3 Factors That Can Determine the Punishment for a DUI Charge

If you were just charged with a drinking under the influence (DUI) crime, you may wonder what type of crime this will be considered and what the punishment for the crime will be. Every situation is considered unique in the criminal-justice system, and there are a variety of different factors courts use to determine how severe the crime will be considered and what the punishment for the crime will be.

Your criminal history

Getting a DUI is a serious crime, and it is considered a misdemeanor in all states. In some states, though, a DUI can be charged as a felony in certain situations. The court has the ability to determine how the crime is charged, but getting a misdemeanor is always better than getting a felony. Misdemeanors are still serious crimes, but they are not as serious as felonies.

Because of the freedom courts have in choosing the way a crime is charged, the courts will typically begin by looking at a person's criminal history. If you do not have a criminal history, the court might be more inclined to be lenient with you for this DUI charge. In other words, if this is your first offense of any kind, the court may label this crime lighter than they would for a person that is a repeat offender.

Your blood-alcohol level

A second factor the court will look at is your blood-alcohol level when you were caught and arrested. The legal limit in all states is 0.08%. If you registered just slightly above this, the court might be more lenient with you than if you had a really high blood-alcohol level when you were arrested.

The nature of the incident

Finally, the court is likely to look at the events that took place when you were arrested. For example, they will want to know how the police caught you. If you were caught because you were involved in a car accident, the court may take this more seriously than if you were pulled over for crossing the center line of the road. If you did not cause any harm to anyone while you were driving under the influence, you are likely to get a lighter sentence than you would if you had caused harm to anyone else in any way.

These are some of the factors that will affect the court's decision about your DUI charge. To learn more about this subject, you should contact an attorney in your area that focuses on DUI cases, such as one at Lowry Law Firm.