Law enforcement officials take driving under the influence of alcohol very seriously—and rightly so. Drunk driving leads to many accidents and fatalities on the road. Each U.S. state has strict consequences for anyone who is arrested for DUI, with some states being stricter than others. Whether you’re dealing with a DUI conviction or you’re simply curious about its implications, here are 10 scenarios you can surely expect if you decide to imbibe and hop behind the wheel:
1. You’re going to be arrested.
If you are caught drunk driving, an officer will read your rights and promptly place you into a police car. You’ll then take a ride to the local police station to have your mug shot and fingerprints taken. Depending on which state you’re in, you may be required to stay in jail for a period of time. Some states will allow a friend or family member drive you home once your bail is paid, but if you’re a repeat offender, you’re likely to be put in the slammer.
2. You’ll have to appear in court.
You’ll receive a ticket or summons that lets you know when you are due to appear in court. This is oftentimes a humiliating experience for offenders. Some may plead not guilty, but if you were arrested with a DUI charge, chances are the whole thing was caught on video, including you failing your field sobriety test.
3. You’re going to lose your license.
Even if it’s your first DUI, you will lose your license and driving privileges for a period of time. There are, however, a few states that provide a “hardship license” that allows you to only drive to work or school. Should you get pulled over and refuse to blow into the breathalyzer or take the field sobriety test, some states will revoke your driving privileges immediately. By refusing to participate, you essentially plead guilty to DUI.
4. You’ll have to pay a fine.
You’re going to lose some money and it’s probably going to be a lot. The cost will vary by state, and some areas increase their fines based on circumstances such as blood alcohol level, property damage or whether you endangered a child during the drunk driving incident.
You’ll also have to pay your court costs, a fee to get your license back, probation costs and possibly more. Some people state that their DUI costs have run from $8,000 to more than $30,000.
5. You may have to go to jail.
Some states require you to spend some time in jail, even if it’s your first offense. First offenders may have to spend one or two nights in jail. For repeat offenders, most states require a jail term that varies in length.
6. You’ll be on probation.
The judge will put you on probation and you’ll have to adhere to the terms. If you break probation, you can go to jail. Additionally, being on probation costs you monthly, as you’ll have to pay for the probation services.
7. You’ll have to attend drunk driving school.
In order to get your license back, you’ll have to go through an alcohol and drug education program. You’ll learn about alcoholism, take a look at your drinking habits and have an assessment. Additionally, you’ll have to pay to attend these classes out of your own pocket.
8. You have to have an alcohol evaluation.
You’ll be court-ordered to attend substance abuse counseling to have an evaluation done. Here you will be given the opportunity to be honest about your alcohol consumption. If it is found that you have an addiction to alcohol, you may be ordered to attend a treatment program and/or AA meetings in order to get your license back.
9. Your auto insurance will increase.
Most states require you to have to purchase a special kind of auto insurance called SR-22, which can oftentimes double or triple your premium.
10. You may have to install an ignition interlock device.
Some states require you to have to install an alcohol-free breath test in your vehicle, which means that you’ll have to blow into it and be free from alcohol before you can start your vehicle. This requires a bit of money up front as well as monthly fees. Repeat offenders are much more likely to be required to have this.
The consequences for repeat DUI offenders are even more severe and vary from state to state. Some states have moved forward with various programs and penalties for repeat offenders, including house arrest, special DUI facilities, jail time, community service, victim restitution, public condemnation, license plate tagging and vehicle confiscation.
Getting a DUI brings on many repercussions, which can certainly take an emotional toll as well. In fact, many men and women who are arrested for DUI become very depressed, scared and distraught at how much the DUI conviction will affect their lives. Needless to say, it’s not a pleasant experience. The humiliation, fears about losing jobs, depression, not being able to drive and monetary concerns are very real.