The holiday season is upon us, and we are likely starting to get invitations for various gatherings. We may stop in briefly or sit back and enjoy a large part of the day with loved ones. In either situation, when it comes time to leave, we could find ourselves looking in the rearview mirror and seeing flashing red and blue lights. If we had a few holiday cocktails at the gathering, we may find ourselves understandably concerned about allegations of drunk driving.
Anyone in this situation will have a lot of questions, especially if that traffic stop results in charges for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). One of the most common questions involves penalties. Although the details vary depending on the circumstances, the most common consequences of a DUI often include the following.
#1: Criminal penalties
Even a first offense can come with serious criminal penalties. These can include a $300 fine and 6 months of probation as well as required alcohol highway safety school.
It is important to note that various factors can increase the penalties. In addition to a previous conviction, the state may also seek additional penalties if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the alleged offense, if the driver had a blood alcohol content over 0.10%, or if the driver was involved in a car accident while allegedly drinking and driving.
#2: Social stigma
The presence of a criminal record can make it difficult to get a job and housing. It can also make it more difficult to get scholarships and can serve as a major hurdle to future opportunities.
#3: Suspension or revocation of professional license
There are certain professions that require special licensure. Medical doctors and nurses, dentists and acupuncturists, those who require a commercial driver’s license. The presence of a DUI can lead to the suspension or revocation of a professional license.
As you can see with this brief discussion, the penalties extend far beyond a fine and loss of a driver’s license. Even a first conviction for a DUI can make it difficult to reach your future goals. This is why it is important to take the allegations seriously. Do not accept a plea deal and hope it will all just go away. Fight for the best possible resolution. Defenses are available and vary depending on the details of the situation. An attorney experienced in this niche area of criminal defense can review your case and discuss your options.