A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is less serious than a felony. Most drunk drivers will receive a misdemeanor for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Another term you may see referenced is DWI, this stands for driving while intoxicated.
Driving under the influence can carry serious consequences and criminal charges. A misdemeanor usually entails jail time, probation, counseling, fines to the court as well as possible restitutions for any damages that resulted from driving under the influence if an accident was caused.
When is a DUI usually considered a misdemeanor?
If it is their second driving under the influence (DUI) offense within a ten year time period the person can expect to be convicted of a misdemeanor violation. They will be sentenced to a minimum of ten days up to one year in jail, fines of nearly $2,000, 1 year license suspension that starts after they are released from jail with no driving privileges of any kind and an ignition interlock system installed in their vehicle.
When is it civil?
All fifty states classify driving under the influence as operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating substance and if your blood alcohol contact (BAC) is over a certain level.
Hire a good attorney!
For example, if you have an expert attorney that can reduce your charges to misdemeanor versus a felony you do not lose the right to practice in certain professions, serve on a jury or to vote. Also, when trying to obtain employment and housing it will be easier to do so without having a felony on your record. Don't give up; you are innocent until proven guilty!