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DUI Penalties

July 1, 2011

Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws are meant to prevent people from operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you have been charged with drunk driving, a DUI/DWI defense lawyer can assist you with your case.

Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol start out harsh and become progressively more so upon subsequent incidents. And most states will zealously prosecute drunk driving cases. A qualified DUI/DWI defense lawyer can help you understand your DUI situation and may be able to minimize your DUI penalties.


All DUI penalties vary depending on your state, if federal charges are involved, if it is a first offense, and if any additional crimes took place during the incident. In many states, a separate case is made by the Department of Motor vehicles to determine your future driving privileges. Fines can cost thousands of dollars.

Restricted Driver’s License

If you are charged with DUI and your driver’s license is suspended, you may be eligible for a restricted driver’s license. This license would allow you to drive only to certain activities or locations, such as your job or to an alcohol treatment program. If you have been charged with DUI/DWI, contact a drunk driving defense lawyer for more information.

Suspended Driver’s License

In many DUI cases, your driver’s license will be taken from you at the time of arrest, pending the outcome of any legal proceedings against you. You are not allowed to drive, although you may generally apply for a restricted license so you can drive to work. Harsh penalties exist for anyone caught driving with a suspended license. A drunk driving defense lawyer can assist you in obtaining a lighter sentence if you are caught driving with a suspended license. Contact a DUI/DWI defense lawyer for more information.

Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

IIDs are used after DUI convictions in some states as a deterrent to future drunk driving incidents. They are devices attached to your car’s starter that you must blow into before starting the vehicle and periodically while driving; if excess alcohol is detected in the breath, the vehicle cannot be started.


If probation is part of the DUI sentence, your actions may be monitored by a probation officer, and any criminal acts committed during probation will be punished more harshly. Probation can include driving restrictions, substance abuse treatment or education, and other components.

Jail/Prison Term

Lengthy jail terms are rare for first offense DUIs, but increasingly common for subsequent offenses. Factors that can influence the length of a jail sentence include the status of your license at the time of the DUI arrest, whether children were present in the vehicle, and certain other circumstances. If you have been charged with drunk driving, contact a skilled DUI/DWI defense lawyer for more information.

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