If you’re dealing with your first DUI charge, you may be reevaluating quite a few things in your life. You may be overwhelmed with feelings of regret, and might be questioning how you could let yourself wind up in this sort of trouble. However, the fact is, DUIs can happen to just about anyone—especially first-time DUIs. They aren’t usually purposeful, premeditated, or intentionally harmful.
Still, the State of Connecticut takes all DUIs—even first-time DUIs—very seriously. Arresting officers and members of the court tend not to spend very much time on the motivations behind DUIs. They may not understand that your DUI was truly a momentary, out-of-character mistake, and may judge you accordingly. Once you are charged with a DUI, you have a serious issue to deal with.
Most people assume that first-time DUIs are not very serious, at least in comparison to multiple offense DUIs. While it is true that the statutory penalties for multiple DUI offenses do tend to be higher than those given for first-time DUIs, that doesn’t mean that first-time DUI offenses are anything to brush off. According to Connecticut State Law, even a first-time DUI can carry potentially life-altering penalties. These include:
- License suspension for up to one year
- The installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one year.
- A $500-$1000 fine
- Up to 6 months of probation
- Up to 100 hours of community service
- Up to 6 months in jail
In addition to sentences that you may receivefrom a judge or jury, there are also other potential consequences of a DUI that can affect other areas of your life.
First, there’s the stigma among your existing community and among people you may meet in the future. Rightly or wrongly, DUIs carry a significant degree of social stigma. A DUI on your record may strain your relationships with your friends, family, business partners, and even potential new friends, romantic partners, and networking connections.
A DUI conviction—even a first-time DUI conviction—can also interfere with your professional life. In certain professions, a DUI could cost you your job outright. If you are sentenced to a significant degree of community service or jail time, or are limited in your actions by the terms of your parole, that might cause you to lose your job over time. With a DUI on your record, it may be difficult to obtain another job if you do lose your job. In addition, DUIs may prevent you from accessing several sorts of scholarships and educational programs, which could prevent you from making necessary professional and personal growth.
Finally, if you have any standing legal troubles or court cases, a DUI could also have a significant negative impact. If you are already on parole and get a DUI, it will likely violate the terms of that parole. If you are in the midst of a court battle for custody, or for your immigration status, a DUI conviction could also have serious negative repercussions.