Driving under the influence has been illegal in the US since the early 1900s but the penalties weren’t always as severe as they are today. Today if you are pulled over and your breath test shows your BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration of more than 0.08 percent then you are going to be arrested. Even if you have never been in trouble before you can still face jail time, the law takes DUI charges very seriously. Let’s look at what happens when you are charged with a DUI and the possible penalties that you can face.
The Penalties of a DUI Conviction
Penalties can vary from state to state and the DUI can be treated as either a felony or misdemeanor. Typically the first time you are charged it will be a misdemeanor but if you have previous convictions then you are looking at a felony charge. If you have been in an accident and there is property damage or you have hurt someone it will also be upgraded to a felony charge.
With a DUI arrest suspension of your license it going to be automatic, the duration will be determined on whether you are convicted or not. You can also face fines, be forced to do community service and you can even face up to 6 months in jail on your first conviction. The more convictions you have for DUI the stiffer the penalties are going to be.
The Impact on Your Life
A DUI charge is more than just a minor inconvenience, if you are convicted there can be lifelong repercussions. First of all you are going to have a criminal record, that can prevent you from getting your dream job or even renting an apartment. If your job requires driving then having your license suspended can mean losing your job. Not to mention the financial cost of hiring an attorney and the amount you will have to pay in fines.
Getting Back on Track
While getting a DUI is a serious problem it doesn’t have to ruin the rest of your life. There are programs available to put your life back together provided you have demonstrated that you have learned your lesson and complied with the court’s judgement. Most states, including California allow for the expungement of your DUI record. That means in the future your conviction will be removed from public record and future employers will not have to know you have had a criminal conviction. At the end of the day it is far better to just not drink and drive.