Your First DUI Offense: 3 Things You Need To Know
If you've been arrested and charged with a DUI for the first time, you may understandably be looking for guidance. Should you hire a DUI lawyer? What kinds of penalties and fines could you be facing if convicted? These are all legitimate questions, but the answers to these questions must be taken on an individual basis, as no two DUI cases are the same. Regardless, if this is your first DUI charge, you should be aware that most states treat first offenders differently than repeat DUI offenders. Specifically, there are a few things you should know.
You'll Probably Lose Your License
Some people operate under the assumption that, if it's your first offense, you won't lose your driver's license as a result of a DUI conviction. However, laws for this vary greatly from state to state, and most states will (at the very least) suspend your license—even on a first offense. Therefore, this is something you should prepare yourself for. Specifically, you may wish to prepare an application for a hardship license, which may grant you driving privileges for certain activities, such as driving to and from work or taking your children to school. Whatever you do, do not drive with a suspended license, as the consequences for doing so can be much greater.
Your Job and Insurance May Be Affected
Although this may be your first DUI charge, you'll still have to expect a conviction to show up on your criminal record and be reported to your auto insurance company. As a result, your car insurance rates will likely increase. Furthermore, while you're not likely to lose your current job as a result of your first DUI conviction, you may have a hard time finding work in the future—especially in a position that requires you to drive a company vehicle. That's because potential employers will see you as a greater insurance risk.
A DUI Lawyer Can Help
Finally, even if this is your first DUI conviction, it's in your best interest to take your charges seriously and work with a qualified and experienced DUI lawyer, such as Tolman Kirk Clucas PLLC. By doing so, you can receive the legal guidance you need to protect your rights and work towards the best possible outcome for your specific situation. A DUI lawyer may also be able to assist you in having your punishment reduced, which could save you a great deal of money or even protect you from serving jail time.