One of the most common concerns after a DUI arrest is whether or not the driver will go to jail after their first DUI conviction. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of DUI laws in various states and other factors which are considered after a DUI arrest, its impossible to say for sure.
However, drivers who do not have any aggravating DUI factors, do not have any previous DUI arrests and convictions, who do not refused the chemical test, and who do not cause severe bodily harm to other drivers can generally avoid jail time for their first DUI conviction.
Common penalties after your first DUI conviction
As mentioned above, state laws for a DUI conviction vary. All states, however, have implemented similar penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test after a DUI arrest or testing above the legal limit. These penalties are considered administrative penalties and are enforced after the DUI arrest, even if you are found not guilty of DUI.
For instance, in Texas, your license can be suspended under the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program. If you fail a breath or blood test, or you refuse to submit to one when pulled over for DWI, a police officer will take your TX license and issue you a 40-day temporary driving permit.
Drivers may request a hearing within 15 days to challenge the DUI suspension. Ultimately, under this program, your license could be suspended for 90 days to 2 years. If you are arrested for a DUI in Texas and have questions about your drivers license suspension you can contact the Texas Department of Public Safety for more information.
Other penalties for first DUI conviction
What other DUI penalties can you expect for a first DUI conviction? As mentioned above, state laws vary, although most states have implemented tougher penalties over the last 10 to 20 years.
In most states if you are convicted for your first DUI you can expect to pay high fines, have your license revoked, be forced to buy more expensive car insurance, potentially have to install an ignition interlock device and take an alcohol education course.
When will I be sent to jail after a first DUI conviction?
There are some states which do allow jail time for a first time DUI. For instance, in the state of Florida, if you refuse to take a breath test or you take the test and your results are above the legal limit you could face up to 270 days in jail.
States can also charge you with a felony if you drive under the influence and cause an accident with serious bodily injury or death. In this case, even for a first offense, prison time may be mandatory depending on the extent of injuries and the number of individuals injured.
If you have been involved in a serious accident and you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact a lawyer immediately. Jail time is a real possibility if you are convicted of felony DUI.