Important Things You Need To Know About Your First DUI In Houston
You should not take your first DUI conviction or arrest too lightly, even though it is considered to be a misdemeanor in a majority of states. You need to have a clear idea of the consequences of a conviction- in the long term, the nature of the charge, as well as the compulsory penalties and sentence linked to a DUI conviction.
First DUI Offense: Associated Consequences
Simply because it is their first time, most people usually expect to be sentenced to probation when they are slapped with a DUI charge. Depending on your state’s laws, the court might include a stint in county jail as part of your probation, even though most first time offenders are sentenced to some sort of probation. Depending on the state you reside in, even in the case of misdemeanor offenses you may be sentenced to jail. Furthermore, even as a result of a first-time offense, your license is most likely going to be suspended for some time in just about every state.
To ensure that you can still drive your car to school or place of work, you might qualify for a hardship or occupational driver’s license depending on your record. Fees associated with your urinalysis, court costs, probation fees, and a hefty fine might all be included in the courts’ probation condition following a DUI conviction. All in all, you might find yourself paying out a sum equaling a small car payment on a monthly basis. On top of all that you will be directed to complete community service and go for a complete alcohol and drug counseling program.
First DUI Sentence
In addition to being sentenced to probation and having your license suspended, you will be penalized with community service and fines because your first DUI charge is generally viewed as a misdemeanor. You may on the other hand face elevated punishments or sentences in case the level of the charges you are facing is changed by any other relevant factors. Your jail time or fine could be significantly increased, even if you are still being charged with a misdemeanor if you are found to have an open container in your automobile. Even if you have never been found guilty of a DUI charge in the past, your charges may be elevated to a felony from a misdemeanor if there was a minor in the vehicle when you were arrested.
Each DUI comes with an administrative aspect that can be just as costly as the charge, on top of its associated criminal nature. If you decline to take part in a breath test your driving privileges will be suspended in some states even before the court issues its final judgment. The suspension that’s included as part of your sentence is completely separate from this initial suspension.
DUI Driving License Suspension Conditions
You will be required to go in front of a criminal law and administrative law judge, separately, to have your license reinstated after a DUI related suspension. As long as your license is suspended, do not drive. You risk being slapped with additional fines and charges if you are found driving with a suspended license. During the court process, some states will ask you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car at your own cost. You might have to pay as much as 200 dollars, each month, for the device. Your bond might be revoked, forcing you back to jail, if you do not fulfill this directive.
Numerous DUI Convictions: Associated Consequences In The Long Term
Long term consequences are considered to be the most important aspects of your first drunk driving conviction. Your probated sentence can be used against you in future as it will be included in your permanent record, even if instead of receiving a final judgment, you are placed on probation as a result of a deferred or probated sentence. The punishments and fines associated with your first DUI office will be elevated by a second DUI charge.
You might find yourself facing a felony conviction if your DUI charge is elevated to a higher level as a result of having numerous DUI charges on your record, even with the differences in applicable state laws. Whether or not your misdemeanor is elevated to a felony charge, is mainly determined by the state in which you are arrested. Your charge will be elevated to felony level after you receive your 4th DUI charge in the state of New Mexico for instance. You 3rd DUI is however considered to be a felony in the state of Texas. Just because your home state treats a DUI as a misdemeanor does not mean that you should not assume the one you are visiting will do so as well.
Auto Insurance And Employment Related Consequences Of Your First DUI
Your car insurance cover and employment may be affected by your first conviction for drunk driving. Employers who conduct criminal history checks will find out about your DUI conviction since it is included in your permanent record. Since some employers see this as a risk or a potential cause of hike in insurance premium rates, they may be reluctant when it comes to adding you to their staff.
Your car insurance rates are also bound to increase as you are now considered to be a risk. You may even have to cover any costs associated with an accident out of pocket, as insurers do not offer compensation if it is found that you were driving under the influence, and are facing felony charges as a result. Any damages resulting from the commission of a felony, which is drunk driving in this case, are explicitly excluded from most insurance policies.
Get A DUI Lawyer To Help You Out
From the above, it is clear that your employment opportunities, finances, and criminal record all take a hit even if you are only facing your very first DUI charge. Simply because it is your first DUI charge, you should not underestimate it. With so many issues associated with DUI charges, you need to get a qualified DUI lawyer to help you navigate this complicated process.