There are several factors that go into determining the type of DUI charges someone faces after an arrest and countless “enhancements” that come with each type of charge that can lead to harsher sentencing and steeper punishments. The following is a list of some of the most common DUI charges that someone may face, including the increased penalties for repeat DUI arrests and/or convictions.
If you have been charged with DUI, then understanding the nature and severity of your charges, then potential penalties that you are facing, and the legal ramifications that this situation can have on your life are best discussed with an experienced attorney. There are so many specific details that will change or enhance a charge that it is impossible to discuss all potential charges without referring specifically to your state’s statutes regarding driving under the influence of alcohol and other mind-altering substances, but the following is intended to provide you with a general overview.
If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this: you need a lawyer throughout this process. Visit The Florida Trial Lawyer to schedule a free initial consultation so that you can get a specific understanding of how valuable the support of an experienced attorney can be when you are preparing to go up against the United States legal system.
First DUI Charges
Typically, a first DUI comes with the lightest penalties and the clearest path forward to an alternative sentencing or plea deal with the judge presiding over your case. However, there are many different enhancements that could cause significant complications and make your penalties much harsher than had these details not been present.
If you are charged with a DUI and your BAC is in excess of .15% (nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08%), then your penalties will be enhanced and you can face the possibility of 9 months in jail and increased fines. If you have a minor in your vehicle during the arrest, your charges will be enhanced the same way.
Multiple DUI Charges
After a first DUI, the charges for any subsequent DUI grow increasingly strict and come with more jail time, higher fines, and longer license suspensions. A second DUI within 5 years of your first will result in a noticeable increase in fines and jail time, and you will need to complete a mandatory 10 days in jail unless your second arrest is longer than 5 years since the first.
With each additional DUI, the penalties will continue to increase until you are no longer allowed to drive a vehicle ever again. However, even after a fourth or fifth DUI, there may be a way that your attorney can manage to reach an agreement with the courts that helps you to retain your driving privileges in some capacity, although you will be required to use an interlock ignition device that requires you take a breath test before starting the vehicle.
Other DUI Charges
In addition to the number of DUI charges in your criminal history, there are many other things that will increase your charges, such as a BAC in excess of .15%, or a minor in your vehicle during your arrest. Other types of DUI charges include the following:
If you are operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and cause an accident where someone is killed, it is highly likely that you will be charged with DUI manslaughter, if not even stronger charges. This charge comes with a minimum 4-year prison term, in addition to significant fines and having a felony on your record.
This type of DUI charge is the result of additional factors present, such as an extremely high BAC, a child in the vehicle, operating a vehicle without a license or with a suspended license, driving an unregistered vehicle, and others.
DUI With Property Damage or Injury
If you cause an accident that is (thankfully) non-fatal, you will be charged with an enhanced DUI to reflect the damage that your behavior caused. Depending on the damage done, your penalties will reflect what the courts believe to be fair and just punishment for your actions.