Consequences and Penalties of Driving While Intoxicated
The sentencing guidelines and punishments for driving while intoxicated convictions vary from state to state. The majority of jurisdictions give some wiggle room for a first offence and permit it to be punished as a misdemeanor, but they treat drunk driving seriously and inflict severe penalties for repeated offences and when aggravating circumstances are present. However, there are certain states where a first offence is only a civil infraction and not even a misdemeanor. States also differ in terms of the amount of latitude given to judges in determining what penalties to impose. While some states mandate minimum sentences, others allow the severity of the penalties to vary based on the specifics of the offence.
Prison or Jail Time
If you are found guilty of a DWI, you may be subject to jail time, fines, a mandated alcohol assessment and treatment program, community service, and probation. A first offence DWI is typically considered as a misdemeanor, so you won’t risk a lengthy prison sentence. The maximum sentence you might receive in the majority of first offence DWI cases is six months in jail, even though certain jurisdictions have minimum jail terms (one or two days). However, many states demand longer jail or prison time when there are aggravating elements, such as an extremely high blood alcohol content or an accident when the DWI results in serious bodily injury. Additionally, heavier sentences are typically imposed for repeated DWI offences. Furthermore, you risk receiving a lengthy jail term if your felony DWI resulted in someone else’s death or serious injury.
Fines and Costs
A DWI could also turn out to be costly. Even for a first offence, fines and expenses can run from $500 to $2,000 or more depending on the state. You can be required to pay for and install an ignition interlock device (IID). A driver using an ignition interlock device must blow into a device mounted on the dashboard of the vehicle; if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is above a certain level, the vehicle will not start.
Revocation or Suspension of a Licence
If you are found guilty of DWI, your licence will probably suffer as a result. Your licence may be suspended in all states as part of the sentence, either by the state’s department of motor vehicles or by a judge’s order. The length of the suspension is governed by the laws of each state. For a first offence, a typical suspension length is 90 days. However, in many states, you can apply for a limited licence that might let you drive to work, school or rehab during the suspension time, frequently with an IID attached. The period of suspension you will be subject to for subsequent convictions is often lengthier if you have more than one DWI conviction on your record. Drivers who are found guilty of DWI may have their licenses suspended in various jurisdictions. In many places, whether or not you are found guilty, your licence may be suspended if you refuse to submit to a chemical test.
Education and Treatment
Alcohol misuse treatment or education programs are frequently included of a sentencing for a DWI conviction. This kind of program could help you get help for alcohol misuse or could test you for alcoholism. Sometimes, coupled with probation and licence suspension, this is the primary punishment for a first offence, although it may also include other demands like community service and victim compensation.
Consequences of Insurance
Insurance repercussions could result from a DWI conviction as well. Any excellent or safe driver discounts that were previously applied to your account may be removed by your auto insurance provider, and you may be viewed as a high-risk driver and required to pay higher rates. You could need to find an insurer that specializes in offering high-risk insurance, which is highly expensive, if the insurer cancels the insurance policy, which happens occasionally. In some areas, an intoxicated driver’s vehicle may even be seized.
When specific conditions, such as an extraordinarily high blood alcohol concentration, are present, there are usually increased penalties. A first-time offender with a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or above faces a 90-day licence suspension and a 2-year ignition interlock device installation requirement.
You cannot entirely expunge a DWI conviction in addition to the previously mentioned criminal punishments. Because a conviction could leave a permanent mark on your criminal record, that’s why DWI attorneys at Saputo Law fight aggressively to avert it.
Read more: Use these Guidelines to Make Sure your Legal Rights are Protected after a Car Accident