If you are arrested and facing a DUI charge, it could very easily be your first run-in with the law. In many cases, those facing a DUI simply made a mistake, got a little too drunk, and then got behind the wheel of a car. As a result, you could be facing legal consequences for the first time in your life. It’s easy to become overwhelmed in this situation, not knowing what could lie ahead of you. In this blog, we discuss what kind of penalties you could be facing, and why retaining a Noblesville DUI attorney is important to your case.
Penalties for a First-Time Conviction
There is some good news for first-time offenders: so long as your DUI was not a felony charge, such as an aggravated DUI, your penalties will be much less severe. The bad news, however, is that they’re still not easy to deal with and could have a serious impact on your life for the next several months, or even years. Here are the consequences you could be facing:
- Jail time: There is no mandatory minimum sentence for first-offenders, so if you are able to argue your case well, you could avoid going to jail all together. However, doing so without an attorney is exceedingly difficult. You could face up to 60 days in jail as a maximum sentence.
- License suspension: If you are convicted, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 180 days. However, you will likely be able to apply for a hardship or restricted driver’s license during your suspension that will restore some driving privileges. If you do not submit to a blood-alcohol test, your license will be suspended for one year automatically.
- Fines: These are the kicker for a lot of people. The minimum fine for a first DUI offense in Indiana is $500, no small chunk of change. On top of that, it could go as high as $5,000, depending on your BAC. This does not include your court costs, surcharges, and other expenses that are associated with your case, so you could easily find yourself spending as much as $10,000 or more.
- Alcohol/substance abuse classes: There is no mandate that says you must enroll in an alcohol or substance abuse course for a first offense, but your judge may opt to have you attend one of these anyway, sometimes in lieu of another penalty, such as jail time, or a reduced license suspension. Your attendance will be mandatory and tracked by the DMV for the required period of attendance.
- Permanent record: Indiana does not have a look-back period, which means your first DUI charge will be taken into account and you will be charged as a repeat offender if you are arrested again, which will increase your penalties, no matter how far in the future the second or subsequent occurrence may be.
If you are facing a DUI charge, do not go to your hearing without legal counsel from The Criminal Defense Team. Our team of skilled advocates have developed a tried-and-tested courtroom litigation style that places your freedom and continued livelihood at the forefront of our decisions. When it comes to a DUI charge, we recognize the importance of being able to defend your freedom and your innocence to help you avoid the potentially serious consequences, and we fight aggressively both in and out of the courtroom on your behalf.