Criminal penalties are progressive, which means that defendants face more serious penalties when they commit the same offense multiple times. Someone who only makes one mistake and then learns their lesson will likely face less serious penalties than someone with a history of repeat criminal infractions.
Allegations of driving under the influence (DUI) in Kentucky are among the most common criminal charges. Police officers pull people over every single day on suspicion of drunk driving, and many of those drivers simply pleaded guilty to the charges even if they know they hadn’t had too much to drink.
What penalties will a first-time DUI possibly cause for the driver accused?
Even first-time DUIs can mean jail time and financial losses
When Kentucky charges you with a DUI, you face a number of criminal penalties. Your first offense or your first charge within the last 10 years will carry fines and possibly incarceration. You will have to pay between $200 and $500 and face between 48 hours and 30 days of imprisonment.
In some cases, you may receive a sentence of community service instead of other penalties. You will also likely need to complete 90 days of an alcohol abuse program. The state will also suspend your license for six months.
Additionally, there are secondary consequences that could affect your life. You could lose your job or your professional license. Obviously, a commercial driver’s license is at risk when someone faces accusations of impaired driving. Even professional licenses not related to transportation could be vulnerable after criminal charges. Drivers can also expect to pay substantially more for car insurance after a DUI conviction than they paid before their conviction.
A first offense is not minor enough to treat as a non-issue
The idea that immediately pleading guilty is the best solution is a faulty one. A drunk driving conviction will limit your opportunities in life for years and could lead to enhanced sentencing if you ever find yourself accused of impaired driving again in the future.
Challenging a chemical test or the traffic stop could be options for defending yourself. Learning more about state law and reviewing the arrest report can help you better decide how to defend against a DUI charge.