Written by Avvo Staff

What are the possible outcomes for a DUI case?

A DUI charge has both short term and long term consequences. Many states now impose strict penalties for first time offenders, including a suspension of your driver's license and required substance abuse education.

What factors influence the outcome of a DUI?

  • Your history of DUI offenses— If this is your first DUI, you might not receive as harsh penalties as someone with multiple DUI’s

  • If you were driving with passengers, and if any of them were children

  • If you were driving a commercial vehicle or heavy equipment

  • If your DUI offense occurred with another violation, like reckless driving

  • If you caused a car accident, and if your accident injured or killed another person

  • If you were of legal drinking age

What are the possible outcomes for a DUI charge?

If you have injured someone or have additional offenses surrounding your DUI, you may be convicted of a felony and serve time in jail. However, if this is your first offense, and you have no other charges surrounding your DUI, your penalties will not be as harsh. A lawyer may even be able to get your case dismissed if there are any holes in the defense's case.

Keep in mind that your driving record is separate from your criminal record. For example, if you refuse to blow into the breathalyzer, you could be found not guilty of a DUI in a court of law, but still lose your license through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Can a DUI be removed from my record?

When a DUI record is expunged, it means that your DUI has been removed from your criminal record. Some states allow you to expunge your DUI, but only if you meet that state's requirements.

What are the short term consequences of my DUI?

  • Temporary driver's license suspension

  • Fees and fines from your attorney, the court, the department of motor vehicles, and your insurance

  • Increased insurance premiums and loss of certain types of coverage

  • Substance abuse education lasting as long as 12 weeks

  • Jail time

  • Vehicle impoundment

  • Community service

  • Ignition lock that prevents you from driving if you've been drinking

What are the long term consequences of my DUI?

Having a DUI charge or conviction on your record can have multiple implications:

  • Auto insurance – Vehicle insurance companies often raise rates or terminate coverage to “high risk” drivers.

  • Background checks – Criminal background checks are common, and can prevent you from being considered for a job or apartment.

  • Driver's license revocation – In some states, your license can be suspended for two years or revoked completely.

  • Employment – If your job requires you to drive, a DUI charge can be cause for your employer to terminate your position.

  • Education – You may be rejected by certain schools or programs, or disqualified from receiving specific scholarships.

If you've been charged with a felony DUI, you could lose your right to personal liberties While most DUI's are misdemeanors, a felony DUI conviction means you'll lose certain personal liberties, will be ineligible for government assistance, and face deportation if you're not a citizen.

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