Driving under the influence (DUI) doesn't just refer to alcohol – you can find yourself with a DUI arrest if you are under the influence of prescription or non-prescription medications, marijuana, or illegal drugs. It's important that you have a full understanding of all the repercussions a DUI can entail. The following guide can help.
#1: Loss of driving privileges
In many states you lose your driving privileges automatically unless you appeal to keep them instated until your trial. The administrative suspension is enacted by your Department of Motor Vehicles, and the length of the suspension may be dependent on your blood alcohol level or the type of DUI issued. They are able to do this because driving is a privilege that can be revoked by the state at any time. After your hearing you may also have a legal suspension placed as part of your punishment. In most cases the two suspensions are allowed to overlap, so you will not be dealing with consecutive suspensions.
#2: Mandatory jail time
This also varies by state, with many states requiring mandatory time in jail even for a first time offender. First time offender sentences are short, usually only a few days, and often time served from the initial arrest is accepted. The sentence grows and you spend more time in jail the more offenses you have, though.
#3: Hefty fines
A DUI isn't cheap. Beyond your legal fees, you will also have to pay high fines and fees to the court. Fines are usually set by the offense number, so first time offenders pay less. You may also have additional fines levied, such as speeding, reckless driving, or other moving violations. On top of this is court fees and fees for any required alcohol or substance abuse treatment. If you are required to use an ignition interlock device – basically a breathalyzer for your car – you will also have to pay a fee to have it installed.
#4: Hidden repercussions
There are also many repercussions that you may not think of right away. For example, you may find it difficult to obtain insurance or your insurance rates will rise exponentially. You can lose your employment, especially if your job requires you to have a driver's license. Criminal charges can also make it difficult to pass background checks for new jobs or even when looking to rent housing.
If you find yourself with a DUI, contact an attorney in your area for immediate help.