In all 50 states, first time offenders arrested for DUI or driving under the influence offences are often charged with misdemeanor DUI which is considered a less serious crime. As a matter of fact, in some states, even if this is not your first time getting charged for DUI, you may still get a lesser charge of misdemeanor DUI as long as long the time interval for the DUI offenses is in years. Some states require that it has to be 5 to 7 years interval while some states may require less time interval. Check your state laws but it is simply better to just not drive when you have had one too many drinks because even misdemeanor DUI charges have some hefty punishments.
Fines and Probation
Since misdemeanor DUI charges are considered lesser crime to felony DUI, it does not carry prison time punishments. The punishment for first time offenders of misdemeanor DUI is usually just fines and probation. The amount of the fine is decided by the court but can range from $1,000 to $5,000. If damages to property, private or public, are made, then the fines may become more expensive. Probation may include community service and attending an alcohol education program, it will all depend on the court. Your license will also be most likely suspended for a period of time. Here are a few potential penalties for a misdemeanor DUI. Different states implement different laws regarding DUI charges and their corresponding punishment and a lot of times, the judge will have the last say on the severity of punishment that fits your crime.
Exemptions for First Time DUI Offenders
As mentioned earlier in the article, first time offenders of DUI are often charged with a misdemeanor DUI charge but in some cases, a felony DUI is charged because of certain circumstances. These circumstances may include:
- Attacking the police in charge – Sometimes, intoxicated people exhibit uncharacteristically violent attitude upon arrest. But if you attack an officer conducting the test to determine if you can be charged with DUI, then unfortunately for you, you will be charged with a felony even if it is the first time for you.
- If blood alcohol content (BAC) is double the legal limit – The usual legal limit for BAC is .08% in most states, if you are arrested with a BAC of double that, which is .15%, then you can be charged with a felony charge.
- Having a minor in car while driving under the influence – If you are driving around while drunk with a minor, it is an immediate ground for a felony DUI.
- Death or fatal bodily harm is inflicted on an individual – A lot of DUI cases do not end well. In fact, most road accidents happen when the driver is under the influence while driving. If you are found to be driving under the influence and on top of that, you have caused fatal body harm on another person or death, then a charge automatically becomes a felony DUI.
Driving without license due to suspended license for a previous DUI charge – This is a considered a deliberate disregard for the law so it is immediately considered a felony charge.