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Criminal Law

Criminal Law

A body of rules and statutes that defines conduct prohibited by the government because it threatens and harms public safety and welfare and that establishes punishment to be imposed for the commission of such acts.

The term criminal law generally refers to substantive criminal laws. Substantive criminal laws define crimes and may establish punishments. In contrast, Criminal Procedure describes the process through which the criminal laws are enforced. For example, the law prohibiting murder is a substantive criminal law. The manner in which government enforces this substantive law—through the gathering of evidence and prosecution—is generally considered a procedural matter.

Crimes are usually categorized as felonies or misdemeanors based on their nature and the maximum punishment that can be imposed. A felony involves serious misconduct that is punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year. Most state criminal laws subdivide felonies into different classes with varying degrees of punishment. Crimes that do not amount to felonies are misdemeanors or violations. A misdemeanor is misconduct for which the law prescribes punishment of no more than one year in prison. Lesser offenses, such as traffic and parking infractions, are often called violations and are considered a part of criminal law.

A DUI charge can be extremely expensive once court costs and all fines and fees are paid. Potential costs of a DUI conviction commonly include: Court Costs, Fines, Attorney Fees, Bail, Alcohol Education Programs, Ignition Interlock Program Costs, Higher Insurance Premiums, Driver License Reinstatement Fees.

  • For a First Conviction: Fines cost $350-$1500. Jail time can range from 24 hours-11 months 29 days. Your license may be revoked for up to 1 year.
  • For a Second Conviction: Fines cost $600-$3500. Jail time ranges from 45 days- 11 months 29 days. Your license may be revoked for up to 2 years.
    • A second DUI Conviction occurring within 5 years of the first, other sanctions apply:
    • Mandatory enrollment in the Ignition Interlock Program for 6 months following reinstatement of driver’s license .
    • Your vehicle may be subject to seizure or forfeiture.
  • For a Third Conviction: Fines cost $1,100-$10,000. Jail time ranges from 120 days- 11 months 29 days. Your license may be revoked for 3-5 years.
  • For a Fourth Conviction: Fines cost $3,000-$15,000. Jail time is no less than 150 consecutive days. Your license may be revoked for 5 years.

DUIs should not be taken lightly. There are certain legal grounds a lawyer may rely on to defend a DUI charge against you. A charge of Driving Under the Influence can be a complicated matter. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney to protect your legal rights.


This is intended as general information and does not constitute legal advice.  Laws change frequently, so you should do further research or consult with a lawyer before relying on this information.