Many are under the mistaken impression that the first time they get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) it's nothing to be concerned about. Unfortunately, even your first DUI can come with serious punishments and it pays to understand the full scope of what could happen. Read on to find out more about what to expect with a first DUI conviction.

A Serious Misdemeanor

When you have no other previous DUI convictions on your record, you might be relieved to find yourself charged with a misdemeanor. There are still mandatory sentencing guidelines that must be followed and even misdemeanor DUI convictions can lead to problems that will plague you for many years to come. Understand that each state has its own rules and punishments for DUI convictions, so speak to an attorney in your location for more personalized information.

Jail and Probation

Some states require first-time DUI offenders to spend at least some time behind bars. In addition, you can expect to be placed on probation either with or without jail in most states. Probation means having to stay in contact with your probation officer, random alcohol testing, and more. It should also be mentioned that probation costs you money—you must pay a fee each month for the privilege.

Driver's License Suspensions or Revocations

Many drivers are surprised at how swiftly their driving privileges are removed from them after a DUI arrest. What that means is that, in some states, your driver's license is automatically suspended with an arrest. You must deal with a judge to have the license reinstated with or without hardship provisions. For example, you might be able to apply for a special driving license that allows you to go and come from your job. When it comes to driving privileges, you should expect to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars when dealing with the DMV in your location.

Education and Community Service

As an alternative to jail, some states assign those convicted of a DUI to community service. You might have to take part in trash pick-up, work in a soup kitchen, or even perform hard labor. You will almost certainly have to take part in an education program targeted at those who drink and drive. These classes will have costs associated with them.

Other Consequences

In addition to the above, you might also expect:

  • Court fees and fines
  • A permanent mark on your criminal record
  • Cancellation of your automobile insurance (or raised rates)
  • Problems with employment

As you can see, even first-time DUI convictions are serious matters. You must speak to DUI attorneys for help with your case and never underestimate the effect this charge could have on your life if you are convicted.