Misdemeanor DUI Penalties
By: Chris Kramer
Driving while intoxicated is considered a crime and can result in strict penalties under the law. Depending on the circumstances and state laws, the punishment is classified either as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Penalties for misdemeanor drunk driving convictions vary from state to state. But there are certain punishments a convicted DUI offender can expect for his or her misdemeanor. This sentence may often include the following:
- Jail time (a few hours up to a year)
- Fines and fees that could total around $1,500
- Driver's license restriction or suspension
- An alcohol education program
You can get help fighting the charges you are facing. A local attorney can answer your questions about the court process and help build a case against the charges. Connect with a DUI attorney today – use the form below to arrange your initial consultation.
Consequences of a Misdemeanor DUI
If the consequences of a particular drunk driving incident cause an accident with another vehicle a pedestrian or property, the offense may be categorized as a felony by the court system, regardless of how far over the legal limit the driver's blood alcohol content was.
Another factor that determines the severity of the charge is the number of DUI incidents in a given amount of time. Some states may regard a second charge within a ten year time period as an automatic felony, while others consider the fourth DUI such accusation to automatically fall into this more serious category.
The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is based on the severity of the crime. For example, if a judge decides that circumstances warrant a misdemeanor, then the offender may be ordered to serve from a few hours to two or three days, or up to a year in jail. A felony charge will often require a sentence of a year or more of prison time in addition to potentially hefty fines that are appropriate to the individual situation.
Furthermore, the details of a particular drunk driving episode may be immaterial if it is a multiple incident within a ten year period. What might be considered a misdemeanor for a first time offender is usually classified as a felony for the habitual defendant.
Defense of a DUI Charge
An alleged drunk driver's can claim that his or her circumstances surrounding the DUI charge deserve a misdemeanor, not a felony charge. If this argument succeeds, the defendant is protected from a host of problems that often come with felony convictions, including employment issues and housing troubles.
Employers and landlords frequently perform background checks. So once a felony charge is discovered, denial of employment and housing may occur. A misdemeanor drunk driving conviction on a person's record can still carry weight, but it will often be less than that of a felony.
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor DUI, you can contact an attorney familiar with your state’s laws right away. An attorney can inform you of your rights under the law and help you build a defense to the charges you are facing.
When you are facing DUI charges, it's important to act sooner rather than later to inform yourself. Connect with a sponsoring attorney today for an initial case evaluation – simply fill out the free DUI case evaluation form on this page to get started now.