What Are the Penalties For DWI?

Driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence are serious charges. The consequences for DWI or DUI are some of the most severe for traffic offenses, even if it’s your first time. Even more importantly, a DWI will remain on your record for life. You cannot move to another state to get it off your record. Learn more about the penalties for a DWI to understand why you shouldn’t drink and drive and why you need a lawyer if you are charged with a DWI.

Penalties, Fees and Charges

A first-time DWI is typically a misdemeanor, but in some cases and states, you could be charged with a felony, depending on the laws and your situation. While every state has different rules, most states come down particularly hard on DUIs. For a first-time DWI, you can expect:

  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Jail-time for up to one year
  • Possible participation in substance abuse counseling or rehab
  • Possible license suspension plus fees to get your license back
  • Probable insurance increase

With every conviction, the fees and penalties increase. With a second DWI or DUI conviction, you will most likely be required to complete a substance abuse program, at your own expense. You may also be required to install an ignition lock device. Jail time may be mandatory instead of at the discretion of the prosecutor or judge. Your license may be revoked. Consequences for third and fourth offenses are even higher.

Consequences Outside of the Legal Arena

A DUI can cost you job opportunities. You may never be insurable under a business auto policy. If you have a CDL or plan to get one, your DUI will make it useless. Even if you aren’t driving for work when charged with a DUI, you could lose your CDL. If the DUI is a felony, you may not be able to get other professional licenses, depending on the laws in your state.

If you refuse chemical testing when pulled over for a DUI/DWI, you could automatically have your license suspended. Most states have implied consent laws that state if you are driving, you give the state consent to test you for alcohol or drugs. Refusing to submit to the test, whether you are under the influence or not, is an administrative charge. You will have to deal with your Department of Motor Vehicles to get your license reinstated. The fees could be substantial.

If you are charged with DWI or DUI, contact a DWI attorney in MD to protect your rights and take the best steps for your situation.

Thanks to The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and penalties for a DWI.


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