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Drunk Driving Penalties

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What are Some Drunk Driving Penalties?

Drunk driving penalties usually involve a slight monetary fine along with possible time in a county jail (up to one year). These are typical penalties for misdemeanor DUI cases. More serious drunk driving or DUI cases that involve serious injury or repeat offenses may result in felony charges, which involve higher fees and longer jail sentences.

Drunk driving penalties may depend on many facts. For instance, penalties may be more severe if:

  • The drunk driving caused serious bodily injury or death to another person
  • The charges are for a repeat offense
  • The person is a minor

Also, drunk driving can result in other penalties, such as losing one’s driving privileges, or having their car impounded (especially for cases where the DUI caused injury to another person).

Can Drunk Driving Penalties be Lessened or Reduced?

Drunk driving penalties can sometimes be lessened or reduced in certain situations. For instance, if it is the person’s first DUI count, the judge will likely issue a lighter sentence. Also, if evidence later shows that a breathalyzer test was faulty or inaccurate, this will affect the way the sentence is calculated in the trial.

For first-time offenders and minors, judges often prescribe DUI diversion in lieu of jail time. This is an alternative sentencing option that requires the defendant to participate in various methods for reform such as participation in alcohol rehabilitation programs, or participation in community service efforts.

What is DUI Expungement?

DUI expungement allows a person to have DUI charges cleared from their personal criminal records. This is usually only available after a certain amount of time has passed from their last DUI conviction (usually at least five years). Subsequent DUI offenses will make it more difficult to obtain DUI expungement. Also, DUIs tried as felonies are more difficult to have expunged than a regular misdemeanor DUI.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Drunk Driving Penalties?

Drunk driving penalties will be different depending on the state or jurisdiction you’re in. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need assistance with drunk driving or any other legal issues. Your attorney can provide you with the legal guidance and advice that is needed during court hearings. Also, your lawyer can help determine whether any defenses may be available for your case.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 08-08-2013 11:43 AM PDT

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