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Where were you arrested? A DUI is a state offense, but each jurisdiction handles them slightly differently.

Breakdown of a DUI part four: Penalties and consequences

It isn't often that people who have been charged with a DUI are truly innocent. Breathalyzers and other sobriety tests are extraordinarily accurate, and though there are rare cases where they deliver false positives, these cases are rare.

Nevertheless, even if you are guilty of the charges that have been brought against you, it is incredibly important that you do your best to fight them. In our fourth installment in the Breakdown of a DUI series, we'll take a closer look at the importance of fighting DUI charges no matter what the circumstances are.

There's a lot on the line

The penalties for being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol are nothing to play around with. While DUI penalties will vary state by state and case by case, some common penalties include:

  • Fines

The fines for driving under the influence are often stiff. In most cases, even a first-time conviction will cost you several hundred or even several thousand dollars in fines.

  • Jail Time

Many states have mandatory minimum jail sentences for DUI convictions. For example, in Arizona - a state known for being strict on DUIs - there is a minimum jail sentence of ten days for a first-time DUI conviction (though up to nine of them can be suspended). Other states impose minimum sentences that range from several hours to several days for a first-time offense, and you can expect those minimum sentences to grow much longer for repeat offenses.

  • Ignition Interlock Devices

Ignition interlock devices are becoming an increasingly more common penalty for DUI convictions. These devices are attached to the ignition of your vehicle and require you to blow into them like you would a breathalyzer before you are able to start your vehicle. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is not below a certain threshold, you won't be able to start your vehicle.

  • Driver's License Revocation and Alcohol Treatment

Many times, judges will revoke the driver's license of a person who has been convicted of a DUI and require them to attend alcohol treatment classes for a period of time before they are able to get their license back. These classes may consist of attending regular Alcohol Anonymous (AA) meetings, or you may even be required to attend in-patient therapy.

As you can see, the penalties for a DUI are incredibly costly, especially since many people convicted of a DUI may find themselves facing several or even all of these penalties as opposed to just one. With this being the case, DUI charges are certainly worth fighting.

The difference between guilty and proven guilty

The American judicial system affords a lot of rights to people who have been charged with a crime. One of the most notable of those rights is the concept of "innocent until proven guilty".

Even if you are guilty of the charges leveled against you, it's up to the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond any doubt. If they are unable to do that, you cannot be convicted. A good DUI lawyer will work with you to help find holes in the prosecution's case and make it difficult for them to prove that you are guilty.

Many times, people charged with a DUI are under the false impression that they have to prove their innocence. If you're not actually innocent, this may seem like an insurmountable task. The reality is, though, that the burden of proof lies solely on the prosecution, making it important to fight your charges whether you are innocent or not.


No matter what the circumstances are, if you have been charged with a DUI, it is incredibly important that you fight that charge to the best of your ability - there's simply too much at stake not to. To learn more about how our talented DUI lawyers will be able to help you through the process of fighting your DUI charges, we invite you to contact our offices today.

In the meantime, stay tuned for the fifth and final article in our Breakdown of a DUI series where we'll talk more about the importance of hiring a quality DUI lawyer.

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