DUI’s acronym stands for “driving under the influence.” DWI’s acronym stands for “driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired.” These offenses can have the same or different meaning depending on which state you were convicted in. Essentially, both charges mean the driver’s functionality was impaired due to alcohol or other drugs (including drugs prescribed by a physician and recreational drugs). The driver put themselves and others in serious danger. DWI and DUI charges are equivalent, one is not worse than the other. However, both offenses have a large impact on one’s life.
How much jail time for DUI or DWI misdemeanor?
Jail time is dependent on the state in which you were convicted in. In most states, an individual’s first DUI charge counts as a misdemeanor, which results in six months to a year in jail time. In other states, jail time for a misdemeanor can be 30 days or less. A misdemeanor is any “lesser” criminal act and is accompanied by fines or community service. Further, a person’s jail time can increase with each subsequent offense.
If a person is simultaneously convicted of a felony and received a DUI charge, their jail time can be up to multiple years. A felony charge is given when someone is injured or killed as a result of the driver’s impaired driving. A person can also be convicted of a felony if they have previous DUI offenses. For example, an individual will be considered a felony if they receive four DUI offenses in Colorado. There are other factors that can determine the jail time for an offense. For instance, some states base jail time off a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
What does a DUI or DWI misdemeanor affect?
Convictions of a DUI charge will appear on driving records and background checks. These offenses can have many serious ramifications. When proven guilty or convicted, most people lose their driver’s license for a period of time.
One way this can affect an individual is in their employment. An employer may not hire someone with a DUI offense. However, this is more prevalent in driving-focused jobs.
Another result of these charges is in automobile insurance. Most insurers will cancel someone’s insurance plan if they receive a DUI charge. Finding affordable replacement insurance can be very difficult. If the insurance plan is not canceled, then rates will exponentially increase.
Lastly, another way this can affect someone is in their transportation and responsibilities. Most places of employment and education require people to find their own form of transportation. If you do not have driving abilities, it will be difficult to maintain these responsibilities.
If charged, what are the next steps?
If you are convicted, there are the options to represent yourself, have a private attorney represent you, or have a public defender assigned from the court. A DUI offense is considered a crime in every state, so it is important to weigh your options.
The policies and rules that pertain to DUI charges are constantly changing and complex. If this is not your first DUI charge, you should seek the companionship of a lawyer. However, if you received your first DUI/DWI misdemeanor, the court will recognize it as a standard sentence. If no serious factors like injuries, a car accident, or high levels of blood alcohol concentration were involved, you might reconsider having an attorney.
Receiving a DUI or DWI is a serious offense; there are major consequences that can last for years. Even if it is just a misdemeanor, it should not be taken lightly. If you were convicted of a DUI offense, you should consider an attorney from the De Castroverde Law Group. Request a free case evaluation today!