Here’s a frightening statistic: a person drives drunk an average of 80 times before they ever get caught. Many people — especially those imbued with alcohol — may feel like they’re invincible to the world. But when DUI offenses happen, it’s no laughing matter. Some 63% of people will be involved in an accident related to driving while intoxicated at some point in their lives. The question is: How many will learn their lesson the first time around?
Racking up multiple drunk driving charges can lead to serious consequences. Here’s the common string of events that occur with each increasing offense.
- First Offense
In most cases, a person will be charged with a misdemeanor, as opposed to a felony, for their first DUI charge. The fines or penalties you face vary with each state’s DUI laws, though in most cases, you’re looking at anywhere from $150 to $5,000. The giant exception is if you cause harm to another person, vehicle, or property, in which case DUI offenses are taken much more seriously and you may have to pay reparations to the victims as well.
- Second Offense
Your blood alcohol content level will play a larger role in a second offense than a first one, as will the amount of time that’s elapsed between the two incidents. Again, the laws vary by state, but getting slapped with a second DUI doesn’t look good on anyone. You may have your license revoked and, once you start driving again, will likely have to install a car breathalyzer device. Serious offenders could face jail time.
- Third Offense
DUI law really plays by the “three strikes, you’re out” rule. In most cases, three DUI offenses automatically results in a felony charge, especially if all happen within seven years. You’ll likely face high fines, license revocation, and jail time. If you haven’t already, now is the time to contact a lawyer. A felony conviction could have a serious impact on your personal record.
Drive smart and drive sober. Drunk driving costs the U.S. economy $199 billion every year. What’s more, it could cost you your life. If you’re facing multiple DUI charges, contact a lawyer to get you the help you need.