There is no good level of DUI. Even a first offense is costly and carries high penalties that follow you for years. However, with every infraction, the costs rise, and the penalties become harsher according to our DUI attorneys.

When Is a DUI a Misdemeanor?

When a DUI charge is a first or second offense, it is a misdemeanor. The exception is when there is a personal injury or property damage.

Even a first-degree DUI is often a life changing event, which is why you will need a DUI lawyer. The penalties are substantial. They include some (or all) of the following:

  • Jail – Up to six months in county jail for a blood alcohol level of below the .15. If the blood alcohol level is .15 or higher the sentence is increased to nine months
  • Fines – For a blood alcohol level below .15 the fine is $500 and if the blood alcohol level is over that limit, the fine is $1,000.
  • Probation – In addition to any jail time and fines, you will be sentenced to 12 months of probation. This is non-negotiable. You will be required to monthly check in’s and there is a monthly fee that you will pay the probation department.
  • Community Service – You will have to perform at least 50 hours of community service.
  • DUI School and Treatment – This will include drug testing.
  • Impound – Your car will be impounded for at least 10 days. If you do not have a car at the time of the conviction, but you get one later during the penalty phase, the probation officer will impound that vehicle for at least 10 days.
  • Ignition Interlock Device – If your blood alcohol level is over .15, you will have to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car for at least six months.
  • License Suspension – Your license will be suspended for six months for a blood alcohol level of .15 or under. If the blood alcohol level is over that, your license will be suspended for one year.

When is a DUI a Felony?

If a person is convicted of 3 consecutive DUI’s in a period of 10 years, it is a felony. If a person is convicted of a 4th DUI, regardless of the time of the other convictions it is a felony.

If a personal injury or death of another person occurs due to a DUI, it is a third felony charge. This must include permanent disfigurement or the risk of death or the impairment of a body organ.

If the driver had a blood alcohol level of .15 or if there were children in the car, this is considered aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUI is a felony.

This can result in 5-years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.00.

As stated, there is no good DUI charge. Even a first offense has long term repercussions. Besides that, a DUI will remain on your record, and it can result in employers not hiring you. It can affect you in many ways for years to come.

If you are charged with a DUI, you need a DUI attorney.