One of the most common concerns for drivers arrested for drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) is whether or not they are going to jail. Although many states allow a jail term for first-time offenders for most drivers, assuming there are no aggravating factors, it is unlikely they will face incarceration. Most first-time offenders will receive probation along with a variety of other DUI penalties.
First time offenders could, however, end up in jail if they fail to follow the terms of their probation, especially if they are supposed to avoid alcohol and drugs but test positive for these substances.
What factors may increase your chances of incarceration after DUI?
Some drivers arrested for DUI will be sent to jail, and there may be reason to be concerned. In fact, there are some common factors which may increase a driver’s chances of a jail sentence. Below we have identified these factors which can include:
- If you have a previous prior drunk driving conviction within the look back period for your state.
- You are intoxicated with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Some states specifically outline what BAC they consider “high.” For instance, some states list a BAC above 0.15% as very high and may specifically require a jail term at this level (state laws vary).
- If you injured another driver or passenger
- If you caused a traffic accident, regardless of injury
- The judge on your case, although some states give judges more flexibility to dictate penalties than others.
- If you were arrested with a minor in the car (state laws vary on what age is considered “minor”)
- If you have an attitude that the court views as not remorseful
How can I decrease the likelihood of jail after DUI?
Certain defendants may be able to reduce the likelihood of jail by taking a few proactive steps. If you are a repeat offender you should talk to a DUI lawyer immediately and discuss whether or not you should participate a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, which could display to the court that you take responsibility for your actions and want to ensure that it will not happen again. What you do not want to do is show up in court unprepared, obnoxious and remorseless. DUI judges will not look favorable on a DUI defendant, especially a repeat offender, who does not take responsibility for their actions.
Other DUI penalties
Although a jail sentence is a serious issue it should not be your only consideration. If this is your first DUI there are other severe penalties you may face. In many states a DUI conviction will remain on your driving record forever. You also may face high insurance premiums, high fines, probation and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. The best way to avoid severe DUI penalties is to talk to a DUI lawyer. DUI attorneys can review your case and determine if you can fight the charges or need to plead guilty.