When it comes to a DUI, not all offenses are equal. There is no guarantee that your neighbor getting off lightly means you will, too. Besides, there is no easy option when it comes to a DUI. Even a first-time offense could result in a year in jail and a year’s license suspension.
While the initial stop may have been for a DUI, the police will look to see if you have committed any other offenses while they are there. If they find something, it could result in an extra traffic ticket or an extra criminal charge.
A court will take an overview of your situation when considering a DUI charge
Here are some of the things that could prompt a judge to increase the severity of the penalties:
- It is not your first time: Repeat offenses become more serious, with lengthier suspensions, increased fines and jail time. A fourth offense makes it a felony DUI rather than a misdemeanor.
- A high breathalyzer reading: If you hit 0.15%BAC, you incur an additional penalty.
- There was an open can or bottle in the car: If the passenger says it is theirs, they may take the penalty. If there is no one else in the car, it will fall on you.
- You were driving the school bus: If you drive for a job, you take on extra responsibility.
- You had a child on board: Even if they are your kids, and the other parent was in the car with you, the police could charge you with child endangerment.
- You injured or killed someone: That makes it a felony DUI, and you could also face further criminal or civil action related to the injury or death.
Any drunk driving conviction will have considerable consequences, so it is crucial to look at ways to fight the charges.