You went to a party and got some five to six glasses of drinks. After a while, you decided to go home and along the way, you saw a police car and the officers are giving you a sign to pull over.
The officer took out his breathalyzer to test you and then handcuffed you for DUI. So what does DUI mean? Well, “DUI” means “driving under the influence” of alcohol (for most occasions) and it’s considered a serious offense for most states in the U.S.
Some states use DUI while others use DWI (driving while intoxicated) for this offense, and each state poses its respective penalties for it. Having said that, it’s best if you learn its meaning and the possible legal consequences imposed in your state.
What are the General Legal Consequences of DUI?
If an officer conducts a breathalyzer test and finds that your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher, then you’ll be arrested for drunk driving. Generally, if it’s your first offense, then your legal consequences will be lighter but you mustn’t take this for granted since succeeding DUIs will have heavier legal penalties.
So far, the basic inclusions for the legal obligations imposed on DUIs or DWIs are jail sentence, fines, driver license suspension, and ignition interlocking device. You need to be aware of these things in your state, and most importantly, avoid driving when under the influence of alcohol or any substances.
In line with this, the legal obligations imposed for DUI or DWI vary from one state to another. Some states have no definite details for the jail time, fees, and other penalties given to offenders, while others are very strict with it.
For instance, in Pennsylvania, first time offenders will not go to jail but they will pay a fine of $300. Also, there is no license suspension for first time DUIs and no putting of the ignition interlocking device.
In contrast, Arkansas has stricter legal punishments for first time DUIs than Pennsylvania. They impose 24 hours to a 1-year jail sentence, $150-$1,000 fees, 6 months driver license suspension, and installing an ignition interlocking device on your vehicle.
Which States are Lenient and Strict for DUI?
Although around 50 people die each day due to motor vehicle accidents since they are under the influence of alcohol, still, the penalties and restrictions among 50 states are not uniform.
The strictest states when it comes to DUI are Virginia and Arizona, where they’ve imposed specific metrics and penalties for this offense. They’re doing this to reduce the deaths and property damages caused by alcohol-impaired driving.
In Arizona, they impose the strictest discipline for drunk driving. If you’re a first time offender, then you’ll serve 24 hours in prison, pay $250 fines, driver license suspension of 90 to 360 days, and they’ll put an ignition interlocking device on your car.
If you go on a third offense in Arizona, then you’ll be charged with a felony and your car’s ignition system will be locked. Furthermore, following Arizona’s strict penalties are Alaska, Connecticut, Kansa, Virginia, and more.
In contrast, Kentucky has lenient punishments for drunk driving, where there’ll be no jail time and ignition interlocking device for first time offense. However, they’ll let you pay a fine between $600 to $2,100 and your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days.
Why is DUI a Serious Problem?
It’s not just Arizona, Arkansas, and California who realized that alcohol-impaired driving is a serious problem that needs to be resolved, but all other states in the U.S. as well. Nevertheless, there are still those states that have more lenient metrics and penalties for drunk driving.
This is an alarming issue since it can take away lives and cause great damages to private and public properties. So far, around 37% of all fatal road accidents are caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.
In 2017, there were 10,874 motor accidents reported and all caused by alcohol-impaired driving. Well, the states have imposed guidelines and actions which significantly reduced the numbers, yet today it’s gradually rising again to 300,000 DUI fatalities annually.
Looking at this scenario, you can see how it becomes a burden to the state and everyone.
What are the Long Term Negative Effects of DUI?
In all criminal offenses committed in the U.S., drunk driving hits the top since the people undermine the ill effects of alcohol and how it can greatly impair your driving skills.
We’ve already talked about the short-term consequences of DUI, which include a jail sentence, fines, driver license suspension, and ignition interlocking devices. Now let’s go over its long-term consequences on your life.
Revoked Driver’s License
Once you commit successive DUI offenses and receive a conviction, you have a great risk of losing your rights to drive again. This is a great dilemma since it can affect your work and your mobility to run simple home errands.
In terms of career, your possible job can entail driving functions, yet you cannot fulfill this when you don’t have a driver’s license anymore. Consequently, this can decrease your chance of getting hired, or reduce your performance if you’re currently employed.
Credibility and Relationship
Even when you just have a DUI arrest and not a conviction, your colleagues could have a bad impression of you. Your integrity will be stained, especially when you’re publicized for inflicting huge damages to a certain property due to drunk driving.
Increased Auto Insurance Premiums
Getting auto insurance is a must when you have a vehicle, but you’ll be paying a higher premium due to your DUI arrest or conviction. Insurance companies charge you more because of the greater risk associated with your unhealthy driving practices.
Once you’re arrested for drunk driving, you’ll serve a minimum jail sentence based on your state’s rules and regulations. Having said that, you’ll be absent for work and it can decrease your performance and promotion.
Besides that, there’s also a chance that your company can terminate you if they see that you’re unfit for your position due to your alcohol use disorder and low performance.
Difficulty of Getting Hired
Companies always do background checks on any potential candidate to hire, and if they see your record of DUI arrest or conviction, then there’s a great chance that they’ll never consider you.
Conversely, some firms are also kind to still consider these applicants as long as it’s justified during the interview that you’ve changed already. In line with this, it also helps when you’ve undergone alcohol rehab treatment since it’ll support your claim that you’ve recovered already.
Seek Medical Help for Your Alcohol Use Disorder
If you’re suffering from alcoholism and would want to recover from it, then don’t hesitate to talk to an addiction specialist or counselor. They have extensive experience and the license to give you advice for treatment.
Moreover, you can search for a reliable rehab center that can give you a customized treatment program to recover from alcohol use disorder.