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DUIDWI Sentencing: What to Expect

You have either pleaded or been found guilty of DUI in your local court; what can you expect next? The next step in the DUI procedure is sentencing. This is when the judge will announce what your penalty or penalties will be for DUI. Depending on the court, sentencing can take place immediately after the verdict or in a separate hearing several weeks later. If the sentencing hearing will be later, the judge will inform you and your attorney of the date and time.

Determining Your DUI Sentence

In the interim the judge will consider several items in determining your sentence. He or she must closely review the law you were convicted of violating. Many DUI laws carry mandatory sentences. If this is the case, the judge may have little discretion in determining your sentence and will be required to follow the law's instructions. Even in states with mandatory sentences, most provide a range of sentences for a judge to consider.

Other Factors if DUI Law Does Not Carry Mandatory Sentences

In states where the law does not carry mandatory sentences, the judge will consider other factors. Whether this is your only DUI conviction or if you are a repeat offender will play a large part in your sentence. If you damaged other people's property or injured other people, the judge will take this into account, and it will most likely result in a stiffer sentence. Likewise if you have a prior criminal record, this will also be considered. Finally the judge will also consider you as a person. Do you appear to regret what happened? Are you likely to do this again? Are there any other factors in your personal, economic, or social life that would make a certain sentence either appropriate or inappropriate? All of these will be considered. Usually the court will consider written suggestions from the prosecutor or sometimes both attorneys before sentencing. In most states, you will be expected to speak in court before the sentence. This is usually the time for you to express your feelings of regret and remorse and assure the court that this will not happen again.

After that, the judge will pronounce the sentence. License suspension, fines, jail time, community service, alcohol rehabilitation, probation, and the mandatory use of a vehicle interlock are some things the court may include in your sentence. The court may also give you a suspended sentence, which means that the sentence does not go into effect unless you violate the terms of your probation.