Getting charged with driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense, and one that may affect your life in a number of undesirable ways. If there's any silver lining in this situation, it's that the penalties for first-time DUI offenders are generally not very harsh. For example, upon finding you guilty, the court may have you pay a fine and attend an alcohol counseling program. If you've had a DUI charge and been surprised at the relative ease of dealing with the consequences, it's time to re-evaluate your mindset. Getting a second DUI can be much more serious and lead to a number of problematic things for you. Here are some examples.
Time In Jail
Just because you managed to escape a jail sentence after your first DUI doesn't mean that you'll be so lucky upon being caught a second time. Courts consider offenders' histories, and a second DUI will leave you with consequences that are notably more severe than your first time. You may end up with a jail sentence, and even if it's one that is short or that you can serve on weekends, you definitely don't want to go through this process because of a second DUI charge.
Vehicle Interlock Device
On one hand, getting a vehicle interlock device — a device that tests your blood alcohol and prohibits you from turning on your vehicle if you've been drinking — may not seem like a major problem. However, you need to realize that this device can be problematic for many people. If you occasionally have co-workers, clients, or other work-related people in your vehicle, they'll definitely see your device. The presence of this device indicates that you've been found guilty of driving under the influence, and this can tarnish your reputation and perhaps even hurt your career. An interlock device is more likely after your second DUI arrest.
Lengthy License Suspension
People can lose their licenses for their first DUI offense, but the loss of the license is generally short. In the wake of a second offense, however, you're apt to be looking at a lengthy suspension. This can be disruptive and difficult to conceal. While you could fib your way around a short suspension by calling in sick to work, you can't take the same approach if you're looking at a multi-month suspension. This may make it difficult for you to get to work, which is a problem.
If you are facing a DUI charge, reach out to a local DUI lawyer as soon as possible for assistance in fighting the charge.