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The Legal Consequences of Driving Under the Influence

Being charged with a DUI is not a matter to take lightly. While every state has its own laws in regard to the punishment, every person who commits a DUI will suffer the legal consequences as not only could you have hurt yourself, but you could have ruined the lives of those around you. By doing something about your substance abuse and going into treatment, you can avoid having to go through the negative consequences that come with being charged with a DUI. 

Jail Time

Remember that being charged with a DUI does not only mean that you were alcohol-intoxicated, but that you have drugs in your system in general. When you are arrested for a DUI, the officer will pull you over in your car and make you get off the road. The person charged then gets taken to the police station, booked, and put in jail until a bond is posted. The individual would have to demonstrate that there has been a significant drop in their BAC level in order to be released. The amount of time spent in jail depends on the situation. Someone who has a first-time DUI will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor. If you injure or kill someone as a result of driving under the influence, it will be considered a felony. In most states, having two or three misdemeanor convictions can be considered felony convictions.

After Getting Arrested

Once the individual is arrested, they will go to court for an arraignment where they will be charged with criminal defense in pleading guilty or not guilty. It can get expensive being charged with a DUI in that you have to pay the court a bond to be released, pay a bond to get their car back, and pay towing charges. You would also have to give your attorney a down payment before the case begins. Before going to trial for your case, you would have already spent thousands of dollars.  

Driving Privilege Restrictions

In most states, refusing to take a breathalyzer will automatically get their license suspended typically for three to twelve months. First-time offenders normally have their license suspended for 90 days. Depending on the judge and the situation, these restrictions can either be short or long. There may be certain specifications to follow such as having interlock systems installed in the car ignition of someone with a suspended license or wait a specific amount of time to get their license back. Later, individuals would have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and be evaluated to see if they are fit to get their license back. You would also have to pay higher premiums for car insurance with there being no way around it.


The majority of people who commit a DUI have to be put on probation which costs a lot of money. While on probation, the individual cannot use alcohol or other drugs as well as not be in businesses that serve alcohol. Individuals are also required to speak to their probation officer and get permission to leave the state or the city where they live. 


Whether you have committed this offense once or more than once, you will be told to take an alcohol education program. You will be expected to pay for the program and have your attendance monitored. Courts will also require you to be evaluated by a mental health provider attached to the court system or a private mental health provider before the trial. This will involve being interviewed by the healthcare provider or clinician and to complete a series of tests. The results will help the courts determine sentencing, probation, treatment, etc. These assessments can be expensive and not paid by the


Because the legal systems do not want to keep seeing the same people return to the courts for the same offense, treatment is required as a condition of their probation. If these individuals do not go to treatment or do not prove to their probation officer that they are attending, they could be sent to jail or pay heavier fines. The judge will specify the treatment and can include participating in 12 step meetings as well as therapy. You may be required to attend inpatient or outpatient rehab programs. When you attend treatment, your probation will be complete and you may be able to get your license back.

Your Record

You will be required to report your DUI if you are asked on a job application, college application, military application, etc. Insurance companies will investigate your driving record from the past 5-7 years. If you did not have car insurance at the time of the offense, you will be charged higher premiums or you will not be covered. While it may not appear in some type of background checks or searches years later, there will always be a record of it somewhere. Having multiple DUI convictions where others were hurt or injured as well as property damage will have these charges stay with them for the rest of their lives. If you are suffering from substance abuse disorder, do not wait until you have your first DUI conviction where you hurt yourself and others to realize that you need to go to treatment. By agreeing to go to treatment, you will not have to go through the cost and embarrassment that a DUI charge can lead to.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center using evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12-Step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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