Facing DUI charges is extremely serious and while it is true that you are “innocent until proven guilty,” you still want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to avoid a conviction. A DUI conviction comes with different punishments depending on what the circumstances are surrounding the DUI charges and what state you are in. That said, having a DUI conviction on your record, no matter where you live, could impact the type of job you get and whether you can drive.
What happens if this is a first-offense DUI?
If you have never been convicted of a DUI before it is certainly possible that you will not face as severe of a penalty as you would if you had multiple on your record. Often, if this is your first DUI conviction, a judge may classify it as a misdemeanor, especially if there was no property damage or injury. This could mean you only have a few months or a year max in jail, depending on where you live.
Why would a DUI be considered a felony?
When there are circumstances surrounding DUI charges that escalate the severity, a judge may decide that it is a felony. For example, this may be a felony if you:
- Had an especially high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when you were arrested
- Injured or killed someone while driving under the influence
- Had prior criminal convictions, or
- There was serious property damage
Many factors can influence whether a judge decides to upgrade a DUI to a felony but it is in your best interest not to plead guilty and work with a local attorney. This is especially true if you have been convicted of a DUI in the past.
What causes a judge to suspend a person’s license?
When you are facing a DUI conviction, a judge can suspend your license. You will likely have a shorter suspension period if this is your first conviction. If you refuse to allow the police officer who pulled you over to take a breath or urine sample to test your blood alcohol levels, don’t be surprised if you face a long driver’s license suspension.
When you are being charged with a DUI, you should not feel like you are in this alone. An attorney, like a San Francisco, California DUI lawyer from a law firm like The Morales Law Firm can help you with your defense and give you the chance you need to fight these charges.