DUI Consequences: How Bad is it to Get Caught Drinking and Driving?


by Contributor

(Jun. 10, 2019) — We all know it’s wrong to drink and drive, but mistakes happen. So how bad is it to get caught? Learn more about DUI consequences here.

How many times have you had a few drinks with friends before heading home? If you have to think about this answer, the answer is already ‘too many.’

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for adults over the age of 21 is 0.08% and can be lower if you hold a commercial driver’s license or are a minor. Depending on your weight, gender, and how generous the bartender feels that night, you may reach 0.08% BAC with just one drink.

We’re going to discuss DUI consequences for your first charge and what you can expect. Keep reading for more information!

More Than a Night in Jail

When you find yourself sitting in jail after receiving a DUI, you may be under the assumption it’s a simple charge and that you’ll bond out. While it is true that you can bond out, this is far from the last step.

While in jail, your photo will be taken for your mugshot. Most police departments publish these pictures and a list of your charges online for all the world to see. This means that your family, friends, employers, and peers can see your charges and drunken photo.

You must also remember that once a photo is published online, there is no real way to remove it forever. In turn, future employers may also see your face when attempting to find information on you–regardless of how quickly the case is handled.

Fines, Fees, and Other Costs

When a judge orders a license suspension, you lose the privilege to drive for a period of time. You must either apply for a hardship license which often requires an ignition interlock device or opt for rideshare programs or public transit.

Should you choose to apply for the hardship license, you have permission to drive to work, school, religious activities, and medical appointments. You may also have permission to drive to court-related activities.

The hardship license will cost money as will the ignition interlock device. Your insurance will also increase when they notice your DUI.

Aside from transportation, you will also have to account for court costs and fines. These vary widely depending on your state of residence but are typically no less than $500-1000.

In order to see the lightest sentence, it is advisable to hire a DUI lawyer. An attorney with proper experience won’t come cheap but may help reduce jail time, the number of community service hours, or even negotiate an entirely separate plea.

Time is Money

A DUI wouldn’t be complete without extracurricular activities. These often include court-mandated support groups, community service hours, a few days in jail, random alcohol or drug screens, as well as educational and driving classes.

You will miss work, family time, and other important events. It is also possible that your employer will not excuse all of these absences and will reprimand accordingly.

DUI Consequences: Long-Lasting & Severe

With a first-offense DUI, you can expect to jump through the courts’ hoops, spend plenty of money, and potentially ruin personal and professional relationships.

Unfortunately, DUI consequences are not short-lived. Often the process takes one year or more to complete. Potential employers may not wish to hire someone who is known as a drunk driver and many jobs become off-limits.

Even if you still believe that a DUI is ‘no big deal,’ remember that the next time, you may not be so lucky. You may kill or seriously injure yourself, your passenger, or an innocent bystander. It is far easier to call a cab or skip the alcohol altogether.

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