Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I was recently arrested for a California DUI with my twelve year old daughter in the car at the time of the arrest. I am wondering what will happen to me and whether the penalties will be enhanced since I had a minor in the car?”
State legislatures have been under increasing pressure to punish drivers who are arrested for DUI or driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. State DUI laws vary, and if you have been arrested for a DUI, it is important to contact a DUI lawyer who is familiar with the DUI laws of your state.
DUI convictions may result in any of the following:
- Fines – All states charge fines for DUI convictions. The DUI fines for a first time DUI conviction can be as high as $2,000 in some states.
- Jail terms – Most states require confinement in jail. Although in some states, such as Texas, the confinement may be for as little as 72 hours and no more than 6 months.
- Community Service – Many states require the DUI offender to perform community service. Often the amount of community service is at the discretion of the court.
- Probation – Most courts require probation. The time varies by state but generally is from one to two years. Most DUI offenders will be required to complete the following while they are under probation.
- Drug and Alcohol evaluation program – DUI offenders generally have to complete some type of evaluation program which will determine how likely they are to commit a DUI in the future and to educate them on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. If, through the evaluation, it is determined that the DUI offender has additional issues with alcohol addiction, the terms of the probation may be updated.
- Attend and complete a DUI Education course – Most states require DUI offenders to complete an alcohol education class. In Texas, for instance, drivers must take the class within 180 days from the date of the DUI conviction. If the driver meets this requirement they may be able to avoid the one year drivers’ license suspension.
- Attend a Victim Impact Panel – Not all states have this requirement, but many do. The goal of the Victim Impact Panel is to educate the DUI offender on the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
DUI offenders will be given an Order Granting Probation from the DUI court. It is important to follow the specific requirements outlined in the order, which are unique to the offender’s DUI case.
Additional DUI Penalties
What if a DUI offender has an aggravated DUI charge: they were arrested with a minor in the car, they caused injury or death, or they have prior DUI arrests? Although the following information is only a general list of some of the DUI penalties which are assessed, many states have similar DUI penalties for aggravated DUI convictions.
- Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device – Many DUI offenders who have been arrested for DUI may be required to install this device on their car. The Ignition Interlock Device requires the driver to provide a sample breath which is analyzed prior to driving.
- Alcohol Treatment Program – There are a variety of alcohol treatment programs which may be offered through the state’s probation department. Multiple DUI offenders may also be required to participate in outpatient programs.
- Restitution to the victims of DUI accidents – DUI offenders who have caused injury or death may be required to provide additional restitution to injured parties, especially if the driver’s insurance policy does not cover all of the damages from the DUI accident.
- Zero consumption of alcoholic beverages – Some DUI offenders may be required to abstain from consuming any alcohol. This will be enforced through random or periodic urinalysis. Certain states, as a condition of the DUI offender’s probation, may not be able to go to a bar or tavern where alcoholic beverages are consumed or sold.
- Enhanced DUI Penalties – All states have what are termed “look back” laws which are the number of years that the court will look back to decide if a DUI conviction is the first, second or third for the DUI offender. For instance, Texas has a 10 year look back law. If a DUI offender has been convicted of a previous DUI within 10 years from the current DUI arrest, the current DUI is considered the driver’s second, not first, DUI.
Drivers who are charged with multiple DUI convictions, in many states, may have their DUI penalties enhanced. Keep in mind many states also have agreement with other states that they will share information about DUI arrests. For instance, if you are a resident in the state of Texas but you get a DUI in another state, if your current DUI occurred less than 10 years from the previous DUI conviction (in the other state), you could be charged with a second DUI.
Hiring a DUI Lawyer
For more information about your DUI case, contact a DUI lawyer. Fill out the FREE case evaluation form and a DUI advocate will contact you to discuss the facts of your case. You can also visit our website at http://www.duiattorneyhome.com. For immediate assistance, call our 24/7 DUI Help Line at 1- 866-228-3201.