What Can a DUI Do to You?

May 17, 2021

What Can a DUI Do to You?

A DUI happens when you are found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or some mind alternating drug. It’s something that happens when your mind is impaired and you make the poor decision to get behind a wheel. It’s a mistake that happens, and it can follow you for the rest of your life.

What can a DUI charge do to your life? There are ways it can affect your life in the short term and long term that you should be aware of, especially if you’ve been convicted. Being convicted of driving under the influence is no simple matter.

#1. Your Driver’s License is Suspended

If you’re found guilty or plead guilty to driving under the influence, your license will be immediately suspended. In Pennsylvania, there is no separate administrative hearing about whether you lost your license. You’d have to contest the suspension after it’s happened.

If you have a job that necessitates you being able to drive, this is debilitating. You’d need to apply for an occupational limited license which can still be denied. When you go into court, you need a lawyer by your side to protect your rights.

#2. Damage to Your Professional Reputation

Your place of employment will learn of your charge when you have difficulty coming into work, and miss days to go to court. It’s not uncommon to see yourself relieved of your position or placed on unpaid leave.

In future job searches, you are also legally required to inform any potential employer about this conviction if asked. You have little to no protection against potential employers passing you over for employment after learning of this conviction. You need a lawyer to protect your future employment.

#3. Jail Time

A DUI conviction can leave you facing anywhere from no jail time to as many as five years in prison. Your BAC at the time of your charge will affect your jail time, and whether you’ve had prior DUI convictions.

No prior DUI convictions:

  • BAC between 0.08% and 0.1% is up to six months probation.
  • BAC above 0.1% is up to six months in prison.

One prior DUI conviction:

  • BAC between 0.08% and 0.16% is up to six months in prison.
  • BAC above 0.16% is up to five years in prison.

Two prior DUI convictions:

  • BAC between 0.08% and 0.1% is up to two years in prison.
  • BAC above 0.1% is up to five years in prison.

If you have caused any damage to another person, their property, or came close to either, your chances of jail time will have increased.

#4. Hefty Fine

Fines are primarily monetary, and on paper may not seem as drastic of a punishment compared to jail or a year-long suspension on your driver’s license, but being unable to pay them can mean jail time. Like with jail time, the BAC and the number of prior convictions affect your fine.

No prior DUI convictions:

  • BAC between 0.08% and 0.1% is a maximum fine of $300.
  • BAC above 0.1% is a maximum fine of $5000.

One prior DUI convictions:

  • BAC between 0.08% and 0.1% is a maximum fine of $2500.
  • BAC between 0.1% and 0.16% is a maximum fine of $5000.
  • BAC over 0.16% is a maximum fine over $10,000.

Two prior DUI convictions:

  • BAC between 0.08% and 0.1% is a maximum fine of $5000.
  • BAC over 0.1% is a maximum fine of $10,000.

It’s like the old saying, can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. The same goes for paying the fine. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer would be more affordable.

#5. An Interlock Device Placed on Your Vehicle

Even if you manage to keep your license, stay out of jail, and survive your fine, you may still find your rights restricted. The ignition interlock device (IID) is similar to a breathalyzer. You need to blow into it to let you drive. If you have at least one prior DUI conviction, it doesn’t matter the BAC, you will have an interlocking device on your car for 1-year.

#6. Automobile Insurance Will be Affected

To even be allowed behind a wheel, you need to have some level of automobile insurance. After a DUI conviction, even if your license hasn’t been suspended, you may see your insurance company drop you.

You’ll then find in the future that it’s hard to get your insurance replaced. It should become even harder to find automobile insurance at an affordable rate. A DUI conviction can follow you forever this way even if you get past any and all legal punishments of a conviction.

The Solution

After, of course, not driving drunk, the next best thing to do would be to get a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano has experienced lawyers to help protect your rights from this one mistake you may have made.

If you have been charged with a DUI, even if you’re underage or out of state, contact us before it’s too late. We will vigorously defend your rights to lessen your punishments.

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