Drink driving or rather, driving under the influence otherwise known as a DUI is an offence of operating a vehicle while drunk or heavily impaired by drugs. Some states might refer to this charge as an OUI or operating under the influence. You will be charged with drunk driving if your blood alcohol content exceeds 0.08%. Drunk driving is a serious offence because you put yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road at risk. Since alcohol and drugs impair your judgment and make it harder for you to control the vehicle, you are more likely to cause an accident. This quick guide will highlight the consequences if you are charged with drunk driving and how it can affect your family.
The first thing that is likely to happen to you after a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence is incarceration. The officer will ask you to step out of your vehicle, place you inside the police car and take you to the nearest police station. They will then take fingerprints and enter them into the system. If you are fortunate, the authorities will allow you to go home after someone pays your bail. A DUI has financial implications because your family might not have the funds to bail you out of jail.
If the police don’t allow you to post bail, you will receive a ticket that indicates when you should appear in court. It is usual for your family members and loved ones to feel anxious and nervous after finding out you have been summoned to court. You might want to fight the case and try to lessen your charges. However, if you try to deny what you did, the police have the right to show the video of you failing a sobriety test in court as proof. It isn’t very comfortable to see yourself acting incoherently on video in front of an entire courtroom.
Loss of your driver’s license
Even though you are a first-time DUI offender, it could cost you heavily. For example, you could lose your driver’s license for a stipulated period. However, some states will provide you with a hardship license that limits your driving privileges till you can get your license back. If your family relied on you to drive them around, they might have to find other means of transport or get another driver before your privileges are restored.
Unfortunately, many states have made jail time mandatory for DUI offenders. If you are the sole breadwinner, your family members might struggle to fend for themselves while you are in jail. Spending time in prison might also affect your mental health because you are isolated from the outside world. Fortunately, if you are a first-time offender, you might serve a one or two-day jail sentence. If you are charged with drunk driving, then it is best to go for a DUI lawyer representation from a lawyer to help get the best possible outcome. A top DUI attorney could help you prevent a conviction that could hurt you and your family.
Part of your sentence for driving under the influence will involve paying a fine. If your family is short on cash, they might struggle to raise money. The judge will increase the fine if you damaged property during your drunken escapade or endangered a child’s life. In addition to the fine, you might have to pay the cost associated with the damage you caused.
If you are not looking at any jail time soon, you are not yet in the clear. Depending on your state, the law might require you to serve probation. Unfortunately, if you violate the terms of your probation, you will go to jail. A probation sentence may keep your family on edge because someone is always watching you. The added expense of probation, like constant supervision, could also strain the family finances.
Special insurance policies
A DUI charge never goes away and stays on your record for the rest of your life. After you serve your sentence, the authorities might require you to get a particular SR-22 insurance policy. Unfortunately, this policy might double or triple your premiums and cause negative financial implications for you and your family. You could have used the extra money to cater to your family’s needs.
The best way to avoid a DUI is to get a designated driver if you know you are going to a party or a club and anticipate getting drunk. If you don’t have a designated driver to take you home, you are better off waiting till you sober up or rent a motel room for the night. After all, getting behind the wheel under the influence is not worth all the negative implications to you or your family. If you have been charged, then speak to a DUI lawyer to help avoid the hefty consequences a conviction can bring you and your family.