You’re at a wedding, have a few drinks at the reception, and get into your car to drive home. You’re driving when suddenly you hear a siren and see a flashing red light in your rearview mirror. You pull over and stop your car. You provide the officer with your driver license and registration and admit to having a couple of drinks earlier in the evening. You are asked to take roadside sobriety tests, and suddenly find yourself under arrest. You take a breath test and are booked for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. And just like that, what began as a celebration ends as incarceration.
What is a first-time DUI offender facing?
If you’re facing a first-time DUI charge, there are substantial consequences on two fronts. The typical penalties include both Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) administrative penalties as well as court sanctions.
DHSMV administrative penalties include:
- An administrative license suspension ranging from six months to one year
- For refusal to take a blood alcohol test, a mandatory suspension for one year
Court-ordered sanctions can include:
- Up to six months in jail − or more if your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded .15 or if you had a minor in the vehicle
- One year of probation
- DUI school
- Alcohol treatment program
- Community service hours
- Up to $1,000 in fines (or up to $2,000 if you have a minor in the vehicle)
- Ignition interlock device
- License revocation
- Vehicle impoundment at your expense
Apart from court and administrative sanctions, a DUI conviction brings much higher insurance premiums as well as the hardship of getting around — to school, work, shopping, or doctors’ appointments — when you can’t drive. If your job requires driving, you may also be looking at a further hardship if your license suspension results in unemployment.
If you or someone you care about is facing a first-time DUI charge in Sarasota, get sound legal advice from experienced DUI defense attorneys on how to minimize the consequences. Discover the timelines for DHSMV administrative hearings concerning your driver license suspension. Find out how to get reduced or dismissed charges or obtain a hardship driver license so you can keep your job.