First Offense DUI
Drunk driving penalties can result in life-changing consequences. Not only do you have to pay penalties for your drunk driving offense but you may even go to jail. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you must have had a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level that is over 0.08%. However, the penalties differ based on your BAC level. The first tier is a BAC level between 0.08% and 0.10%, the middle tier is a BAC between 0.10% and .159%, and the highest tier is a BAC that is over 0.160%. If you decide not to submit to a chemical test, you can get charged with the highest level of DUI offenses.
This can happen even if you have a lower impairment than a driver with a BAC that is over 0.13%. After being charged with a DUI, you should reach out to knowledgeable DUI attorneys who can help protect you by defending your rights. To find out how you can possibly reduce some of your charges, talk to Giribaldi and Manaras for a free consultation. Here are the types of penalties you may experience after you’ve been charged with a first-offense DUI:
Mandatory Minimum Sentence
Every first offense DUI receives a minimum sentence that is the general standard for each defendant. This includes the following:
You will likely have to spend 72 hours in jail followed by six months of parole. This amount of time only applies to situations where you didn’t get into an accident or cause any bodily injury. Otherwise, the time could increase based on your charges. You could experience up to six months of jail depending on the circumstances. A DUI accident that results in injuries can result in jail time up to 10 years if there was any serious bodily injury or if someone died because of the DUI offense.
Driver’s License Suspension
Your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of time that is based on your BAC level. If you had less than a .10% BAC, then your license won’t be suspended at all. A BAC below .10% is referred to as “incapable of safe driving”. Because it’s your first offense, you may not experience any suspension if you meet certain criteria. When your BAC level is between .10% and .16%, you can experience a 30-day suspension. You can receive a 60-day license suspension if it is 0.16% and above. For out-of-state DUI convictions, your first offense results in no suspension.
First-time offenders will receive a mandatory fine based on their past driving history. However, higher BAC levels can result in fines as high as $5,000 for worse charges. If you had no prior DUI offenses, then you can receive a $300 fine if you didn’t cause injury to anyone.
In addition to jail time, mandatory fines, and potential license suspension, you will also have to attend an alcohol highway safety school. You will likely get an ungraded misdemeanor placed on your record. Additionally, you have to submit to treatment and mandatory drug and alcohol assessments. In some cases, you will have to get a mandatory ignition interlock that limits your ability to drive. You will also have to pay court fees. The long-term consequences include significantly higher insurance premiums. Some insurance companies won’t even provide insurance coverage because of a DUI in someone’s driving history.
Getting The Charges Reduced
Working with a DUI attorney can help prevent you from being harshly penalized, especially if it is your first offense. Here are some ways that you can improve your chances of reducing your charges:
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition
Your attorney will recommend that you attend an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program to reduce any direct and collateral DUI punishments given to you. When you successfully complete this program, you can avoid jail time and also experience a shortened driver’s license suspension if applicable. Once the program is finished, your attorney can file a motion for the dismissal of charges. Your attorney can also file for an expungement of your arrest record. This will greatly benefit you when you are applying for a job because many companies perform criminal background checks.
DUI attorneys can plea bargain on your behalf to reduce the charges. You may receive a charge for reckless driving, which will result in fewer penalties. Typically, you would need to have no criminal record and a very low BAC for this to be applicable.
If the evidence is weak, the charges can be completely dropped. Additionally, if the police obtained evidence in a way that violates the 4th Amendment, your attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence and get it thrown out.
If the police performed an illegal traffic stop or an unlawful blood test, then you may have been illegally arrested. Unreasonable searches and seizures can result in charges being dropped.
What Should I Do After My First Offense DUI?
Fortunately, the penalties for a first offense of driving under the influence can be reduced based on certain factors of your case. Speak to a DUI attorney before you are interrogated by police. For a free consultation, call Giribaldi and Manaras today.