There are some who think on a first offense of any crime, they will get off with a warning, or that the judge will have mercy on them since it’s their first time. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Especially with DWI cases, crimes are not taken lightly, and those who are caught will more often than not spend time in jail on a first offense.
What to Expect
If you are charged with DWI, you are given the benefit of being considered innocent until proven guilty, just like with any other charge. Guilt has to be established, and is often done by your own admission or during a trial. Penalties, including jail time, vary from state to state and case to case, but because first-time DWI is a misdemeanor, it will probably carry some time behind bars.
Wondering how much time? It all depends on the situation and the judge overseeing your case. For example, if your blood alcohol concentration was particularly high, the judge might consider a tougher sentence and longer amount of time in jail. If you were barely over the legal limit of .08%, say at .09%, it could possibly carry a lighter sentence. All states allow for up to six months jail time on a first-time DWI, but with minor circumstances, some cases carry a one-night stay in jail.
Some other considerations the judge might look at are your criminal record, whether other individuals were involved in the situation (particularly if children were in the car), and whether an accident was the result of your reckless driving.
If There’s an Accident
What if there was an accident as a result of your DWI? Will your sentence be heavier? Most likely, yes. Property damage could require more jail time, in addition to fines. If someone was injured or killed, you’d be looking at a felony instead of a misdemeanor and could face several years in jail. As was mentioned before, this is all dependent on the situation and the judge, so make sure you have a good lawyer to help you fight the case.
Contacting a Lawyer
If you were caught driving while intoxicated and are facing a court hearing, contact a DWI lawyer in Arlington, VA who can assist you with the process. You don’t want to be stuck behind bars longer than you need to be, so proper legal counsel is essential to your case at this point. Call your attorney today to see what you should do next.
Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into criminal law and jail time for a DWI.