Being accused of drunk driving is no small thing. Merely being accused of such a crime can cause damage to an individual's reputation. A conviction, though, can wreak havoc on a person's life. Depending on the severity of the offense, a conviction could land an individual in jail or prison for a long period of time, sometimes even years. Fines, too, can cause damage, throwing one's financial stability into a tailspin. This can be exacerbated by license suspension or even license revocation, making it difficult for an individual to get to work or school. Felony DWI convictions, while imposing stricter penalties, can also leave one's record marred for the long-term, which can cause a ripple-effect of damage. For example, it can limit one's employment opportunities.
Even the seemingly minor penalties can be more painful than they seem. For example, those who are convicted of DWI offenses may face the mandatory installment of an ignition interlock device. These machines require a driver to provide a breath test before the vehicle can start. This can be problematic for a number of reasons. First, the installation and maintenance of these devices can be costly. Second, these devices make it obvious that one has been convicted of drunk driving. Third, errors in the machines may lead to additional penalties and a lack of transportation.
The length of time that an ignition interlock device must remain installed is dependent upon the facts at hand. Oftentimes, it is required as a term of probation, which means an individual could wind up dealing with an ignition interlock device for a year or more. However, as discussed above, when facing drunk driving charges, this may be the least of one's concerns.
The penalties awaiting those convicted of drunk driving are nothing to laugh at. They can have very real and very negative consequences on one's life for years, sometimes even decades to come. Therefore, defending one's self against these charges is critically important. Those who want to learn more about how to build a competent and aggressive criminal defense can speak with an experienced attorney.