Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is known as a DUI. The consequences of getting behind the wheel of a car when you are impaired are harsh and long lasting. Even a first offense DUI will cost you much more than you think in fines and penalties, classes, treatment, and time.

It is important to seek the assistance of an experienced and qualified DUI attorney if you are accused of this crime. An attorney will fight for you if you were wrongly accused. They will fight the system if your rights were in any way tainted. If someone was hurt or killed in the accident, a DUI attorney is the single most important person in your life at that moment.

Will My License Be Suspended?

It is important to note that a DUI conviction will result in a suspension of your driver’s license. In a first offense, the suspension is from 6-months to 18-months. You only have 10-days from the date of your arrest to apply for a hardship license and a job permit. If you miss that deadline, you will not be allowed to drive to and from work and will have to make other arrangements. In some cases, this could cost you your job.

Your Record

Your record follows you forever. This is something that is looked at if you ever find yourself in trouble with the law or being considered as a suspect. Many employers check your record before they will consider you for a position. No matter how qualified you are, a DUI you were convicted of 10 years ago, could keep you from being hired.

In the state of Florida, a DUI conviction stays on your record forever (75 years). Even if you decide to plea out, the law says you must be adjudicated guilty. You may have heard of a program called a DUI diversion program which (if offered), will allow the State Attorney to dismiss the charges upon successful completion of the program and the mandatory probation period. This would allow you to request an expungement in the future. It is not automatic, and you would have to request it from the courts. This program is only offered in two jurisdictions in the state. The requirements to even be considered are strict. This is not something you can rely on to “clear things up.” You can fully expect the DUI conviction to remain on your record for the rest of your life. It cannot be expunged or sealed after you are convicted.

DUI Exceptions

Now that you see the seriousness of the crime, you can see why it is critical that you do everything in your power to reduce or remove the charges against you. While drinking and driving, is never acceptable, your fourth amendment rights protect you from being randomly selected and illegally accused or processed. There are times when you choose to drive knowing you have had a drink because it is the lesser of two evils. You may be in a situation that demands action. Or, maybe someone gave you drugs without your knowledge. These are legitimate defenses against DUI charges. Contact your DUI attorney for more information.