How Likely Is Jail Time For The First DUI?

The annual costs of automobile accidents involving alcohol exceed $130 billion. The financial cost is only one of several negative consequences of a DUI arrest. It is surprising to many people to learn how far-reaching the impact of a first DUI has on someone’s life. If you or a loved one drove under the influence, chances are they have a problem with alcohol dependency or addiction. There are plenty of options available to help you during this tough time. 

Continue reading to learn more about jail time and other possibilities. If you or a loved one needs a safe place to discuss and recover from alcohol addiction, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn more about our residential alcohol rehab center outside Myrtle Beach, SC.

What is a DUI?

DUI, or driving under the influence, is an offense of driving or operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The offense can involve illegal, over-the-counter, or prescription drugs. While usually considered a misdemeanor, repeated DUI convictions can result in a felony charge.

An excess blood alcohol concentration decides the charge of drunk driving. Most states have placed the legal limit as 0.08%, but you should verify this for your state due to some limit differences. For example, Utah lowered its limit for drivers over 21 years to 0.05%. 

Am I an Addict if I Have a DUI?

One-third of people who are convicted with a DUI go on to get another, that’s quite a large percentage of people who make this mistake more than once. This means that despite the serious consequences of drinking, many are continuing to do so which is a strong sign of addiction. Over half of those who receive a DUI have a type of mental illness such as depression or PTSD. Trying to battle a mental illness alone is not easy, and self-medicating can become a serious problem. A study that took 700 people convicted of a DUI found that more than half had a serious issue with drinking, 19% had always been heavy drinkers and 25% went back and forth between heavy drinking and abstinence or a reduction. A DUI is a definite warning sign of addiction, so if you or a loved one find yourself in this position reach out to Myrtle Beach Recovery today. 

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?

Law enforcement officers use DUI checkpoints, also known as sobriety checkpoints, to help identify impaired drivers. The possible violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, resulted in court cases that went to the Supreme Court. DUI checkpoints present an interesting challenge to this law because it would seem that sufficient probable cause to conduct the seizure of the drivers at a roadblock is lacking.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of DUI checkpoints and concluded them to be legal and a valid method for law enforcement officers. The determining factor is the reasonableness of the checkpoint. Most courts will not consider a checkpoint legal when conducted in a random, overly burdensome, or intrusive manner. Each state interprets the legality of DUI checkpoints differently. Thirty-eight states utilize them, while twelve do not. States such as Texas consider this method a violation of the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. On the other hand, states such as North Carolina have state laws that explicitly allow for DUI checkpoints. You should contact a lawyer in your state to learn the law for your area.

DUI Checkpoint Guidelines

Although each state has its own statutes, here are a few common general guidelines in states where DUI checkpoints are a legal law enforcement method:

  • Typically, law enforcement uses a specific sequence, such as every third vehicle, when stopping vehicles.
  • Advanced publication and signage need posting to alert drivers of a checkpoint ahead.
  • Law enforcement officers must have reasonable cause to administer a breath test on a stopped driver.
  • When conducted properly at random, it eliminates racial profiling.
  • Those driving within the law require only a few minutes to complete the check. The average time stopped is approximately the same as sitting through a traffic light.
  • The primary objective of DUI checkpoints is not to arrest people but to discourage driving while impaired.
  • Publicizing checkpoints remind people that drinking and driving don’t mix.
  • Research reveals that each dollar spent on a checkpoint saves communities up to twenty-three dollars in DUI-related automobile accidents.
  • When done correctly, checkpoints require three to five law enforcement officers.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

While the consequences vary from state to state, driving impaired over the legal blood alcohol limit is illegal in every state. This means that you incur legal troubles with a DUI at the very minimum, such as having a DUI on your driving record. Additionally, you may have a DUI on your criminal record. This can complicate your ability to operate a motor vehicle in the future by making it difficult to obtain your license and the insurance necessary to drive.

The length of time you suffer these consequences varies with each state. Typically, a DUI affects your driving record for five to ten years. For example, in South Carolina, a DUI stays on your record for ten years, and you receive extra penalties under the state’s point system. However, it isn’t precisely correct that the DUI completely comes off your record. Generally, it means that a DUI will not be considered in a subsequent case after the designated number of years. On the other hand, Tennessee keeps a DUI conviction on your driver’s record for life.

How Likely is Jail Time for the First DUI?

In several states, such as South Carolina, your first DUI conviction can result in jail time of 48 hours to 90 days. Factors such as your blood alcohol level will help determine whether you go to jail and the length of time. Many states also have minimal fines and a suspended driver’s license for as much as six months for the first offense. Completing a court-ordered DUI program may result in the dismissal of jail time.

How Much Is a DUI Fine?

Financially, a DUI is a costly mistake no matter in what state you reside. The court will likely order a fine of at least $1000 for a first offense. One survey found the average additional costs for a first-time DUI offense to be:

  • Attorney fees. $1900
  • Car insurance increases. Most automobile insurance companies raise your rates if you get a DUI. On average, premiums increase by $800 per year.
  • Drivers’ education and substance abuse courses. Courts will often require drivers to complete driver’s training and substance abuse courses as a part of their sentencing. The average cost of this education is approximately $360.
  • Department of Motor Vehicle Fees. A DUI conviction has consequences related to your driver’s license and motor vehicle registration. You are likely to pay approximately $260 to the DMV for the costs you incur.
  • Vehicle towing and storage. If you are arrested and you don’t have a sober passenger, you pay for towing and storing your vehicle. The national average for this expense is $170.
  • Bail. To get out of jail as soon as possible after you’re arrested, you will likely pay about $150 for bail.

What Is a DUI Program?

The court may order you to attend a DUI program or classes. This is typically a very structured program that may last up to twelve months. The court may require that you plead guilty and wait for sentencing until after completing the program. If you successfully complete the course, the court may dismiss the charges. DUI programs often focus on preventing addiction and improving the offender’s quality of life.

Consider Myrtle Beach Recovery

Myrtle Beach Recovery can help with all aspects of substance abuse and addiction. Our goal is to help you return to living a sober, happy, and fulfilled life. If you have received a DUI, chances are you are struggling with alcohol dependence or addiction and you don’t need to do it alone. Contact us today to learn more about the services we provide.