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David Poellot
01-23-2011, 09:00 AM
I apologize if this is located somewhere else. I searched under DUI and drunk driving and flipped through a couple pages of threads here, but did not find anything.

I have questions about penalties for drunk driving. I have relatives on my wife's side, who are cops, but their response time is questionable. So, I'm bringing it here.

I want to have my MC get into a drunk driving accident, not involving another car, have him in the hospital for a little while, then in prison for no more than six months. Here's my questions:

I've heard from one relative that one DUI does not get you prison time, but two in less than five years does. Also, if you kill someone in another car, you're looking at at least 10 years. So, does two DUIs in less than five years grant a six-month sentence? Much more or less? No jail time?

Will he be in minimum security or maximum security? How likely is he to avoid violence (read prison rape) in minimum security?

What is normal parole situation for someone who has served time for DUI? Is there even parole time?

I can always make it three DUIs if it makes it more believable that he will serve time and be on parole when he gets out. I would prefer to leave him in there for only six months, so if his sentence is nine months or one year, he could get out early for good behavior.

Thank you in advance for all your help.

Miguelito
01-23-2011, 09:22 AM
More than just losing your driver's license, in some places, you put your professional license (e.g. professional engineer) at risk if it becomes a criminal conviction. That can have some serious career consequences.

Smish
01-23-2011, 09:28 AM
Varies from state to state. In my state, for example, DUIs aren't felony offenses until it's your fourth in a five-year period. Now, it's possible to get a felony charge along with a misdemeanor DUI (wanton endangerment, for example).

Even with a first DUI offense, in my state, there can be jail time. If there's an aggravating circumstance, for example (a BAC of .15 or higher, a minor in the vehicle, etc), there's a mandatory jail sentence even for a DUI-1st conviction (a minimum of four days, in my state). And if you choose to go to trial, a jury could impose a jail sentence, with the sentencing possibilities becoming more severe with each offense (a DUI-2nd being more serious and carrying greater consequences than a DUI-1st, etc.).

So, you'll have to see what the law is in your particular state.

PinkAmy
01-23-2011, 12:57 PM
As others said, this varies from state to state. I've never heard of people in my area getting jail time for one DUI. At my first job out of grad school, I saw DUI folks who were mandated to court ordered counseling (it was horrid, but that's another story). They were given 6 sessions as a plea agreement. The DUIs also had a nominal amount of community service hours, usually supervised picking up trash on the weekends.
Sometimes DUI offenders are given weekends in jail, rather than a consecutive sentence so that they can work during the week. I knew of one instance where the client was given a choice between two weeks in jail or the equivalent in weekends or the equivalent picking up trash.
Sadly, sometimes people in my state can rack up a handful of charges and not wind up in jail. They often lose their license, but they are the type of people who drive w/o a license.

ajkjd01
01-23-2011, 04:57 PM
In Ohio DUI's always carry mandatory minimums. But the question is...how high is the test, and how many priors do you have within 6 years, and how many priors you have within 20 years. Prior felony DUIs always make things more serious, too.

It can be as small as 3 days in jail or 72 hours of a specific treatment program, with a screening for more.

It could be as high as 10 years in prison and forfeiture of your car and a lifetime drivers license suspension.

DUI law gets really complicated. And as been said above, it is different for every state. In fact, some attorneys specialize in just DUIs. Figure out which state you're in and contact someone who works with them....preferably a prosecutor or defense attorney. Buy em a coffee and pick their brain.

If you're setting is Ohio....PM me.

jclarkdawe
01-23-2011, 05:53 PM
I apologize if this is located somewhere else. I searched under DUI and drunk driving and flipped through a couple pages of threads here, but did not find anything.

I have questions about penalties for drunk driving. I have relatives on my wife's side, who are cops, but their response time is questionable. So, I'm bringing it here.

I want to have my MC get into a drunk driving accident, not involving another car, have him in the hospital for a little while, then in prison for no more than six months. Here's my questions:

I've heard from one relative that one DUI does not get you prison time, but two in less than five years does. Pretty much correct. It depends upon the state, but usually a first DUI is a violation, while a second DUI within a certain time period is a misdemeanor, with a mandatory jail sentence, usually something like ten days. However, you can get jail time for your first DUI if the DUI is aggravated by such things as a high blood/alcohol level or an accident.

Also, if you kill someone in another car, you're looking at at least 10 years.

So, does two DUIs in less than five years grant a six-month sentence? Not if they are simple DUIs. In NH, DUI 2nd is ten days in custody, three in jail and seven in a drunk driver school. It's mandatory, and a judge can't give less. You can't split it up by doing weekends, and the only thing the judge can do is give you more time, and that's very, very rare. Much more or less? No jail time?

Will he be in minimum security or maximum security? Maximum security is only used for people who have shown they are trouble-makers or have been convicted of certain very violent crimes, such as murder. He would be in medium security. How likely is he to avoid violence (read prison rape) in minimum security? He probably won't be in minimum security, he'd be in medium security. First off, for a sentence of less than a year, you go to county jail rather than prison. All jails are divided into units. Mega units are minimum, medium, maximum, protective custody, and intake. But within each mega unit, there is a further division. For example, the Hillsborough County Jail has 8 pods, which is how they describe their units. One is maximum security, with the other 7 being medium security. But each pod has slightly different make-ups. Some pods are dangerous, others a lot less so.

And a lot of this depends upon personality. Some people are going to be victims no matter where you put them. Others aren't going to be hassled no matter where you put them. Think annoyance factor as a big determinant.

What is normal parole situation for someone who has served time for DUI? Is there even parole time? No. Sentence of less than one year get probation.

I can always make it three DUIs if it makes it more believable that he will serve time and be on parole when he gets out. I would prefer to leave him in there for only six months, so if his sentence is nine months or one year, he could get out early for good behavior.

Thank you in advance for all your help.


I want to have my MC get into a drunk driving accident, not involving another car, have him in the hospital for a little while, then in prison for no more than six months. Here's my questions:

It's so much easier when you tell us what you want. Let's go through a good scenario that should work in most states. But understand that state mileage does vary a bit.

So your MC is out for a little drive, when he decides to park his car in someone's bedroom. And oh, by the way, he blows a .26 BAC. We now have an aggravated DUI, based upon an accident and a high BAC. This means he's at a felony level of offense in most states. Plus his accident is just going to really piss off people, resulting in a higher sentence.

Maximum sentence depends upon the state, but would probably be somewhere in the five to ten year range. But he's a first offender, so he's going to get a lot less. But his accident, remember, really pissed off people.

Most jails offer a good time credit (this is different from prison, and depends upon the state). For example, in NH, you get a third off your sentence for behaving yourself in jail. So a reasonable sentence here is for the judge to sentence your MC to nine months in jail (three months off for good time equals six months served), with probation after his jail time for two years. (Probation is more or less the same thing as parole.)

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Pistol Whipped Bee
01-23-2011, 06:39 PM
http://www.duipenalties.net/indianaduipenalties.html

Everything you want to know about penalities in Indiana is in there. The more DUI's your character has the more you're going to need to write about his drinking problem. I don't know if you've looked at that. Three DUI's is serious prison time.

David Poellot
01-23-2011, 09:24 PM
Thanks for the information everyone!
Jim - not trying to brown nose, but as always, you are a valuable resource. I appreciate your knowledge.
PWB - great website. I think I'll be spending some time there. I may have to look further for jail sentences, but others have already provided good detail.

I'm just trying to make sure what I write sounds realistic to the reader. I'm not trying to get too perfect, but just believable.

PWB - yeah, the drinking problem will be established. He spends most nights in the bar. The accident and prison is the turning point.

LIVIN
01-23-2011, 09:25 PM
Around here, 3 DUI's means automatic jail. However, jail could occur sooner under certain circumstances (high BAC, accidents), like others said. I knew someone who got in an accident without another car and had a high BAC, first offense DUI. If I recall correctly, this person was in a jail for maybe a week. Although, that person then had to do ASAP (Alcohol Safety Action Program) classes, the AA classes that go along with it, a small amount of community service (like 24 hours) and an alcohol therapy group. And, the driver's license gets restricted - typically for one year, during which time you can drive to and from work - anything else requires court permission. Also, you sign some contract saying you won't drink for one year. This aspect seems a little much, but it happens to everyone around here. And, then there's the court costs, all the fees for these services, insurance going up. Total costs from one DUI can amount to over $10,000 when factoring all the direct and indirect costs. Plus, it obviously is a huge hindrance, especially when it's considered illegal for you to even fill up your gas tank on the way home from work (while you have your restricted license).

PinkAmy
01-23-2011, 11:39 PM
One more thing-- if your story isn't set in 2011- you'll probably find more lenient laws, no matter in what state 10-20-30 years ago...

LIVIN
01-24-2011, 08:21 AM
One more thing-- if your story isn't set in 2011- you'll probably find more lenient laws, no matter in what state 10-20-30 years ago...

Yes, twenty years ago here, the BAC limit was .02 higher than it is now, meaning it was more lenient then.

David Poellot
01-24-2011, 09:08 AM
It happens today. Thanks again for all the great info!

RJK
01-25-2011, 07:30 PM
In New York a second DWI conviction (Driving While Intoxicated) withing 10 years, gets you a felony. If there are no additional charges (vehicular homicide, etc.) you will normally get 5 years probation and your license will be revoked. During probation you will be drug tested regularly, even though drugs, other than alcohol were not involved in your conviction. After you've successfully completed your probation, you may apply for a new drivers license. During probation, if you can prove that you absolutely must have a drivers license to get to work, meaning there is no public transportation that will get you there, you may apply for a license early.