There are many potential consequences that come from receiving a DUI conviction but, as DUI lawyer Fairfax VA trusts can attest, there are the two major consequences. The first is having their driver’s license suspended and the second is the more serious criminal charges that frequently occur when a driver is stopped for driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
Driver’s License Suspension
When a driver refuses to take or fails a sobriety test, their license can be taken away from them, even before a drunk driving conviction. Their license is taken from them on the spot. Most states that take a driver’s license prior to a drunk driving conviction will hold an administrative hearing within five to ten days of the arrest. This appearance in court is completely separate from any additional court appearances and it does not take the place of the arraignment. In some drunk driving cases, the criminal court and the department of motor vehicles may both try to revoke or suspend the driver’s licenses at the same time.
An administrative hearing doesn’t decide if the driver is guilty of a criminal charge; it only decides whether the driver’s license should be revoked or suspended based on the circumstances regarding the arrest. Some factors that are considered are if the officer asked the driver to take a test, if the arrest was reasonable, and if the driver knew what would happen if they failed or refused the sobriety test.
Once a driver has been arrested for a DUI, they typically have to go to court for arraignment, trial, and sentencing. If there is no injury involved, a DUI conviction is most commonly seen as a misdemeanor. If a serious injury or a death occurred as a result of the DUI, the charge could be a felony. A felony can hold the consequences of a year or more in state prison, while a misdemeanor could end up in county jail for no more than one year.
If a driver pleads guilty or is found guilty, the sentence may include having their license suspended or revoked, taxes and fines, along with probation or jail. Should they receive probation, it is very common for them to have conditions set with their probation which could include an ignition interlock system which would prevent them from driving while intoxicated. They would also receive random BAC testing and have to pay for all costs that are incurred due to probation. First time offenders can have severe penalties for drunk driving and for multiple offenses the penalties are even greater.
Convicted drunk drivers will have a criminal record. The amount of time a DUI stays on their record will depend solely on the state. In some states, a drunk driving conviction is able to stay on a criminal record indefinitely. Credit bureaus, landlord, employers, and other authorized organizations will be able to access your criminal record. Convictions of a DUI can even affect immigration and travel records. For instance, Canada does not allow anyone to enter their country if they have a misdemeanor on their records. If someone is trying to become a US citizen, having a DUI conviction will often result in deportation.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Dave Albo Attorney for their insights into consequences of a DUI.