If you are charged with a DUI, you may be facing jail time and stiff penalties. But pleading or being found guilty of a DUI also has some penalties associated with it that you may not be aware of. If you are considering hiring a DUI attorney to help with your case but wonder if it is worth it, take the time to educate yourself about all of the penalties you may be facing if convicted. This can help you determine if hiring an attorney is best for you:
The Loss of Your Driver's License
If you plead guilty to, or are convicted of driving under the influence, DUI, or driving while intoxicated, DWI, you can lose your license. The length in which your license will be suspended varies based on the state you live in and if you have had any prior DUI or DWI convictions in the past. Generally, you can expect to lose your license for 6 to 12 months for a first conviction and longer for each subsequent conviction. This can make it hard to get to and from work, pick up your children, or have a social life.
Increased Insurance Costs
Once the suspension of your license has been lifted, you can expect your car insurance costs to skyrocket. In many states, you are required to carry SR-22 auto insurance after being convicted of a drunk driving charge. This type of insurance policy has a great liability coverage amount because you are now considered at higher risk for causing an accident. Unfortunately, a DUI or DWI can stay on your driving record for up to 10 years, meaning you may have increased insurance rates for this length of time.
A Criminal Conviction
The last penalty associated with a DUI or DWI is a criminal conviction. A DUI or DWI is a misdemeanor, not a simple traffic infraction. When you apply for jobs or look for a place to live, you will have to check the box that states you have been convicted of a crime. This may preclude you from working or living where you want. A DUI conviction can also prevent you from traveling where you want. Some countries, such as Canada, may not allow you to enter their country with any criminal history, including a DUI conviction.
If you have been charged with a DUI, a DUI attorney may be able to provide you with a defense to the DUI, work to show you are not guilty or negotiate a plea deal for a less charge with fewer penalties. Learning the penalties associated with a DUI conviction can help you to see how serious a DUI charge is and why hiring an attorney to help you can be beneficial.