In most states, the penalties for a DUI conviction increase as offenses accumulate. Although first offense DUIs may not come with jail time, subsequent convictions are likely to include stiffer penalties. An experienced DUI attorney can help you through the process of a DUI charge and subsequent trial, but your options are likely to become increasingly limited as charges mount over time.
Factors affecting DUI charge accumulation
The one fact to take into consideration when looking at the accumulation of DUI charges is the amount of time that has elapsed between charges. In some states, penalties may be lesser if your three DUI convictions are spread out over a period of more than 10 years. If you are convicted of three charges of DUI over the course of five years, it's tougher to escape the stigma of being a repeat offender.
Penalties in most states
According to Findlaw, of the 50 U.S. states, 32 have a minimum penalty of a license suspension between one and three years for a third DUI conviction. It's important to note that this represents the absolute minimum sentence, and in many cases, circumstances can extend these parameters.
Licensure penalties for a third DUI are often supplemented with serious fines, jail time and extended probation in addition to alcohol awareness classes and community service assignments that are often given to first time offenders.
States with lesser and higher suspension periods.
A few states, like North Carolina and Arizona, have third offense DUI minimum license suspension periods that are below the national average. These periods typically range between three and six months, and it's important to remember that these are the minimum suspensions, and stricter laws are proposed constantly.
Some states, like Massachusetts (minimum eight year suspension) and New Jersey (minimum 10 year suspension) are significantly stricter than the national norm.
States that have permanent license revocation.
In four states, you will lose your license for life following a third DUI offense. According to Findlaw, these states are:
If you're unsure of whether or not you will be able to retain your license or reduce a license suspension, consult an experienced DUI attorney. In some cases, license revocations and suspensions are dealt with exclusively by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and hearings may be independent of criminal proceedings. An experience attorney can help you properly pursue the retention of your license, if it is a possibility.
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