The maximum sentence of jail for dui widely varies on a number of factors. However, for a first time offense of simple dui, a defendant faces no more than one (1) year of incarceration (almost all first offense dui charges are misdemeanors), and in most cases, the offenses carries penalties of no more than several months. The only truly accurate method to determine the potential penalties associated with criminal charges, especially in dui cases, is to consult with a lawyer about your individual case.
Elevating Factors in DUI Cases
A defendant should not expect the aforementioned penalties to be applicable to their individual case, however. State laws widely vary on potential penalties for a simple dui offense. Furthermore, many states carry dui penalties with more severe penalties in light of elevating factors, which are becoming more numerous and more prevalent as time goes on. The following outlines some of these elevating factors:
- Subsequent or repeat dui offenses carry elevated penalties. The extent of these elevated penalties, however, will widely vary by state and on a case-by-case basis
- Certain dui offenses, based on the blood alcohol content of a driver, carry elevated penalties increased proportional to the level of intoxication in the offender
- Most states also carry dui statutes that elevate penalties if occupants were in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, and furthermore, certain states also increase penalties further if an occupant was a minor or child
- All states carry elevated dui penalties for dui arrests involving property damages or personal injuries to other drivers or pedestrians
- Certain states also carry elevated penalties for repeat criminal offenders, including those individuals with prior convictions not related to alcohol or driving offenses
- Certain cases of dui, specifically those involving intoxication from a substance other than alcohol, may carry criminal possession penalties for drugs or other illicit substances as well
- Minors, persons under the legal drinking age of twenty-one (21), may also incur elevated penalties for a dui offense. In most cases, these penalties relate more to administrative action involving their driving privileges rather than incarceration. Furthermore, minor dui laws vary by state, and in most cases, the blood alcohol requirements for a minor dui are less than those for of age drivers
Mitigating Factors in DUI Cases
The reality of a dui arrest is that an offender, save for cases involving multiple repeat offenses or accidents involving injury, will not serve any time in jail for their arrest, if they use legal counsel. Most states offer many forms of alternative sentencing for offenders, which although more costly and time consuming in many cases, will keep an offender away from jail.
Getting Legal Help with DUI Charges
DUI laws are a matter of state jurisdiction, and in turn, only a criminal defense lawyer in your state is able to efficiently assist you with defending a dui case or obtaining a plea bargain to prevent jail. Consult with a lawyer as soon as feasibly possible following any dui arrest.