Your first DUI will bring several consequences. These may include getting fined, losing your driving license, and even jail time. You could also lose your professional papers and end up paying higher insurance premiums or losing job opportunities. However, there is no need to panic when you have a DUI lawyer by your side. They can help you can get through the charges and navigate the legal process. Here are some commonly asked questions about getting through your first DUI charge.
What Punishment Comes After the First DUI Conviction?
Fortunately, the legal system considers the first DUI a misdemeanor in most cases, which means that the punishment may be lenient. Typical consequences include withdrawing your license and requiring community service. The judge could also give you probation. However, some circumstances could change your case. For example, the presence of a child in the vehicle could escalate the charges into a felony. Some states also have more punitive laws. For example, in some states, you might automatically lose your license if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test after getting stopped by the police officer.
Will There Be Long-Term Consequences After a Conviction?
Long-term consequences are the main thing you should worry about when convicted of a DUI. Most of the evidence connected with the case will remain in your permanent record. Even if you get probation after the charges, it will still stay in your files. The conviction shows up when looking for car insurance and, sometimes, in background criminal searches. Also, once you have this first-time record as a misdemeanor, the law will treat any subsequent charges as felonies in some states. Others label two or three charges as a misdemeanor and only make subsequent ones a felony. You might also have to pay more than people without DUI records for insurance, and looking for work may be more complicated.
Can a DUI Lawyer Help?
The best advice you can receive when handling a DUI is to get a DUI attorney as soon as possible after the arrest. They assess your case and the circumstances surrounding it to determine how much you need to work on gathering and presenting evidence. The best outcome after an arrest is successfully fighting off the charge, and you can do it with a lawyer's help. Avoid assuming that the legal system will be lenient on you because it is a first-time charge.
It is advisable to act fast when arrested with a DUI. Find a competent lawyer and have them start working on your case immediately.