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What Are the Penalties For a DUI Offense?

The penalties for a DUI conviction vary in each state, but they generally include the following:

• License Suspension—Your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of time. This can vary between 30 to 365 days for a first offense. If you have multiple DUI convictions, the state may revoke your license permanently. Some states may restore your driving privileges during the suspension after a period of time.

• Jail Time—You will be required to spend a minimum amount of time in county jail. However, a work release program, community service or house arrest with electronic monitoring may be ordered in lieu of jail time for first-time offenders.

• Fines—The judge will order you to pay fines ranging anywhere from $150 to $5,300 for a first offense. The amount of the fines will substantially increase for additional convictions, a high BAC or if a minor child was in the vehicle at the time.

• License Reinstatement—Each state has a license reinstatement fee that can range anywhere from $40 to $475.

• Ignition Interlock—Some states require first-time offenders to install an ignition interlock device into any vehicle that is registered in their name. The driver must blow into the device before the vehicle will start. Many of these systems also require a retest while driving.

• SR-22 Insurance—You may be required to obtain SR-22 Proof of Financial Responsibility insurance for a period of time.

• Alcohol Education & Treatment—The court may order you to attend a substance abuse educational course, enroll in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation treatment program, submit to a psychological evaluation or attend a victim impact panel.

• Vehicle Impounded—Some states have laws requiring the vehicle to be impounded under certain conditions, such as being charged with an extreme DUI or the driver was under 21 at the time of the DUI arrest. Administrative, towing and storage fees may be imposed.

Additional penalties may be ordered for any of the following reasons:

• A minor child was in the car at the time (specific ages may vary by state law)
• Excessively speeding over the limit
• High BAC level
• Refusing to take a chemical test
• An accident causing property damage, serious bodily injury or death
• The offender was under age 21 at the time
• Prior DUI convictions

Drivers who are convicted of repeat DUI offenses may be charged with a felony resulting in the loss of their civil rights.