The consequences of a DWI/DUI reach further than most people know. These types of charges can literally ruin someone's life. They're not the kind of charges that fade away after their court ordered consequences have ended.
First Time Offense Penalties
The penalties for a DWI vary by state, but in general, here's what you can face for a first time offense.
Fines – First offenses often come with a fine.
License Suspension/Revocation – This can last anywhere from a month to a year. In some cases, if you refuse to take a chemical test, you automatically face a license suspension no matter what your BAC level is. You may also have to pay a fine after the suspension period to reinstate your license.
Jail time – First offenses don't always come with jail time. If you do receive jail time, it can be as little as a few days or as much as about six months. That's because a first offense is typically a misdemeanor.
Although, if you injure someone or if your BAC is at an exceptionally high level, the charge can become a felony charge. Felony DWIs come with,
- More penalties and more jail time
- More social, occupational, and personal repercussions
- Possibly a civil suit if you caused property damage
Confiscation – Most states won't confiscate your vehicle on a first offense, but there are several that do. Once again, you may have to pay a fine to retrieve your vehicle. Since you have a suspended license, retrieval can become an expensive hassle if you have no one that can help you pick it up.
Other consequences – There are many other consequences that can occur as well. You may have to go to a facility such as a treatment, education, or assessment center. The court may require you to use an IID for a length of time. There's also the possibility of community service.
The Hidden Consequences of a DWI Charge
There are also hidden consequences. These things happen outside of the court and can affect your life in unforeseen ways.
- Your insurance carrier may drop you
- New insurance carriers will be hesitant to pick you up
- Your insurance rates may skyrocket
- You may need SR22 Insurance
- You can lose your job
- Some jobs won't hire you if you have a DWI on record
- No travel to work or other places without help or money
Even your daily life can suffer. If you go to jail, who will pay the bills or take care of things at home? While you're under a suspension, how will you get to the places you need to get to?
Keep in mind that this can all occur from a single, first-time charge. That one charge, if you don't fight