If you are dealing with a DUI accusation, then you have a lot on your plate. However, it's critical to understand the nature the crime and its punishments if you want to minimize your penalties. Here are some rules that apply to DUIs in most states:

Maximum BAC

Your exact blood alcohol content can actually play a significant role in your case. Most people know that .08% is the legal limit in many states, but that doesn't always apply, especially in cases involving minors. If a minor has any alcohol in their system at all, then they can be tried for a DUI in many states.

Additionally, an excessively high BAC can lead to much harsher punishments, in more ways than one. For starters, courts will be less sympathetic and thus more likely to gravitate towards the maximum punishments allowed by law.

However, there are specific thresholds at which many states will legally increase penalties substantially. In most states, this is done at .15 or .20% BAC.

Increasing Penalties

Almost every state will dramatically increase your penalties as your number of convictions increases. Your first conviction will likely end up with a few days in jail, a few hundred dollars in fines, and several months of license suspension.

However, a third or fourth offense could result in up to a year in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and potentially even a total loss of your license.

This means that you need to be very careful if you have been convicted of DUI's before. While your punishments in the past might have been light, you should take future accusations much more seriously. The penalties will likely be much harsher and the courts might be much more willing to increase the punishments closer to the maximum penalties allowed by law.

Look-Back Period

However, there is an exception to keep in mind when it comes to penalties that escalate over time. Some states will have a look-back period, which means that they will only look back a certain number of years when it comes to determining whether you are on your second, third, or even fourth DUI.

Most states will use 5 or 10 years, if they actually have a look-back period in the first place. A few states are extremely strict when it comes to drunk driving, which means that they will look back at your entire history in order to determine how harsh your punishment should be.

To speak with a DUI attorney, contact a lawyer such as Eric J. Engan Attorney At Law.