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What Happens if I Get a First DUI?

An individual charged with a DUI may serve jail time.
Subsequent DUI arrests often result in longer jail time and probation, and stiff fines.
A person caught driving while intoxicated will likely have to attend drunk driving education workshops.
A DUI is a serious criminal offense.
Drivers typically are handcuffed in a DUI arrest.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2014
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A driving under the influence (DUI) charge basically means you are accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Different jurisdictions have different laws that govern how a person is treated following a first-time DUI offense. In general, however, you can expect to be arrested for a first DUI and spend some time in jail. A judge may allow you to leave jail once you have posted bail, as long as you are no longer under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You may then have to return to court for a hearing at a later date, which may result in the suspension of your license, fines, and other penalties.

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While DUI laws vary from place to place, you are likely to be arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail for a first DUI. Depending on where you live, you may be asked to take a breath test or some other type of sobriety test before you are arrested. If you fail the test because your blood alcohol levels exceed the legal limit, you will typically be arrested and taken to jail. If you refuse to take the breath test or another type of sobriety test, you may still be taken to jail where your urine or blood may be tested instead. Likewise, if a law enforcement officer has cause to believe you are under the influence of a substance that cannot be detected with a breath test, you may be arrested and subject to drug testing while you’re in jail.

Most places have standard penalties for first DUI offenses. The penalties for a person who does not have a prior record are likely to be lighter than those applicable for those who've faced DUI charges before. For starters, you will likely have to spend some time in jail, regardless of whether or not you admit you were driving under the influence. In some places, the standard amount of jail time before you can post bond is about eight hours, but some jurisdictions require first-time offenders to stay in jail for at least a couple of days. At the very least, you will probably be required to stay in jail until your blood alcohol levels are below the legal limits or you are no longer under the influence of drugs.

As a first-time offender, you will probably be released on bail and have to return to court on a later date for sentencing. You may be given a probation sentence for a first DUI and pay a monetary fine. In many places, you will also lose your driver’s license for about six months; some jurisdictions even allow law enforcement officials to confiscate a DUI offender's license during an arrest rather than after a hearing. Some jurisdictions also require first-time offenders to attend DUI school following a conviction. DUI school is typically an educational program intended to teach offenders about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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Discuss this Article

Markerrag
Post 2

Keep in mind that DUI offenses vary from state to state, but sentences started getting much harder due to the lobbying of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Those efforts started in the 1980s but really took off in the 1990s.

Perhaps sentences have gotten too harsh, but it's hard to argue against the notion that people who drive while under the influence need to be penalized harshly. A car is a dangerous thing, after all, and one needs to be careful when operating it.

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