Knowing DUI Penalties and Their Consequences

Driving under influence is a serious offense, and it comes with grave consequences. Every state has its own set of penalties defined for drunken driving cases- your first offense may be struck off as a civil infraction with a warning, ranked as a misdemeanor for a reduced sentence, or treated as a crime and punished as such. Here is the scope of the penalties you are likely to face if convicted and charged with a DUI.

As per, for drivers aged 21 or above it is illegal to drive with a BAC or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or even higher. For drivers aged below 21, the legal limit tends to be much lower. Different states have set different legal limits ranging from 0.00 percent to 0.02.

Imprisonment and Duration

Imprisonment is definitely on the table if someone is convicted of a DUI. In several states, a person’s first DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor and typically not given jail time. This is not the case across the board, however, as some jurisdictions have more stringent rules in place. For a first offense, you are likely looking at anywhere between one or two days to six months in jail. If there are other aggravating factors like an accident caused under the influence that has caused significant bodily harm to the victims or the fact that the driver was found extremely drunk, they could be facing a longer sentence. Subsequent DUI offenses after your first conviction will result in heftier penalties, including significantly longer sentences. If manslaughter charges are proven, your prison sentence could last several years as well. These can be tricky waters to navigate, and you must hire a firm like Burnham Law to help you through the entire process.

Fines and Miscellaneous Expenses

Getting involved in a DUI case can be pretty expensive too. Depending on what state the incident occurred in, you could be facing $500 to upwards of $2000 in just fines. You may also be mandated to install an IID (ignition interlock device) at your own expense, which does not allow you to start the car if your blood alcohol is over a pre-specified level. Add to that the costs of representation and other miscellaneous expenses, and you can understand why it is such a tricky affair.

Suspension or Revocation of Driving License

One of the common consequences of being involved in a DUI is that your driving license might be penalized. The Department of Motor Vehicles is likely to suspend your license for a period that is dictated by state laws. This period may be enforced or extended by court order as well. If you are a first-time offender, the suspension is likely to be around 90 days. Some states allow you to apply for a temporary restricted license so that you can still drive to school, your workplace, or rehab while suspended. The suspension term is worse for each subsequent conviction, and some jurisdictions may go so far as to suspend your license if found guilty, or even if you object to taking a chemical test before actually being convicted.


Even though we understand that DUI charges are quite common in any jurisdiction, the fact remains that these crimes could be quite complex and may involve questions about the procedure, legal precedent, and evidence. Since every state has its own set of DUI regulations and rules, it is a wise idea to hire the services of a local criminal defense lawyer.