What Penalties Could You be Facing from A DUI Conviction?
In the event that you or a loved one is charged with a DUI, it is important to learn as much as possible about what you will be facing over the coming months. For many people, understanding what the potential penalties could be is important so they know what to expect. In addition, knowing the potential penalties can help you to decide whether you should plead guilty or fight the charges in court.
There are many factors that are considered by the courts when it comes to issuing penalties when someone is found guilty of driving under the influence. The specific penalties will be based on how much over the legal limit your blood alcohol content was, how old you are, your history of DUI charges, whether anyone was injured, and much more. If found guilty, you can expect to receive one or more of these penalties:
- Community Service – Almost all DUI convictions will come with at least some amount of community service.
- Fines – If found guilty of a DUI charge, you will almost certainly have to pay fines. First time offenders will typically have to pay $400, and repeat offenders pay as much as $6300.
- Loss of Driver’s License – For first time offenders registering over .15 BAC or refusing sobriety tests, the minimum length of time you’ll lose your license is one month for .15 or above BAC or 6 Months for a person who refuses to submit to testing. There are ways to get some driving privileges back, however, so keep this in mind. Penalties increase for past convictions of DUI or sobriety test refusals.
- Ignition Lock Devices – A judge may require that any vehicle you regularly drive be equipped with an ignition lock device so you must pass a breathalyzer test in order to start the engine.
- Jail Time – First time offenders are required to spend at least 48 hours in jail. Repeat offenders can receive anywhere from 5 days to a 5 years behind bars. In lieu of jail time, community service is an option, but not always.
- Probation – After you have completed the requirements set forth by the judge, you will be on probation for quite some time. The exact length will depend on the case, but it can last for years.
- Other – Courts in South Carolina have quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to issuing penalties in DUI cases. Some judges choose to get creative with their penalties, but in most instances, you can expect to receive the penalties listed above.
- The list above is a general list of penalties. One of our attorneys can provide you with a better idea of the punitive exposure for your specific case.
Penalties for Repeat Offenders
While all DUI charges are very serious, courts tend to be more lenient on first time offenders. Those who get convicted of a second, third, or more DUIs can expect to face far more severe penalties than they did on the first one. In addition to this being a good reason to never drink and drive after your first arrest, it is also a good reason to avoid a conviction on any DUI charges.
Get the Help You Need
Whether you are facing a first-time arrest, or you’ve been convicted of a DUI in the past, these are very serious charges. Having an experienced DUI attorney at your side can help ensure your rights are protected throughout this difficult process. Contact Beaufort DUI to discuss your options, and see how we can help.