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Watch out for holiday DUIs and keep your driving privileges

With many holidays approaching, now is a great time to sit down and think about how to get from parties or events back home safely. Drinking is a major aspect of Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties and New Year's Eve events. With these holidays approaching quickly, you need to have a plan for drinking.

If you drink and get caught, you could be faced with a DUI that has a 10-year look-back period. A first offense is a misdemeanor, a second is a Class C misdemeanor, and a A third is a Class A misdemeanor. These each come with their own penalties, which can be severe.

How much does a DUI cost?

The penalties for the misdemeanor itself include a fine of $400 for a first offense or a jail sentence of up to 30 days. Second offenses cost between $2,100 and $5,100 in fines plus jail sentences of up to a year. Third offenses are more severe and come with fines of up to $3,800 and $6,300 as well as up to three years imprisonment. If this is the fourth DUI you've received in the last 10 years, then you face a Class F felony and up to five years in prison.

Regardless of the offense, you'll be asked to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, too. This, combined with the cost of higher insurance rates, ignition interlock devices and other impacts on your life can add up quickly.

Will you lose your license if you receive a DUI?

Yes. You'll lose your license for six months if your blood alcohol content was under .15% and indefinitely if above. If this is a second DUI offense, the license suspension is indefinite. While that might sound like you'll never drive again, the reality is that you can use an ignition interlock device in lieu of a license suspension, so you can get back behind the wheel quickly.

Keep in mind that crashes causing serious injuries or situations where your BAC is considered high may result in harsher penalties.

If you are facing a DUI, don't delay in building up a strong defense against the allegations. DUIs have a significant impact on your finances and may result in the loss of your license, your freedoms and autonomy. It's important that you do all you can to avoid a conviction and protect your rights while facing charges.

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