Most states in the U.S. classify a first DUI offense as a misdemeanor. However, it's crucial not to underestimate the serious nature of picking up a DUI, and don't assume that you will automatically get probation, or leniency. A first time DUI carries a number of consequences, including temporary suspension of your license. Here's what you need to know about restoring your driving privileges.

License Suspension

Regardless of which state you live in, you will likely have your driving privileges suspended upon being charged with your first DUI offense. In most states, for example, failing to submit to a BAC test will result in immediate suspension of your license regardless of the outcome of your case. This means that even if you win your case, your driving privileges will be suspended temporarily. In most states you can have your privileges restored in as little as 90 days.

Temporary License Circumstances

Under certain circumstances, you can petition for a temporary license so that you can continue to drive while your case is being settled. For example, if you drive as part of your job, such as a truck driver, or a cab driver, your lawyer can help you apply for an occupational license. This will allow you to continue to drive for work so that you don't lose your job or work income. Another special circumstance is if you live in an area where there is no other mode of transportation. In this case you may be able to apply for a hardship license, which will allow you to drive to necessary places, such as school, or work.

Alcohol Assessment

Most states require that you complete an alcohol assessment as part of an agreement to restore your driving privileges. An alcohol assessment is a screening evaluation that helps assess whether you have an alcohol dependency problem. You'll answer a series of questions to help determine whether you have hazardous drinking patterns. You can expect to answer questions about how often you drink and your behavior during and after drinking.

Additional Insurance

Another requirement to restore your driving privileges is getting SR-22 insurance. While it's not a policy on it's own, it's a certificate of responsibility showing that you are meeting your state's requirements for car insurance. You are required to carry this certificate for a specified amount of time. In most states, you can expect to carry this certificate for about three years. You will need to contact your insurance company and let them know that you need to file a form SR-22. Some insurance companies will no longer cover you, as they see this as high risk, while others will raise your rates.

If you are struggling with getting your driving privileges after your first DUI offence, talk with a DUI attorney in your area.