Penalties For DUI Vary Depending On Many Factors

undefinedBy F. Clay Merris, Esq.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) vary depending on one’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of driving.

The DUI statute, for alcohol purposes (one can receive a DUI if driving under the influence of controlled substances as well), is separated into three tiers.  A General Impairment DUI requires a BAC between .08 and .099.  A High Rate DUI requires a BAC between .10 and .159. A Highest Rate DUI requires a BAC of .16 or higher.

For a first offense DUI, a General Impairment conviction will not call for any jail time.  The typical sentence will be six months of probation.  A High Rate DUI will lead to a sentence of forty-eight hours to six months in jail.  A Highest Rate DUI conviction will cause a sentence of seventy-two hours to six months in jail.

The penalties become significantly more severe for second or third DUIs within a ten-year span.  For second offenses, a General Impairment DUI requires a five-day minimum in jail, a High Rate DUI requires a thirty-day minimum in jail, and a Highest Rate DUI requires a ninety-day minimum in jail.  For third offenses, a General Impairment DUI requires a ten-day minimum in jail, a High Rate DUI requires a ninety-day minimum in jail, and a Highest Rate DUI requires a twelve-month minimum in jail.

Sometimes, the district attorney may be willing to offer those charged with DUI a plea deal wherein they reduce the BAC level  to convince the defendant to plead guilty, receive some punishment, and avoid the necessity of advancing the case all the way to a trial.  As I’ve made clear above, a drop in BAC for plea purposes can make a significant difference in the amount of jail time one may be facing.  For example, for someone with a third offense DUI, the difference between a High Rate DUI and a Highest Rate DUI is nine months’ worth of jail time, with the DUI Highest Rate sentence quite possibly being served in state prison.

If you are facing DUI charges, contact Scaringi Law’s experienced criminal defense attorneys to determine if you have grounds to fight the charge or to work out the best plea deal possible to mitigate your exposure to jail time.

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