How long a DUI stays on your record depends heavily on where you received the DUI. Some states will have the DUI stay on your record for only five years. Maryland has the shortest penalty of only three years.
Other states require that a DUI remain for a decade or longer. For example, Florida has DUIs stay for 75 years, and Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming all keep DUI convictions on your record for life. However, some states allow for a DUI charge to be expunged from your record even if there is no period after which it is removed
In general, two significant classes of vehicles are considered when DUI charges are filed: personal vehicles and commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). A personal vehicle is any vehicle that is owned or leased by an individual for personal use. A personal vehicle can be a car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, or even a riding lawn mower for the purposes of DUI law.
A commercial motor vehicle is a vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate. Individuals with a CDL are held to a higher standard for acceptable blood alcohol content (BAC) and can lose their CDL if they are convicted of a DUI or refuse to take a BAC test. It does not matter if the CDL holder was charged with a DUI in their personal vehicle or their work vehicle; they may still lose their CDL license for a year or more.
The cost of receiving a DUI varies depending on how many DUIs you have received in the past and in what state you received the DUI. Monetarily, the penalty can range from as low as $150 in Arizona to as high as $6,250 in Oregon. Usually, the financial penalty is lower for first offenders but rapidly increases for each subsequent conviction.
In addition to financial costs, a DUI conviction can cost you time, dignity, and freedom. DUI convictions may come with required classes that you must make time for. It may also involve installing an Ignition Interlock Device, which requires you to take a breath test to start your personal vehicle and must be installed by you at your own expense. A DUI charge can even involve jail time for up to 10 years or longer, depending on the state and the severity of the charges.
Depending on the state, there may be a difference between a DUI charge and a DWI charge. DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence and can refer to a broad range of circumstances. Usually, any situation in which you are considered impaired by drugs or alcohol can lead to a DUI charge. Of note is the fact that a DUI charge can be brought against people who are impaired by legally prescribed medication in addition to illegal drugs or alcohol. As such, DUI can be used as an umbrella term to catch any individual who is in any way impaired when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
By contrast, DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. Intoxication is a specific legal threshold for an individual’s BAC beyond which they are considered to be intoxicated. For most states, the legal threshold is a BAC of 0.08 or 8%. The lone exception is Utah, which lowered the bar to only 5% alcohol by volume. Some states also have a “zero tolerance” threshold for minors. This harsher intoxication limit sets the bar far lower and can classify a minor as intoxicated if their BAC is higher than 0.00 or 0.02, depending on the state
The answer is it depends. In most states, the governing factors of how a DUI charge is classified are frequency, BAC, and collateral damage. A first-time DUI charge will most likely be considered a misdemeanor. However, each subsequent DUI charge is more likely to be considered a felony to increase the penalties. BAC also plays a role in determining the severity of charges brought. For example, if you are barely over the legal limit, you will more likely be given a misdemeanor charge. In contrast, if you are several times over the legal limit, you are more likely to be given a felony charge.
Finally, collateral damage also affects what kind of charges are brought. In general, if you were pulled over for driving erratically but did not harm anyone or anything, you are more likely to be given a misdemeanor. However, if your intoxicated driving resulted in injury or damage to anyone or anything else, some states require that you be immediately upgraded to a felony regardless of if it was your first time or the level of your BAC
If you have been charged with a DUI, you will need to find a DUI attorney. An experienced DUI attorney can help to protect your rights and get you the best possible outcome for your case. The best palace to find a DUI attorney is Attorney at Law.
At AAL our nationwide network of attorneys and law firms allows us to match you with the best DUI attorney in your area. Our attorneys have the experience, legal expertise, and expert testimony to help you explore your options and get you the outcome you deserve. In addition to legal expertise, our attorneys also excel in client care. Our firms ensure that their clients are cared for and questions are answered.
Don’t wait. Contact AAL today for a complimentary consultation and begin your journey to justice