Russell Hebets Feb. 21, 2017

All states have taken a strong stance against drunk driving in the past two decades. The enhanced penalties mean that a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can create both short and long-term problems.

Even a first conviction for DUI can result in automatic jail time and a license suspension, as well as significant fines and expenses related to court ordered drivers education. In addition, the conviction record stays on the defendant's criminal history for up to 10 years in many states, and any subsequent arrests and convictions will lead to even harsher penalties. This is especially true when there are aggravating circumstances.

When all things are considered, it is vital to retain an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to represent your case even in an apparently simple case because evidence can often be contested.


All convictions for DUI carry the possibility of at least a small jail sentence, and many times the standard court policy is incarceration above the minimum. The new impaired driving legislation in nearly every state has set a minimum jail term that cannot be lowered by a judge, but the court retains the authority to set a standard jail time in excess of the codified incarceration minimum.

When the case includes aggravating circumstances, many times a jail term is also enhanced and extra charges may be applied based on material case facts. Even a conviction for a misdemeanor intoxicated driving charge can result in a jail sentence of up to one year.

Those prosecuted for a felony can receive a jail term of one to five years in most states. Anytime the potential exists for a defendant to be incarcerated it is crucial that the defendant have experienced legal counsel who can represent them. A car accident lawyer St. Paul MN trusts working on their behalf is more likely to resolve a case with a positive outcome.

Fines and Service Fees

All individuals convicted of driving under the influence will receive a significant fine, often up to $500 for even a first offense. Multiple offenders can expect to receive enhanced fines of up to $1,000 in addition to service fees for alcoholic drivers education and associated court costs. In addition to fines, a convicted drunk driver who is eligible for work release will also be required to pay a service fee for the privilege of work release.

Not only will those who are denied work release potentially lose their employment, or at least the short-term income, the fines can become a serious issue when the conviction has impacted the defendant's ability to earn a living. A conviction will also likely result in a long term increase for insurance premiums.

Criminal Record

For individuals who have received their first charge for driving under the influence, many times the incident will be their first criminal conviction. A DUI is not "just" a ticket, but is actually a criminal act that will follow the convicted river around for several years and is often not eligible for expungement. A criminal history can be very problematic in the future when a convicted drunk driver is applying for work or trying to maintain employment. Some industries such as commercial transportation cannot allow convicted drunk drivers to work for the company and often a commercial driver’s license is suspended for an even longer period of time than a standard suspension of driving privileges.

Even when an accused drunk driver is facing what appears to be an inevitable conviction, it is still very important to retain an experienced and effective DUI attorney. He or she can potentially negotiate a significantly better plea arrangement than you would receive by going to court without counsel. Call us today and let us conduct a free evaluation of your DUI case.