What is a misdemeanor DUI? Simply put, a first time DUI is a misdemeanor under almost all 50 states and the District of Columbia. States that follow very strict DUI laws have more severe penalties for first time offenders. A first time offender can receive a suspended license, higher fines or jail time. It may be a good idea for anyone considering a first time DUI to consult their local authorities before getting behind the wheel.
There are four main penalties for a DUI offense. They include fines, jail time, loss of license (if applicable), and community service. Your local authorities will be able to advise you on the severity of your sentence and help you work out an appropriate plan of action.
The minimum jail sentence for a first-time DUI offender is one year. For second and subsequent offenses, the minimum jail time increases to two years. If you are charged with driving under the influence in South Carolina, even a misdemeanor DUI, is punishable by a minimum of one year in jail and a fine of up to two thousand dollars. The penalty for driving without a license is up to five years in prison and a financial fine of up to ten thousand dollars. If your second DUI offense is less than three years old, you may also be sentenced to probation and be ordered to attend DUI classes.
The maximum prison sentence for a first-time DUI offender is seven years. Second and subsequent offenses increase the sentence to eight years and, in the case of first offenses, nine years. Your license will be automatically suspended immediately after your conviction, and it will be restricted for the full period of time that it takes to complete your probation period. You cannot operate a vehicle while your license is in active status. You must also complete all community service hours as ordered by your probationary judge.
As for the penalties for repeat offenders, if you are charged with a second or subsequent offense, the penalties become more severe. Repeat offenders face mandatory jail time and pay higher fines and penalties. In addition to paying a fine for a third or fourth DUI, your driver’s license will be suspended until the completion of your probationary sentence. You will also lose any current access to driver’s licenses in your state. If you are charged with DUI and have multiple prior convictions, you face a sentence of at least one year in state prison and up to ten years in state prison, with a number of additional penalties.
A few other state laws about dui will affect your current situation. For example, some states treat a previous arrest as grounds for a charge of DUI. If you have been arrested four or more times for DUI violations, you could be charged with DUI after the fourth arrest. If you have been convicted of driving under the influence in two or more occasions, your DUI conviction becomes a permanent record, known as a “charity” in the legal system.