Why You Should Consider Your First-Time DUI A Serious Offense
Most drivers know that a first-time DUI (driving under the influence) is usually a misdemeanor. This is mostly true, but this doesn't mean that you shouldn't be worried about a first-time DUI. Here are some of the consequences of a first-time DUI that should worry you:
It May Attract Felony Charges
In most cases, a first-time DUI offense will be treated as a misdemeanor, and this is what most drivers are used to. However, there are circumstances that can elevate your first time DUI from a misdemeanor to a felony. For example, you may be charged with a felony DUI if you caused an accident that ended in another person's bodily harm, if your BAC (blood alcohol content) was seriously elevated, or you had minors in the car at the time of your arrest. A felony DUI is a serious offense with aggravated penalties as well as long-term consequences; for example, it may bar your admission to some professional careers or even make it difficult for you to get educational scholarships and grants.
It May Result In a Lengthy Probation
Probation is a common penalty for convicted first time DUI offenders. Many people don't think probation is such a big deal, particularly as compared to other penalties such as monetary fines and prison time. However, probation is not a walk in the park either, especially if the probation period is lengthy and has multiple conditions. For example, you may be sentenced to a five year probation period where you are required to avoid any criminal charge and not just DUI offenses.
It Remains On Your Record for a Long Time
Another problem with a first time DUI conviction is that it will last on your criminal record for a long time. The specific duration depends on your state laws; it can be five, ten or any number of years. As long as a DUI conviction is on your record, it can bar you from jobs that require no DUI convictions and it will affect any subsequent DUI offenses you might make.
It Attracts Administrative Penalties
Lastly, you should also know that even a first time DUI attracts both criminal penalties and administrative penalties. Administrative penalties include things like license suspension, installation of ignition interlock device, and alcohol treatment programs, among others.
As you can see, you need to defend your first-time DUI just as vigorously as any other DUI. Consult a DUI lawyer to help you fight your case to avoid a conviction. Visit a website like http://www.chichesterlaw.com to learn more.