Misdemeanor Guide

Misdemeanor DUI

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?
In most instances a person will receive a misdemeanor violation for their first driving under the influence (DUI) violation. They are normally sentenced to spend up to 6 months in jail, have their license suspended for 90 to 180 days and have around $1,000 in fines and fees imposed.

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?
In rare cases the person being charged can come to a civil negotiation to settle any damages directly with the victim and in exchange receive a reduced sentence and in some cases no sentence. Often times you see this in high profile cases of the rich and famous.

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.

Other factors
You can still be charged with a DUI even if your level is under what your state allows if you are operating a commercial vehicle, if you are under the legal drinking age or show other signs of impairment. Considering the seriousness of driving under the influence you should always have a designated driver - never assume that you are ok to drive after drinking. Consider what you have at stake as well as the safety of other drivers on the road.

Hire a good attorney!
If you are faced with pending driving under the influence (DUI) charges it is very important to obtain representation from a knowledgeable attorney with experience in this type of case. Your freedom and livelihood are at stake if you are faced with DUI charges. The difference between a felony DUI and a Misdemeanor are immense.

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!