Important Things You Should Know When Facing A DUI Charge
An arrest for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or DUI (Driving Under the Influence) can be quite stressful and scary. However, knowing what you can expect from this process will greatly help you in dealing with your case. DUI laws are governed by specific state laws. Therefore, some details may differ depending on where you were arrested. But, regardless of these minor details, there are some key basics of every DUI case you should know.
Hand cuffs and glass of alcohol Once your arraignment is over, you should waste no time and hire a great DUI defense firm in Jacksonville as soon as possible. Now, if you cannot afford a professional attorney, a general public defender will be appointed to help you with the case. However, you should keep in mind that no public defender will be able to match the experience and expertise of a professional attorney. Also, since DUI laws usually vary from state to state, you will need an expert who specializes in your jurisdiction. Once you have hired your legal defender, you will have the following options:
- Request a jury trial
- Request a trial before the judge
- Plead guilty
- Try to bargain for a lesser charge
Dealing with the charge
Fighting a DUI charge is anything but a simple battle. If you are caught with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, you will face a DUI conviction, even if you don’t exhibit impaired behavior. In that case, your DUI attorney will attempt to challenge these results. Keep in mind that the higher your alcohol level, the lower your chances of winning the case are.
However, if your blood alcohol level was within or below the limit, an experienced DUI attorney will most likely be able to help you win the case. Before the trial, you should also discuss with your attorney the facts of your case and whether it would be better to be served by a jury trial or a judge. This and the varying elements of DUI offenses will greatly affect your chances of beating your charge.
Maximize Respect, Minimize Smalltalk
Many drivers hear about methods that can help them when trying to avoid DUI charges, and one of these suggestions includes minimizing chatter with law enforcement. This doesn’t, however, give you license to be impolite or rude. Be sure to be respectful at all times when interacting with officers, as doing otherwise will only impede your stop, and may increase the chances that you’ll do a roadside sobriety test. Most police officers will ask, “Have you been drinking this evening?” Many people admit that they have had one or two drinks at home. It is always advised not to come forward with this claim, as it may only be used as evidence against you. Legally, you are not obligated to respond and can reply that you were advised not to answer this specific inquiry.
Avoid Field Tests
Once an officer is suspicious of your sobriety, they will begin to go through a list of tasks to establish intoxication. You will be asked to perform field tests, such as the field sobriety test, hand-eye coordination and comprehension testing, breathalyzer devices, and more. Remember that all of these techniques are crafted to measure how impaired you are. Sober drivers have been documented looking impaired during these tests, so be sure to minimize your participation.
Take Required Tests
While you are not required to submit to any field sobriety tests, you will be legally required to submit a blood or breath test. If you refuse to take these tests, your license will automatically be suspended for one year, and your refusal may be used against you in the court process. Blood tests tend to be much more accurate, yet the time between an arrest and a hospital visit may affect the outcome of your DUI case. Breath tests are more readily available, but there are more conditions that can affect the test’s validity. When faced with these three choices, many clients fare the best when utilizing the blood method. If you are unsure as to how to proceed in your case, be sure to reach out to our law firm for assistance.
What Happens If You Get a DUI? 5 Things You Should Know
Every 50 minutes, a person dies in an alcohol-influenced automobile accident in the United States. Since alcohol-related car accidents cost $44 billion each year in damages and loss, the government takes DUI’s seriously.
If you’re facing DUI charges, you might be uncertain what to expect. What happens if you get a DUI and how can you get your license back?
1. What Happens If You Get a DUI? Prepare for an Arrest
If you’re charged with a DUI, the first thing you can expect to happen is an arrest by a police officer and taken to the nearest jail or police station. Your photo (mug shot) is taken and you’ll also be fingerprinted.
Depending on what state you reside in, you might be released immediately if someone pays your bail and drives you home. Many other states have laws in place that require you to remain in jail until you’re fully sober.
2. Court Appearance
When you’re arrested, you are issued a court summons which will specify a date and time that you need to appear in court. Here you’ll face the charges for driving under the influence.
If you deny charges or plead “not guilty” and you decide to try to fight the case instead, prepare for any police car dashboard video of you taking a sobriety test.
3. You’ll Lose Your License
In every state, even if this is your first DUI offense when you’re charged with a DUI, you can expect to lose your driver’s license for a certain amount of time. Though there are some states that offer what’s known as a “hardship license” that allows offenders to drive to work or school while their license suspension is in effect, keep in mind that your driving privileges are still drastically cut.
If you happen to refuse a blood or breathalyzer test when pulled over, your license is suspended immediately before you’ve even had a chance to go to court.
4. Expect to Pay a Fine
What happens if you get a DUI? Another consequence you can count on is paying a fine for your offense. Every state has a law in place in which a fine is part of the penalty for drunk driving.
The fines might be higher if other offenses are committed at the same time and depend upon the circumstances surrounding your arrest. If, for example, you injured another person, damaged some property, or endangered other because of your reckless, drunk driving, you can expect a fine increase.
There are also court costs associated with your case that you’ll be responsible for paying as well.
5. Spend Some Extended Time in Jail
Expect to spend at least a couple days, if not longer, in jail. The length of time spent in jail will again depend upon the severity of your offense and the injuries or damages caused as a result. For some first-time offenders who managed not to cause any harm to others or damage any property, a weekend in jail is usually the maximum.
Jail terms are longer for repeat offenders and those with aggravating circumstances that are connected to their DUI offense.
Things You Should Know After Your First DUI
What happens when you’re arrested for drinking and driving? Do you have to tell your parents or your school? Will you be fined? Will you lose your license? After being arrested for your first DUI, you’re going to have a lot of questions about what happens next. Every case is different, but there are common legal procedures shared by most cases. Here are a few things you should know after your first DUI.
1. You may lose your license for a minimum of 180 days.
Within a few weeks of your arrest, you can expect the BMV to send you notice that your license has been formally suspended or taken away for a minimum of 180 days (six months). Whether or not you get your license back depends on the outcome of your court case. Sometimes, there is a relatively short license suspension period for first offenders. In other situations, a person can obtain specialized driving privileges. This may allow you to drive on a limited basis to limited locations without your regular driver’s license.
2. You must appear in court.
Couple dealing with their first DUI.After you’re arrested, you’ll be summoned to court for an initial hearing. At your initial hearing, you can either plead guilty or not guilty. Although it’s your legal right to plead guilty at your initial hearing, this isn’t typically a good idea. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to fight your DUI.
3. You will likely be fined.
Though penalties for your first DUI vary from state to state, in Indiana, most cases result in a fine. In general, DUI’s are quite expensive. According to a survey by Driving Laws, the average cost of a DUI is $6,500. This statistic does not account for lost wages as a result of the DUI.
4. You could face DUI education, probation, or jail time.
Couple dealing with their first DUI.Once again, consequences of your first DUI vary from state to state. At a minimum, the most common consequence you can expect is a fine and license suspension. However, you may also face additional repercussions on a case-by-case basis. These repercussions include mandatory DUI driver education courses, probation, and even jail time.
5. Your parents, school, or employer will likely find out about your DUI.
For many people, the worst part of a DUI is having to share this information with others. You don’t have to tell your parents about your DUI, but if you need their financial support or if they start to wonder why you haven’t been driving, you will likely have to inform them of your arrest.
Your school may also find out. Many law enforcement departments, such as Purdue University’s, inform colleges or universities if a student has been arrested for a DUI. The school may choose to take action, such as expulsion or suspension, which may obviously affect your academic career.
Your career may also be affected. Your current employer may or may not find out about your DUI, but if and when you apply for new jobs, future employers who run background checks may see this information.
The chances of keeping a DUI completely hidden from your parents, school, or employer is very low, and it’s important to be aware of this.
How will I get to work?
You may apply for and be granted a special restricted driver’s license. This restricted license will allow you to drive from your home to your place of employment or any DMV field office – that’s it. Requests for these licenses should not be made during the DMV hearing and will not be considered at that point in the process.
How do I obtain a restricted license?
After the mandatory 30-day suspension period, you can apply for a restricted driver’s license that will allow you to go to work or visit any local DMV. To receive this license, you must provide proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program and you must file proof of financial responsibility in addition to paying your $125 reissue fee. Again, this fee is only $100 if you’re under 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law.
Should I request an administrative hearing?
If you think you were unjustly persecuted or you were issued a suspension or revocation without justification, you have 10 days from receipt of your notice to request an administrative hearing. This hearing will allow you to contest the suspension or revocation.