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Car tips & advice | 14.03.2014 - 20:30

Don't Drink and Drive: The Legal Consequences of Driving Under the Influence

Think before you drink. There are many consequences of driving under the influence.

The penalties for driving under the influence vary from state to state, but generally speaking, the penalties are becoming more severe. Some of the penalties that people typically get sentenced with for drunk driving charges include serving jail time, loss of employment, mandatory alcohol education courses, community service, increased insurance premiums, probation and substantial fines.


First-time offenders and Minors
People who get caught driving under the influence for the first time may have their license suspended. First time offenders may also be subject to fines and possible jail time. The severity of the penalties typically depend on the circumstances surrounding the resulting damage and events leading up to the accident.


Minors caught driving while intoxicated are usually reprimanded according to the zero tolerance policy in the respective state. Minors convicted of DWI or DUI offenses are often sentenced to community service, probation or punitive fines.


Criminal Fines
The criminal fines for a first-time offender usually range from $500 to $1000. Habitual offenders could be ordered to pay fines as high as $15,000 for each intoxicated driving offense. Drunk driving offenders may also be responsible for paying any of the related costs incurred by the court delivering the verdict. You'll want to find an experienced DWI lawyer before getting too deep into the legal process.


Civil Penalties
Aside from the criminal penalties, people convicted of driving under the influence may be subject to legal restitution if there was an accident victim injured by the offense. Civil court may impose enough restitution to atone for property damage, bodily harm or any related expenses such as medical expenses, loss of income or pain and suffering.


Jail time
Several states required mandatory jail time for anyone convicted of a drunk driving offense. The state legislature typically dictates the minimum and maximum penalties applicable for the offense on trial. Some of the factors that indicate the length of jail time include previous offenses, property or bodily damage resulting from the offense and the level of blood alcohol content collected by the arresting officers.


People normally receive a probation sentence when they have been convicted of an aggravated drunk driving offense. Misdemeanor charges usually do not warrant probation. The fines for an aggravated intoxicated driving offense may be up to $4500. Probation may last up to four years while the defendant pays off the fines ordered by the court.


The legal consequences for driving while intoxicated are typically contingent on any ensuing damage that arises from the offense, state laws and prior offenses. Local legal counsel is typically the first call people make when they have been arrested for drunk driving.

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