If you've been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) for the first time, take care that you don't fall victim to some common misguided myths. Some are under the impression that first-timers get a pass after a DUI and that punishment amounts to nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Read on for a more realistic look at what first-time DUI offenders might face.
Will You Go To Jail?
In most cases, the answer is "yes," even if for a short time. An arrest for DUI means that you will be booked into the jail while you await your arraignment. The time you spend in jail depends on when you go before the judge and whether or not you can pay the bail. If you end up getting convicted, your chances to be incarcerated as a first-time DUI offender depends on the laws of the state. Some states have mandatory DUI sentencing guidelines that leave very little up to the judge's discretion. This is where the help of a criminal defense attorney is needed to persuade the judge to sentence you to probation and other punishments other than jail.
Will You Lose Your Driving License?
In almost every instance, a conviction will mean you lose your right to drive. You may, with the help of a lawyer, be issued a hardship license that allows you to go to work, school, and a few other places if done so during certain hours and days. Even first-time offenders will face high reinstatement costs to get their driving privileges back.
How Much Will Your DUI Cost?
The financial side of a DUI can be considerable. Almost every aspect of your case will cost more than expected. Take a look at just a few common costs associated with a first-time DUI.
- Driving license reinstatement can cost several hundreds of dollars.
- Fees for probation are often charged weekly.
- Attorney fees may be charged as a single flat rate or hourly.
- Fines and court costs can be thousands of dollars.
- Ignition interlock devices have installation, removal, and monitoring costs.
- Any court-ordered classes or counseling will be costly.
- You could end up with an auto insurance cancellation.
Other DUI Consequences
There are innumerable other negative aspects to a first-time DUI. You could, for example, lose your job if it involves driving or if you are unable to attend work. Undoubtedly, family and personal relationships will suffer alongside you as you go through this experience. That is why even first-time DUI offenders need help. Speak to a criminal law attorney about your DUI case if you have further questions.