I’m Convicted of a DUI! Now What?

If you have recently been convicted of a DUI, you are not alone. According to https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html, more than 1 million Americans are charged with DUI offenses every single year.

This makes DUIs among the most common type of criminal charges in the United States. If you are convicted of a DUI, it is important to be prepared and to know what is coming.

Your formal charge is only the first part of what could be a long, multi-year journey in which you will need to prove to society that you can be trusted to drive safely once more. Read this two-minute explainer to learn exactly what to expect for a conviction of a DUI.

1. Licensing

As a general rule, those convicted of a DUI tend to lose their license, at least for a short period. This is especially true if this is not your first conviction of DUI offenses. However, depending on your state, first offenders may be able to use their license normally after receiving a DUI.

For example, as explained in https://peterlouielaw.com/2020/05/24/virginia-dui-any-purpose-restricted-license-option/, Virginia DUI recipients can apply to use their license in “almost all” circumstances. However, this must be your first DUI conviction. Always check with your lawyer to see what your options are.

2. Fines

You might serve jail time for your DUI, but this is very unlikely if it was your first such offense and nobody was hurt as a result of your dangerous driving. However, it is likely that the judge will hit you with a fine.

According to https://www.finder.com/cost-of-drunk-driving, the average DUI fine in America is $4,100 per offense. You can, however, seek structured payments if you are unable to pay this upfront.

3. Probation

No matter what, anyone convicted of a DUI crime will be subject to a probation period. This could be six months, one year, or longer. During your probation, you will be obliged to check in with a law enforcement officer or caseworker.

You will also need to submit to substance abuse counseling, which we will explain in greater detail below. Failure to meet your probation terms can result in an instant prison sentence.

4. Ignition Interlock Device

For many DUI recipients in America, the judge will mandate that you install an ignition interlock device in your car. This is essentially a breathalyzer, which will measure your blood alcohol level every time you get behind the wheel and report it to your local law enforcement. The device is installed at your expense and will usually be in your car for six to twelve months.

5. Alcohol Evaluation

Finally, you will likely need to undergo an alcohol evaluation. This may consist of a mandatory substance abuse education course, with counseling thrown in. It will involve regular meetings with a caseworker to make sure you are on the right track and that you are not engaging in reckless behavior.

This might seem like a pain, but it is for your benefit. Use your evaluation as an opportunity to reassess your relationship with alcohol so that you can live a better, safer life.

Learn More About What Being Convicted of a DUI Means for You

If you have been convicted of a DUI, you might be feeling scared right now. However, with the right know-how, you can face what is coming and use it as an opportunity to become a better person. Read our dedicated Criminal Law guides to learn more about what your DUI conviction means for you now and in the future.

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