Felony DUI Penalties Continue to Get More Extreme
Across the nation, lawmakers are passing stricter laws and penalties for people who are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. In addition, police departments are cracking down on drunk drivers more than ever.
The penalties for drinking and driving have increased, especially for offenders with prior DUI convictions. Many states make it a felony to have a number of prior convictions (typically three) within a certain time period.
A first DUI offense is typically treated as a misdemeanor. The penalties for a misdemeanor DUI conviction include fines, drivers license suspension, community service, probation, jail time and installation of an ignition interlock device.
The penalties for a felony DUI are even harsher than for a misdemeanor DUI. A person who is convicted of felony DUI is looking at a lengthy sentence in prison, in addition to steep fines. Convicted felons also lose many of their civil rights, such as the right to vote or own a firearm. In addition, the felon will also lose his or her driver’s license for many years, if not permanently.
A driver may also be charged with DUI felony if he or she caused injury to another person while driving drunk. In addition to criminal penalties, the offender may also be held financially responsible for the accident. Their obligation could be millions of dollars.
In order for a habitual offender to get his or her driver’s license back, an assessment interview is necessary. A professional counselor will talk to the offender to determine the extent of his or her drinking problem.
The counselor may then mandate that the offender attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or a residential treatment program. While the offender does not have to follow the counselor’s guidelines, it is the only way he or she will ever get a driver’s license reinstated.
In addition to following these guidelines, the offender must also obtain SR-22 insurance, which is very costly.