When you are a licensed driver, it is very important to be aware of all of the driving and safety laws that you must follow when behind the wheel. However, while many people know that driving under the influence of alcohol is a bad idea in theory, they do not know much about the actual laws regarding being charged with a DUI nor do they fully understand the legal consequences. In case you are ever charged with a DUI, get to know more about these types of charges and how you can and should handle the situation so that you can best protect yourself.
Even Your First DUI Is A Serious Charge
Many people are under the misconception that the first DUI infraction they are charged with is not really a big deal. They get this idea because nearly every state has a set of rules for DUIs that punish each subsequent offense more severely than the last.
Just because the consequences for your first DUI offense are less severe and extreme than for the second, third, or any other DUI you may get, it does not mean it is not a serious charge. While a misdemeanor, even the first DUI is punishable with jail time, particularly if there are addition charges that coincide with that DUI like assault, speeding, or reckless endangerment among others.
Not All DUIs Are Misdemeanors
Another common misconception about DUIs is that they are all misdemeanor crimes. However, as the number of DUIs increase, the law finds the continued bad behavior to be a sign of a chronic problem and a chronic disregard for the law.
For this reason, 46 states in the nation have felony DUI charges for repeat offenders. The majority of these states change the charges from a misdemeanor to a felony on the fourth offense. Some do so earlier, even on the second offense in some states. Felony charges carry much longer jail times and may prevent you from being able to get a job, apartment, or other needed things in the future because you need to report felony convictions.
Now that you know more about DUIs and how they can affect you, you know that the consequences of such charges can be severe and that every DUI is a serious offense. If you ever do find yourself facing such charges, be sure that you get a criminal defense attorney or DUI attorney as soon as possible to help protect yourself and to get the charges dropped or a favorable plea deal.