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5 things to know about drunk driving charges

You decided to have a few drinks while you were at the pub or another venue watching the big game with your friends. You thought you were in good shape to drive home, but you had second thoughts when you saw the flashing lights of a police car behind you. Now, you are facing charges for drunk driving due to one mistake you made. Here are some things you need to understand as you battle against these charges.

Charge classification varies

If this is your first drunk driving charge, you are facing a misdemeanor. The same is true if you get a second charge or even a third within a five-year period. If you receive four drunk driving charges in a period of five years, you are facing a felony charge. Each subsequent charge is more serious than the prior one, so you should fight them each as they occur.

Incarceration includes mandatory minimum

Except for the first drunk driving charge, you will face a mandatory minimum charge for each conviction. You face a 48-hour mandatory minimum incarceration on a second conviction and 60 days minimum on a third. You can't get out of the mandatory minimum on the third convicted. This sentence isn't eligible for suspension or probation alternatives.

Driver's license suspension is mandatory

All DUIs mean a driver's license suspension. A first offense is 90 days, a second is a year, a third is three years, and a fourth is five years. This license suspension can make life difficult since you can't drive to work or to run errands. It can also make it hard to pay your fines and attend classes or community service that is ordered as part of your sentence.

Fines are only part of the cost

Each DUI offense comes with a fine. On the low end, the fine is $500 to $1,000. On the high end, the fine is $4,000 to $10,000. Offenses one through three have an additional payment of $100 each for the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund. You will also have to pay for ordered services, such as DUI school. On top of those, your car insurance will likely increase when you are able to drive again.

Fighting the charge is possible

Fighting a drunk driving charge is possible, but you must carefully cons ider your options. Civil rights violations, procedure and protocol deviations and similar factors can all impact your defense options.

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