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Penalties associated with being charged with drunk driving

If you happen to decide to drive when drunk and get caught for it, then there is a high probability that you will not just spend a night or more in jail, but that you driver's license will be automatically suspended and you'll have to pay hefty fines. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car, take a drunk driving class, or complete some type of community service.

When it comes to driving restrictions, the installation of an ignition interlock device is something with which many drivers are familiar. It is a measurement tool that requires a vehicle operator to blow into the device so that it can analyze their blood alcohol content (BAC) prior to starting their car. Once installed, a vehicle will only start up in cases in which the driver's BAC registers at below the legal limit.

For DUI offenders who have had their driver's license suspended as a result of having been convicted of a DUI, they will generally will be sentenced to complete either DUI School or be required to participate in an alcohol treatment program. Depending on the defendant's case, this requirement can be met by the defendant either attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or by receiving in-patient treatment.

When it comes to habitual offenders, in many states, three DUI convictions can result in much harsher penalties for the defendant. These include his or her license being revoked for up to several years, facing increased jail time, heftier fines, having their vehicle confiscated, or the individual losing one's civil rights like voting or owning a gun.

Even in cases in which an individual is charged with a first DUI, certain states may impose more severe penalties for a very high BAC, for example, in excess of .20 percent. A judge might also more strongly penalize a suspected drunk driver who fails to complete a breathalyzer test.

Speeding or otherwise driving recklessly, with a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle, or becoming involved in an accident in which the passenger is injured or killed, are also considered aggravated circumstances. Such cases call for sentencing enhancements.

If you or someone you know has charged with a DUI, you will need to know your legal rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Drunk Driving Sentencing," accessed March 03, 2017

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