,000 fine
  • 2 to 10 years in the state penitentiary
  • driver's license suspension: 180 days to 2 years

PROBATION:
If you are convicted of a third DWI there are situations where you are eligible for probation and some where you are not. If you are eligible for probation the term must be from 2 to 10 years. The courts will look at many factors in determining if you get probation. Some of these factors are: How long has it been since your last DWI? If you previously had a probation how did you do on that probation?(did you ever violate a condition of the probation?) How severe are the facts of the new case? Was there an accident? If you took the test how high was you alcohol concentration? Any aggravating factors?.

There is also Shock probation. Shock probation is where you are actually sentenced and go to the penitentiary. At any time prior to 180 days from the date of being sentenced to prison the court can Shock you out of prison and put you on probation. To qualify for Shock probation you must be eligible for probation and never have been sentenced to prison . Then it is the decision of the court that sent you to prison.

The following conditions of probation will likely be required if a person is granted probation for a felony DWI. (In addition to the ones required for a class A misdemeanor.)

  1. There must be from 160 to 600 hours of community service.
  2. You must serve jail time as a condition of probation. (The minimum time is ten days and the maximum is 180 days.)
  3. There are various types of alcohol treatment programs that a judge can require. These range from inpatient treatment to out patient treatment.

  INTOXICATED ASSAULT: THIRD DEGREE FELONY

An intoxicated assault is when a person is guilty of DWI and also CAUSES serious bodily injury to another person.
    (Serious Bodily Injury: is defined as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.)
  • up to $10,000 fine
  • 2 to 10 years in the state penitentiary
  • drivers license suspension: 180 days to one year

PROBATION:
Probation is legally available for some intoxicated assault cases. The severity of the injuries as well as prior record of the accused will be important factors on whether or not a person gets probation.

The following conditions will likely be required if a person is granted probation for an intoxicated assault. (In addition to those for a DWI):

  1. You must serve jail time as a condition of probation.( A minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 180 days.)
  2. There must be from 160 to 600 hours of community service.
  3. There are various types of alcohol treatment programs that a judge can require. These range from inpatient treatment to outpatient treatment.

  INTOXICATED MANSLAUGHTER: SECOND DEGREE FELONY

A person is guilty of intoxicated manslaughter if he/she is guilty of DWI and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another. By accident or mistake.

  • up to $10,000 fine
  • 2 to 20 years in the state penitentiary
  • drivers license suspension: 180 days to 2 years

PROBATION:
Probation is a legal possibility in some intoxicated assault cases, but is very difficult to get. If it is the result of a plea bargain, the family of the victim usually would have to agree to the deal. These are always very sensitive cases and must be dealt with as such.

If a person receives probation the following conditions apply. ( In addition to the conditions of a felony DWI.)

  1. You must serve jail time as a condition of probation.(A minimum of 120 days and a maximum of 180 days.)
  2. There must be 240 to 800 hours community service.



In the United States, a federal law prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered driving under the influence, and is punishable with DUI charges. Some states have a lesser charge sometimes called ‘driving while impaired’ (DWI) for people with a BAC in the 0.05-0.08 range. In many European countries the legal limit is 0.05 BAC, some countries don’t allow any amount of alcohol in the blood of vehicle operators, and some counties don’t have any laws about driving under the influence at all. In most countries, the drivers of commercial vehicles, such as planes, trains and buses, have stricter limitations on alcohol usage while driving and harsher penalties for violating them.

Driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol is referred to as DUID, and carries similar penalties as a DUI. However, because there is often difficulty in determining if a driver is impaired by the drugs found in his or her blood, current laws state that ANY amount of an illegal substance found in a drivers system makes them subject to DUI charges.

The fines and punishments for a DUI usually vary depending on the circumstances of the crime, and whether or not there is a history of prior offences. A first time offender stopped by a police officer for swerving slightly will receive a much lighter penalty than a repeat offender who drove erratically and crashed.

The penalties vary from state to state across the United States, but usually involve a steep fine, temporary suspension of your driver’s license, and possibly some amount of jail time. First offences rarely involve jail time unless the DUI incident involved injury or death. Deaths caused by someone under the influence usually carry the additional charge of vehicular manslaughter, and are much more serious crimes.

Because DUIs are such a common criminal charge, there are many defense lawyers that specialize solely in representing people with such charges. These lawyers are often called ‘DUI attorneys’. Since a DUI is a serious charge, it is highly recommended that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after receiving a DUI.

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