DUI Penalties

Penalties for driving under the influence, or driving while intoxicated are differ from state to state (see DUI / DWI Laws by State), but it is important that you understand the consequences if you choose to drink and drive.

Most people are aware that your driver’s license can be suspended if you are caught drinking and driving, but their awareness of the penalties does not extend far enough to be deterred from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can receive a jail time for a DUI conviction.

Your driver’s license can be suspended for up to a year, but under certain conditions it could be revoked. If you refuse to cooperate with field sobriety tests or chemical tests, your driver’s license is suspended. In many states, suspension of the driver’s license by the Department of Motor Vehicles for a DUI offense is one year; multiple DUI offenses have even longer penalties.

Fines can range from a couple of hundreds to thousands of dollars, and that is an addition to all of the other costs you pay such as vehicle impoundment, higher insurance rates, court costs, installation of an ignition interlock devices.

Minimum mandatory penalties can be imposed on drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration above the county or state’s maximum allowable level (usually .08 percent) or drivers refusing to submit to chemical testing for blood-alcohol content.

You may face separate prosecution under civil law for property damages or bodily injuries to another person.

Open container laws vary between states, but you should be aware of the implications in your state and those you visit. Some states allow no open alcoholic beverage containers in a vehicle, while others allow passengers to have alcohol. The most restrictive laws state that no bottle, container, or a can in the automobile – including the glove box – may have a broken seal. Penalties can range from points assessed against the driver’s license to revocation. Most states do not allow public consumption of alcohol, but this varies widely and by event and location.

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