What Happens When You Get a DUI Or DWI For the First Time?
When you are charged with a DUI or DWI for the first time, it can be a scary time for you. You don’t know what to expect and aren’t sure what will happen to you. While the consequences of any drunken driving offense are serious, it doesn’t have to average jail time or the end of your driving career. This is especially true for first-timers. If this is your first DUI or DWI charge, here’s what you can expect, to answer the question, “What happens when you get a DUI or DWI for the first time?”.
The exact penalties you will confront will depend largely on the circumstances of the offense. It will also depend on the laws of your state. Some states treat first time offenses more harshly than others. For example, in Alabama, a first offense can get you a fine of up to $1,200 and a driver’s license suspension of 90 days. That’s just for the first time! In other states, you may only be charged a small fine and put on probation for a year. Of course, if you injured someone in the incident, or if character was damaged, you might truly confront jail time, already if it WAS your first offense.
Rarely will a state impose jail time on a first time offender if no damage was involved. Again, however, the exact penalty depends on the state. In California, already first time offenders are required to serve 96 hours in jail if convicted. Of course, with overcrowding, sometimes just showing up to jail will be sufficient to get you released for good behavior almost upon your arrival. It’s certainly happened to some high profile celebrities recently.
The best thing you can do for yourself if you’re wondering what happens when you get a DUI or DWI for the first time is to contact a lawyer who specializes in these types of situations. That lawyer will be able to advise you of your state’s laws and tell you what you can expect if you’re convicted. This will help you prepare for any possibility that may come up in court. If you’re very lucky, a good lawyer may already be able to get the charges against you reduced, which will consequence in a much more lenient sentencing.