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If you’re reading this blog post, then at some point you’ve probably been arrested and charged with a DUI. This is no small thing. After all, the penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction can be more damaging than you anticipate. If you do end up convicted on the charges levied against you, let’s look at some of the penalties that you may be facing.

Misdemeanor DUI convictions

Misdemeanor DUI convictions are the least severe. However, they still carry significant penalties. For your first misdemeanor conviction, for example, you can still be slapped with each of the following:

  • Six months in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • License suspension for up to 10 months
  • Up to nine months of forced education

If you’re convicted of a second or third misdemeanor drunk driving offense, then the penalties are heightened. In this situation, you could end up spending a year in jail, having your license suspended for up to two or three years, and being forced to complete ongoing education for more than two years.

What about felony convictions?

Felony convictions, of course, carry more severe penalties. Your first felony conviction could result in:

  • Up to three years in prison
  • Up to a $1,000 fine
  • License suspension for up to five years
  • Ongoing education for as long as 30 months

If your drunk driving accident resulted in injury, then you’ll face the harshest penalties. Depending on the facts of your case, this may include up to 16 years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, court-ordered restitution, and long-term license suspension or revocation.

Collateral consequences

Keep in mind that there may be other harm that comes to you from a drunk driving conviction outside of those mentioned above. For example, you may be forced to utilize an ignition interlock device, which can be costly for you to install and problematic for your ability to complete your everyday duties.

A criminal conviction can also have long-term repercussions on your employment and your reputation. Criminal background checks that pull up a drunk driving conviction may lead to lost employment opportunities, which may leave you facing financial difficulties. You may even have trouble securing housing with your criminal record, and your conviction will probably be used against you in family law matters pertaining to child custody and visitation.

Don’t be afraid, be prepared

As frightening as all of this may sound, you might be able to escape conviction by creating a strong criminal defense strategy. Once you and your attorney analyze the facts of your case, you may find that you’re able to suppress evidence or otherwise diminish the power of the prosecution’s case. If you’re successful in doing so, then you may be able to obtain an acquittal or negotiate a plea deal that allows you to avoid many of the penalties mentioned above.

Do you need help with your case?

Building a DUI defense requires a lot of work and persistence. It’s certainly not something that you want to try to navigate on your own, as doing so could cause you to miss out on opportunities that would more fully protect your interests. With that in mind, you may want to think about reaching out to a skilled legal team if you want to learn more about the best way to approach your case. By doing so you may feel a burden lifted from your shoulders.