Most people understand that driving drunk is never the right choice to make. It’s clearly unsafe for everyone on the road when people get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking, but putting themselves and others in danger because of drinking and driving is only the start of what drunk drivers face.
Not only is driving drunk unsafe, it’s also very much against the law. The repercussions of being caught driving under the influence can cause drunk drivers to lose money, time, and rights. How extreme those punishments are depend on how many DUI charges there are, the circumstances involved in the incident, and how drunk drivers are handled in the state where the charges were filed.
How DUI Charges Drastically Change A Person’s Life
Even though there are differences in how states approach drunk drivers, the framework for legal punishments is similar. No matter how high the driver’s blood alcohol concentration was, it’s likely that this individual will have his or her driver’s license revoked. On the first DUI, drivers might lose their license for only 30 days, but others can lose it for up to a year depending on the state. Each consecutive DUI after that is likely going to include a longer revoking period.
Most states require drunk drivers to pay at least $500 in fines and install ignition interlock devices in their cars after the first DUI. These devices allow drivers to start the car only if they have no alcohol in their system. If they test positive for alcohol, their car won’t start. Random tests will also be performed at intervals as the car is going to ensure that it was the driver who used the device, not someone else who was sober.
Even on the first DUI charge, half the states require drunk drivers to spend time in jail. The amount of time varies depending on the state, but usually lasts anywhere from one day to one week. Most states include longer stays in jail for drivers with more than one DUI charge. That’s assuming that no one else was hurt in the process of someone drinking and driving.
Legal Repercussions Of Killing Someone While Driving Drunk
When someone drives drunk and gets into an accident, additional charges are going to be filed. Those charges could come with expensive fees, more time without a driver’s license, and a lot more time in jail. If someone dies as a result of the accident, more consequences are going to be added.
In Wisconsin, 27-year-old Daniel Boucher killed two people, Jim and Wendy Rush, in a car accident where he was driving drunk. Along with the DUI charges he’s facing, murder charges have been added. Since the accident, he has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If he’s found guilty, he could be in prison for several years.
Daniel’s father, Ross Boucher, faced similar charges 33 years prior to this accident when he lost control of his car while driving drunk and crashed. The woman in his car at the time of the accident died. Due to the death, Ross Boucher was given five years probation and was required to enter inpatient alcohol rehabilitation. His rehabilitation was finished in 1984. It’s unclear whether or not Ross Boucher continued to drink after he went through rehabilitation. Obviously, this is a clear case of alcoholism being an inherited trait for some people.
Dealing With The Legal Consequences Of Driving Drunk
DUI charges alone can affect a driver’s life for years. Fees, jail time, and other serious legal consequences can cause individuals to lose their job or even their freedom. Even after one DUI charge, some people might have to work hard to build their lives again.
If physical harm or death is involved in the accident, rebuilding life afterwards is going to be even harder. Pleading guilty to charges may not help keep someone out of jail, probation, or rehabilitation. With all the fees and time spent recovering from the accident, people who face DUI charges and murder charges may never have their old lives back ever again. In fact, they could be dealing with the serious repercussions of driving drunk for the rest of their lives.
An attorney can help drunk drivers minimize the consequences they face, but they won’t be able to make all of the charges disappear. Even if they could, the driver is still going to have to pay the costs involved with hiring them. All the fees involved with the DUI charges and the attorney could keep someone in debt for years.
The Only Way To Avoid DUI Charges Is To Not Drive Drunk
No matter how little someone has been drinking or how careful they think they’re going to be, the moment they decide to drive while intoxicated, they start putting people at risk. Police officers are trained to notice all the signs associated with driving drunk. If they even notice one, they’re going to follow the driver to see if any more signs present themselves. If that happens, they will eventually pull the driver over. When an officer does that, the driver’s most likely going to have to face at least basic level DUI charges.
Prevention starts before someone that’s drunk decides to drive. For people that aren’t addicted to alcohol, deciding on a designated driver or calling for a taxi or an Uber driver is easy enough. For habitual or addicted drinkers, the choice not to drink and drive can be far more challenging, especially if drinking has become a near daily habit.
Drinking and driving is never the answer. If someone is finding it difficult get by without driving drunk, then it’s time for them to seek professional help. Starting or maintaining a habit of driving while intoxicated carries with it huge consequences that could cost people their money, time, freedom, or even their life. It’s not a matter of if someone catches them drinking and driving, but when and what causes them to get caught. If alcohol addiction is a problem, it’s better to seek professional treatment than to get behind the wheel drunk.