Facing a drunk driving charge is definitely one of the more unpleasant things you can experience, and for first-time offenders, everything from the DWI arrest procedures to the courtroom decision are incredibly scary. The scariest part about a DWI conviction is probably that there are many possible punishments you could face, and even if it’s your first offense, these punishments could be very severe.
Here are just a few of the most common punishments you could face if you’re caught drunk driving:
- For a first-time DWI conviction, you’ll likely face steep fines, a suspension of your driving privilege, and possibly even jail time. For convictions that aren’t as serious, a court might decide to substitute community service hours for time in jail, and a mandatory substance abuse class is usually required as well.
- In more serious cases, it’s possible that a DWI conviction could actually lead to a complete revocation of your driver’s license. Even if your license is temporarily suspended, your insurance rates will skyrocket once your driver’s license becomes valid again, and these rates can last for years on end.
- Not only do insurance companies have the right to hike up insurance rates due to a previous DWI charge, but many employers, landlords, and educational institutions have the right to turn down applicants that have a criminal record — and this can include a DWI conviction.
- Ignition interlock devices are often installed in the cars of repeat DWI offenders, although some states permit the installation of these devices in the cars of first-time offenders as well. These machines measure a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) much like a standard breathalyzer test, and if the driver’s BAC is above a certain level (most states are set at around .02%, although some states go up to .04%), the ignition interlock will not allow the car to be turned on. Because these devices are extremely effective at reducing drunk driving, more states have begun including ignition interlock devices as part of standard DWI punishments.
Ultimately, there are two important things to take away from this: First, it’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking; second, if you did make a mistake and you’re facing a DWI charge, you owe it to yourself to seek legal help — because a DWI conviction isn’t something to take lightly. Find out more at this site.