For all intents and purposes, having an alcohol problem isn’t “illegal” per se. However, it could lead to various behaviors and activities that get you into serious trouble with the law. Not the least of these behaviors is drunk driving.
Not only could drunk driving get you arrested and charged with a serious crime, but it could endanger you and your loved ones’ lives. Approximately every 20 minutes, someone either dies or suffers an injury because of a car accident caused by intoxicated driving. This is why police enforce DWI laws so strictly and it’s why the penalties are so severe.
What are the penalties associated with a DWI conviction?
If police stop you and discover you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, they can immediately arrest you and charge you with a DWI offense. They can also charge you with a DWI if you’re simply exhibiting the signs of intoxication while operating your vehicle.
If you’re subsequently convicted of the charge and it’s a first offense, here’s what you can expect in terms of punishments:
- As much as $2,000 in fines;
- Three to 180 days in jail;
- The loss of your driver’s license for as long as a year; and
- Annual fees of $1,000 to $2,000 for three years in order to keep your driver’s license current;
The second offense punishments are even more severe. They include:
- As much as $4,000 in fines;
- One month up to a year spent in jail;
- Annual fees of as much as $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for a period of three years to keep your license current.
If you think the consequences of a second offense DWI are bad, they only get worse with subsequent convictions.
Get your alcoholism under control before it destroys your life
Because of the criminal punishments associated with DWI convictions, you may want to do everything you can to get control of your alcoholism if you suffer from this disease. Often, a DWI conviction and its consequences are the motivating factors that inspire people to overcome their challenges in this regard.
If you’re an alcoholic and you’ve been accused of DWI, make sure you understand the consequences associated with conviction, navigate your criminal proceedings carefully and get the help you need.