Each state defines DUI differently, but driving under the influence is illegal in every state. The penalties vary and could include jail time, paying fines, seeking substance abuse education or treatment, and having your license revoked.
Here’s a quick rundown of what happens when you get your first DUI.
You’ll get arrested.
First, you’ll be arrested and booked on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
You’ll be asked to appear in court.
This is when you’ll be asked to plead innocent or guilty. Hiring a DUI attorney before this court appearance is your best bet for reducing the long-term consequences of the DUI charge. Your lawyer will be familiar with the rules, legal standards and available options in your jurisdiction.
You’ll lose your license.
In every state, even first-time DUI offenders have their licenses suspended for a period of time. In Tennessee, the suspension is typically for one year. If your license is suspended, You may be able to apply for a hardship license or restricted license to drive with an ignition interlock device.
Learn more about DUI charges in our blog, What to Do if Charged with a DUI.
You’ll pay fines.
The amount you’ll pay can really add up. The fines depend on your state’s laws, whether anyone or anything was harmed, and the severity of your charges. In addition to the fines, you’ll probably also have to pay court fees.
You could be put on probation or sent to jail.
In some states, like Tennessee, a DUI comes with mandatory jail time. That ranges from 48 hours to just shy of a year. In other states, you could be put on probation and will need to follow the conditions of the probation period.
You’ll participate in an alcohol or drug treatment program.
Often called drunk driving school, these classes teach DUI prevention. The goal is to keep you and others safe by preventing you from driving under the influence in the future. You’ll most likely have to pay a fee to take the classes.
You may get an ignition interlock device.
If convicted of a DUI in Tennessee, you’ll have to install an ignition interlock device at your own expense. The device won’t let your car start until you blow into it with with no alcohol on your breath. You’ll also pay a monthly fee as long as the ignition interlock device is in your car.
The charge will follow you to work.
Because a DUI conviction becomes part of your criminal record, it will appear on future background checks. The DUI may prevent you from getting the job you want.
You’ll pay more for car insurance.
In most cases, a DUI conviction will translate into higher auto insurance premiums.
As you can see, your first DUI comes with hefty costs and long-term consequences. It also sets the tone for future sentences and charges if you’re charged with driving under the influence again. Hiring an experienced DUI lawyer will help you navigate through the entire process and get your life back on track. Your attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed, depending on the details of your case.
Contact a Chattanooga DUI Lawyer
DUI charges can have an impact on your freedom, career, and future. At Speek, Webb, Turner & Newkirk, we understand how important it is to set the tone with your first DUI. Please contact us today if you need help addressing your DUI charge.