First Time DUI Offense
By: Chris Kramer
In every state, it is against the law to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. If you are charged with your first DUI, you could face suspension of your license, probation, jail time, or alcohol counseling depending on your state's DUI law.
You likely have many questions about the charges before you and the potential penalties. Many people seek the assistance of DUI attorneys.
DUI attorneys can assess a DUI case and answer specific questions about drunk driving laws. They could give you information on the penalties you face, possible challenges to your case and how the laws in your state will affect you.
Penalties for First Time DUI
If you are charged with your first DUI, do not go into your case with the attitude that you will not face harsh penalties if convicted simply because you are a first-time offender.
Many states have mandatory penalties for first offenders that can have a lasting impact on your ability to drive, obtain a commercial license and even find a job.
In some states, your first drunk driving conviction means an automatic suspension of your driver's license.
- In Alabama, a first DUI offense includes a possible jail sentence of up to a year, fines between $600 and $1200, and a license suspension of 90 days
- In California, a first DUI conviction means you will be required to serve a jail sentence of at least 96 hours, pay up to $390 in fines and have your driver's license suspended for six months.
BAC level may determine 1st DUI penalties.
In some states, the penalties for your first DUI conviction depend on your BAC level.
Take New Jersey, for example. A DUI conviction with a BAC between .08 and .1 means:
- Up to 30 days in jail
- Up to $400 in fines
- Up to three months suspended driver’s license
However, if your BAC is above .1 percent, the maximum fines increase can be higher and your license could be suspended for up to one year.
As you can see, the penalties for a first DUI vary throughout all 50 states and can have serious, long-term ramifications on your life. Because each state has its own DUI law and own punishments, many people turn to DUI attorneys shortly after being charged.
Facing Your First DUI Charge? Find the Help You Need!
If you are being charged with your first DUI, a lawyer in your area can help you learn about your state's DUI laws and possible avenues for fighting against your charge. Simply fill out our free online case evaluation form or call 877-349-1311, and we'll help you help you find a DUI attorney in your area to evaluate first DUI charge in more detail.