Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) are serious criminal charges. Although every state has its own guidelines that dictate the consequences, there are some similarities. If you plead guilty to DWI or DUI, you may want to consider the punishment and how it will affect your life.

Criminal Penalties

In most states, a first-time DUI or DWI is a misdemeanor. You could go to jail for 6 months or more, depending on the circumstances of your case. For example, if someone was injured or killed while you were driving under the influence, you could be charged with a felony and face more jail time. Many times, whether or not you face jail is at the discretion of the judge. In addition to jail, you may have to pay fines and court costs. These can range from $500 up to $2,000.

Administrative Penalties

In addition to criminal penalties, you may lose your driver’s license in a DUI or DWI. With first-time DWIs, your license could be suspended for 90 days to 6 months, but again, it depends on the laws in your state. If you are under 21, you could lose your license for much longer. Refusing chemical testing could add a license suspension, regardless of a criminal conviction. To get your license back, you’ll probably be required to pay more fees. You may also be required to install a breath interlock device in your car.

Consequences Outside of the Law

A DWI or DUI can also have far-reaching consequences that aren’t always associated with the law. You will probably see an increase in your car insurance rates, that is if you are able to find insurance. If you were in an accident because of DWI, your insurance may not cover your damages. This could mean you will have to pay the other driver’s expenses after the accident. Medical bills and auto repair costs can add up quickly. The other driver could sue you for lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

In some states, a DUI or DWI can prevent you from getting professional licenses. You may not be allowed to drive for your business. You can almost certainly be expected to lose a CDL. A DUI/DWI stays on your record for a long time. You can’t move to get away from it. A DUI can also prevent you from getting into college or receiving financial aid.Talk to a Civic Center San Francisco DUI lawyer, like from Hallinan Law Firm, about your situation. Protect your rights and your future.