Some holidays are so special, you never forget them. Usually that is because of some wonderful or memorable event, such as a marriage proposal, a child’s first holiday or receiving a special gift. One thing you probably don’t want to remember about this holiday season is a drunk driving arrest.
A drunk driving arrest is definitely the gift that keeps on giving, and not in a good way. Even if you ill-advisedly accept a plea to put the matter behind you, chances are good that the consequences of that plea will follow you for months or even years to come.
What to expect
When police stop your vehicle because they suspect you are under the influence of alcohol, a series of humiliating events will likely take place. Officers will begin gathering evidence against you. This might include asking you to participate in field sobriety tests and certainly subjecting you to a blood, breath or urine test to measure your blood alcohol concentration. If your BAC is .08 or higher, they will place you under arrest.
At your arraignment, you will enter your plea of guilty or not guilty. A guilty plea is the same as a conviction, but you may be able to negotiate for a lesser charge. Otherwise, you may face any of the following consequences for a conviction:
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Mandatory alcohol education, substance abuse treatment or therapy
- Fines and fees that can be quite expensive, depending on the circumstances of your arrest
- Days or months in jail even for first offenders in Ohio and a growing number of states
If you were involved in an accident at the time of your arrest, have previous convictions on your record or have a BAC exceedingly higher than the legal limit of .08, these penalties will be even more severe.
Other ways a DUI conviction can impact your life
In addition to fines, jail and license suspension following a drunk driving conviction, you can expect such long-term consequences as significantly higher car insurance rates for the next few years. In fact, you may find that your insurer is unwilling to cover you at all, and those that do may hike your premiums as high as twice as much or more than you paid before your arrest.
You must also face the possibility that your conviction will remain a part of your criminal record for the rest of your life. This can jeopardize your career and other important opportunities. Your smartest course of action is to work quickly to build a strong defense and challenge the evidence against you.