One statistic, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that there are over 300,000 motorists who take to United States roadways daily who are impaired by alcohol.
By the time they're eventually arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), it's estimated that it's not the first, but instead the 80th time an individual has driven drunk during their lifetime. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that some 28 people lose their lives in alcohol-induced crashes each day.
In most jurisdictions, any blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 indicates intoxication. Zero tolerance laws make driving with an even lower BAC a criminal offense, especially if the motorist is under 21. Anyone with a higher BAC, such as double that jurisdiction's limit, with children in the car, or who has prior DUI convictions is likely to face enhanced penalties.
One penalty an individual convicted of a DUI is likely to face is a suspended license. A first time drunk driving offense will often result in anywhere between a six-month to one-year suspended license, depending on the circumstances surrounding your stop. If you have prior DUI convictions or you're involved in a crash resulting in someone else's injuries or death, then your license may be permanently revoked.
Other penalties may vary depending on the seriousness of your offense and laws in your particular jurisdiction. While being assessed fines and court fees is highly probable, jail time may be reserved only for certain cases. You may be ordered to have an ignition interlock device on your car, which tests your BAC before even allowing you to start your car.
Your insurance rates are likely to increase after a DUI conviction and if you're injured as a result of your involvement in an alcohol-related crash, then your claim for reimbursement for medical costs is likely to be denied.
If you have a job, especially one that involves driving a company car, then you may lose your job as well. Some employers perform routine background checks. If they discover your DUI conviction, they may fire you from your job on moral turpitude grounds.
Being charged with drunk driving is not something that should be taken lightly, largely because a conviction for such an offense can have lasting implications for your life. If you've been charged with underage drinking, then a DUI defense attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.