DUI charges can come with various consequences. They won't always land you in jail, and they won't always cause you to lose your license. Typically, it depends on your jurisdiction and the number of DUI charges you've collected. Here's what can happen after you receive a DUI conviction.
The Slap on the Wrist
In many jurisdictions, the first time you receive a DUI, you'll face fines. It's also possible you can receive a temporary suspension of your license. First-time offenders tend to face no more than that. Some places may dole out things like a rehabilitation program or community service as well.
The Degree of Drunkenness
Sometimes, even if it's a first offense, penalties can become harsher if your BAC level is far above the legal limit. This can lead to mandatory time in jail, harsher fines, or an ignition lock on your car.
If You Cause an Accident on Your First Charge
If you're involved in an accident, the penalties can start to become even more severe. Even if it's your first DUI, it can factor into increasing any other charges brought on by the accident itself. If you injure someone in the accident, it can become a felony charge, rather than a misdemeanor. In such cases, you will almost certainly have to go to jail until your court hearing.
What Can Land You in Your County Jail
In many cases, the court can send you to jail for a DUI charge on the first offense. It's often up to the judge's discretion. It's rare on first offenses, except in jurisdictions where it's mandatory for a day or two.
The more DUI charges you accumulate, the greater your chances of going to jail. That's on top of any other penalties that stem from a DUI conviction.
What Can Send You Straight to State Prison
It varies from place to place, but you may have to face going to prison once you've amassed more than a couple of DUI charges. Misdemeanor DUI charges can become felony charges if you receive too many. Also, as mentioned, accidents and injuries can automatically turn a DUI into a felony.
Other Consequences of a DUI Charge
Even a first-time misdemeanor DUI charge can cause you many problems in your life. You can lose your job, the ability to drive, and face fines you can't readily afford. The mildest of these charges can lead to life-changing consequences.
It's important you avoid driving under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. If you do receive a DUI charge for any reason, it's just as important you fight it. A DUI attorney will give you your best chance to have the penalties dropped or reduced.