If a person is caught driving under the influence (DUI), there’s a good chance that their driver’s license was taken away. Except for a few sections of the country with good public transportation systems such as New York City, the average American is heavily dependent on a car for their everyday activities.
It, therefore, follows that if an individual lost their license, they’d want it back as soon as they can to fulfill their obligations at work and at home. As expected, there’s quite a bit of a process to getting a license restored. The actual requirements will vary from state to state. Here are some of the steps that are the most universal.
Show Up in Court
When a person is arrested, they’ll receive a summons to appear in court in order to answer to the DUI charges. If this is the first time they’ve ever had to appear before a judge, they’ll understandably worry about how humiliating the whole experience will be.
Nevertheless, don’t allow this anxiety to dissuade the person from attending court. The consequences of disregarding the court summons are far more humbling than any temporary embarrassment they will face for attending the first time they are required to. Ignoring summons only lengthens the process of getting back their license.
Loss of Driving Privileges
DUI sentencing will include a loss or drastic reduction of driving rights. Some states have a hardship provision that may allow a person to continue driving to school or work while their license is suspended or revoked. Even then, their driving privileges will be severely restricted.
In certain states, a failure to submit to a blood or breathalyzer test or take a field sobriety test can lead to the immediate suspension of their driving license even before they attend court.
Pay the Fine
On DUI conviction, the sentence will include a fine. All states set out the minimum and maximum limits for the fines levied on DUI cases. However, the penalties can be exacerbated depending on the circumstances of each case.
For instance, if a minor was endangered, someone injured or property damaged due to the driver’s intoxication, the laws relating to these crimes would kick in. That way, the final fine may be significantly higher than would be expected in a strictly DUI incident.
Attend Drunk Driving Program
The court may order an individual to sign up for and complete a DUI program before their driving privileges are restored. The program covers alcohol and drug education. It is meant to give the offender a sobering look at the dangers of drunk driving and provide guidance on how they can find a way out.
It includes a candid assessment of their drunk driving patterns in order to identify any underlying disorder. Depending on the results of this assessment, they may be required to enroll for a separate alcohol treatment class.
Pay Higher Insurance
Insurance companies don’t treat all their customers equally especially as relates to the premiums required. Premiums are dependent on a person’s risk profile i.e. how likely they are to be involved in an accident.
Once they receive a DUI conviction, their car insurance payments will rise dramatically, sometimes by as much as three times their original premiums. They’ll have to pay this expensive car insurance for three years before they can qualify for lower premiums.
Ignition Interlock Device
An increasing number of states now require drivers convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock Breathalyzer device in their car. While this is usually reserved for repeat offenders, some states are applying this rule to first-time offenders.
The device forces the driver to take a breath test before the car starts. For the installation and use to be considered valid, the device must not be removed or otherwise interfered with in any way by the driver.
The path to getting back a license after a DUI conviction isn’t for the faint-hearted. However, if a person sticks to the program and religiously fulfill all that’s expected of them, they can bring back their driving privileges to a state of relative normalcy fairly quickly.