While a first DUI offense in Missouri is categorized as a Class B misdemeanor, a seemingly “less-serious” charge, a DUI charge on your record will carry residual consequences that may affect you for the rest of your life. A DUI or DWI charge means that you are facing possible jail time, a criminal record, and you may be stripped of your driving privileges for a period of time.
For these reasons, which will be discussed below, hiring an experienced DUI attorney in Springfield for DUI charges is your best chance at either having the charges reduced or dismissed entirely.
DWI Springfield has worked with thousands of clients, both first-time offenders, and repeat offenders in similar situations. When the stakes are this high, you need professional legal advice. Call us anytime to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your case and how we can help you.
Continue reading for more information on the penalties and long term consequences of a first time DUI charge in Springfield, MO, as well as how an attorney can help you with your DUI.
Penalties for a First-Time DUI Charge in Springfield
If you’re facing charges for driving under the influence in Springfield, and this is your first DUI charge, you will most likely be charged with a Class B misdemeanor*. If you enter into a guilty plea or are found to be guilty of a DUI, you could face:
- Anywhere from 48 hours to 6 months in jail
- Fines up to $500, not including court fees or attorney fees
In addition to the criminal penalties outlined above, if you’re convicted of a DUI (and, in some cases, even if you aren’t) your license will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days. After the 30 days has been met, a 60-day restricted license will usually follow it. In some cases, the defendant may be eligible for a limited license with the use of an ignition interlock device (IID) instead of the initial 30-day license suspension.
*Other factors, such as if you were involved in an accident at the time of your arrest, the amount of alcohol that was in your system, your age, etc. will all weigh into what you may be charged with in terms of classes of misdemeanors or felonies.
Long-Term Consequences for a First-Time DUI Charge in Springfield
At first look, the penalties of a first time DUI conviction may seem trivial to some; however, the long term consequences of this charge are not. Long-term implications for someone living in Springfield that has been charged with a DUI include, but are not limited to:
- Strained Professional and Personal Relationships– Having a DUI charge, not even a conviction can cause tension in your personal and professional life. In fact, some jobs have also been known to let employees “go,” pending a DUI conviction. Additionally, many people can expect there to be some stress within their personal relationships with friends and family.
- Raised Insurance Rates – If you are convicted of driving under the influence in Springfield, MO points will be added to your license, which will, in turn, make you considered to be a high-risk driver. This “title” increases insurance rates. Furthermore, some insurance agencies will drop you from their plan entirely if you get a DUI conviction.
- Future Employment Challenges– A DUI conviction may impact your current job, but the harsher consequence is that it will be more challenging for you to get a job in the future with a DUI on your permanent record. Especially a well-paying one.
- Difficulty Getting Loans – It’s no secret that if you have a criminal conviction on your record, applying for a home loan, student loan, and even a car loan, will be much more complicated than applying for a loan without a criminal conviction.
How A DUI Attorney Can Help
If you plan on moving on and not being bogged down by a criminal record or want to be able to apply for jobs without worrying what your future employer might find during the background check; you need to hire a capable DUI attorney in Springfield, MO. Hiring an attorney is beneficial in numerous ways and is less expensive than you may think. Let us “count the ways” in which an attorney will be able to help you if you’ve been charged in Springfield for driving under the influence:
- Legal Advice – If your DUI case is pretty straightforward (there were no accidents, it was your first offense, etc.) you may just need legal advice from a DWI attorney in Springfield. Getting legal advice from an attorney does not count as a complimentary consultation. Expect to pay for your lawyer’s services; which is well worth it if the legal information they give you gets you out of a conviction.
- Reduced Sentences – With an estimated 1.5 million Americans getting arrested for DUIs per year. Judges see a ton of first-time DUIs. Because of this, they may have a general sentence they give to all first-time offenders that make it into their court. Without a lawyer, your plea may not even be considered by a judge. Just in case your judge is phoning it in, you’ll want an attorney that will fight for your rights and help reduce your sentence or get the charges against you dismissed.
- Connections To Services – If convicted of a DUI in Springfield, you will need to file SR-22 insurance and possibly take a SATOP (Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program), in addition to other court-appointed classes and/or programs. A knowledgeable attorney in the area can help you get set up with the right people so that you can use these courses to your advantage and pay a fair price for them.
- Expunge Your DUI – If you have already been convicted of a DUI, it’s not too late. An attorney may be able to get your Springfield driving under the influence charge removed from your record. You can learn more details about this service by calling DWI Springfield today or at your earliest convenience
Call us anytime to schedule a complimentary consultation where we can help to decide if you should fight the charges alone or give yourself the best chance of freedom by hiring an attorney for your first DUI offense