If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you probably had to undergo some form of testing. This could’ve been done through a breathalyzer, a urine test, or a blood test. Blood testing is the most accurate method and is often the option of choice in many jurisdictions.
It is your responsibility to understand what can and can’t be done in this situation, and what the implications of a positive test are. You also have to know some of the myths about these tests, so you don’t end up making a mistake, and understand your rights.
Here are some of the most common myths about DUI blood testing
Police Lab Tests Results are the Only Valid Ones
That is not the case. When you are processed for DUI blood testing, you will be sent to a chosen medical lab where a technician will take a sample for testing. While the results will be used as evidence if the case goes to trial, know that you can request for an independent test in many jurisdictions.
In places like Georgia, for instance, you can ask the officers to take you to an independent testing facility. They are also obligated to let you search on the internet for a facility and take you to an ATM if you need money to pay. So, if you feel like they’re in the wrong, exercise your right. This could be used to debate in court and could have an influence on sentencing.
Over the Counter Breathalyzers are a Good Indicator of Blood Alcohol
While using breathalyzers tools available to the public can be one way to reduce drink driving, don’t expect these to be consistent with lab results. That’s because of the way they work. Breathalyzers don’t calculate the concentration of alcohol in the blood. Instead, they only calculate the concentration of alcohol compounds in the breath.
However, this doesn’t account for things such as sex, weight, or even things like red blood cell concentration. So, only use this as an estimate of what your real blood alcohol level is, and don’t drive if it’s too close to the limit for comfort.
You Can’t Refuse a Test
A lot of people are still under the impression that refusing a test will automatically make them guilty, but it’s more complex than that. In most states, officers will need to show probable cause before they can submit you to a test. But once probable cause is established, refusal will usually result in a guilty charge under implied consent.
Some of the things officers can use to establish probable cause include observations of erratic driving behavior, field sobriety tests, alcohol smells, and breathalyzer tests. If they establish after these that you may be impaired, refusing a test will get you in trouble. But if you feel like you were unjustly arrested, you are within your rights to refuse blood testing.
Getting arrested for a DUI is something no one should be taking lightly. If you are in this situation, make sure that you understand both your responsibilities and your rights, and protect them at all costs if you feel they’ve been violated.
Driving under the influence (DUI) laws are meant to prohibit motorists from driving when drunk. It is also essential to know that drunk driving is a DUI, a criminal offense that can lead charges of misdemeanor or felony. Subsequent penalties for A DUI offense may include fines, probation, or a jail term.
If you have ever been arrested for drunk driving, you would agree that getting a good DUI lawyer is of utmost importance to help you understand the facts of your case and to prepare your defense. However, before you settle on a lawyer, it is essential to interrogate them to help you know them better.
Some of the question you need to ask such a lawyer includes:
Do You have experience with DUI Cases?
This question might appear very basic, but this helps ensure that you’re hiring a lawyer who is knowledgeable about DUI cases. It will help to know whether a person is a veteran DUI lawyer or if that would be their first case. This is important because more experience the attorney has, the higher the chances are that you will succeed in your case. The golden rule is that 50% of all the caseload handled by your prospective lawyer should have been DUI-related. Additionally, inquire to know how many cases the attorney has successfully been able to bargain down to “wet reckless” dismissal. This will give you the confidence of succeeding in your case as well.
Do You Work Within My Locality?
Hiring a lawyer who works within your area is a must as they have a full understanding of the ins and outs of the relevant jurisdiction where your case will be conducted. Additionally, if the lawyer is from where you live, they tend to know a lot about the court staff and the prosecutors of your specific location. This will allow for a smooth and seamless experience since the attorney will most likely have an idea of how to navigate the court systems while negotiating your case.
What percentage of your clients opted for deferred prosecution?
In Washington, you have only one chance of getting “deferred prosecution” for your entire lifetime. This is why only people who are in dire need of treatment for serious substance abuse get this judgment. If the judge agrees for the deferred prosecution, you will be placed on a five-year probation period, from which you have to complete a mandatory two-year treatment period. If you succeed and comply with treatment, your case will be dismissed, and if not, you will be charged guilty of DUI.
Most attorneys will encourage the first DUI defendants to take this route, which on the flip side is an easier way for the attorney and a much tougher one for you as the defendant. For This reason, it is advisable to get more experienced attorneys who know that deferred prosecution should never be used on a defendant’s first DUI case.
How Much Is The Fee?
It is vital to know the legal fees that your lawyer will require for the entire case to determine whether the cost is within your budget. Ask your attorney whether the quoted legal fees include the payment at the department of licensing (DOL) as well as for the jury trial. The lawyer should also inform you accordingly before going to DUI trial of any other additional fees. Some of these additional costs will be highly dependent on whether you have had records of past driving offenses or when covering for breath test results. Such knowledge will help you to iron any financial implications that may come as a surprise in the course of your representation in court.
What is the alcohol evaluation in Washington DUI Law?
A lawyer who has been trained in blood alcohol concentration can be a valuable asset that can help you in winning your case. Such an attorney is likely to recommend you to a certified state agency that offers alcohol drug evaluation at reasonable costs. Additionally, your attorney will be able to walk you through the entire screening, ensuring that results have not been tampered with during the process. Some jurisdictions will also require you to undergo the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST), and the drug abuse screening test (DAST).
Under Washington state law, drink driving may lead to criminal charges, but more to these, you may also be subjected to administrative penalties by the Washington department of licensing. Nonetheless, you have a legal obligation for representation in court, and it is advisable that when looking for the right lawyer for your case, you ask the right questions.
Some of the questions you can ask the lawyer is to know if they have experience with DUI cases, understand if they work within your area, and also inquire to know the percentage of his client that has opted for deferred prosecution. Additionally, let them conclusively inform you of the legal fees, besides you can also ask about the procedure of alcohol evaluation in Washington DUI law.
Most people have experienced the sinking feeling of police lights flashing in their rearview mirror. During police stops, you may wonder what exactly you should say, not say, and what rights you actually have against a uniformed police officer. According to the Bureau of Justice, more than 69 million U.S. citizens have come into contact with a police officer, and 49% of those contacts were initiated because of a traffic stop or a police stop on foot.
With so many Americans stopped by the police, one would think U.S. citizens know their rights forwards and backwards. Unfortunately, nearly 37% of Americans don’t know their First Amendment rights, with a larger percentage not knowing any past the First Amendment. If you fall into this category, there’s still time to learn the rights granted to you under the government, and how you should act before, during, and after a police stop to keep yourself safe.
In all cases of a police stop, the officer must have reasonable suspicion to actually stop you in the first place. If they do not mention their reason upon contacting you, you are well within your right to politely ask why you’ve been stopped. If they have no reason, or if their reason is not clear, like “You looked suspicious,” then ask if you’re free to leave.
Without reasonable suspicion, or if you are not under arrest, a police officer has no authority to hold you or disallow you from leaving. Make sure you remain calm and reasonable throughout the entire encounter but stay firm with your rights. If they have no reason for stopping you, then you have no reason to continue speaking with them.
If the officer does have reasonable suspicion, like speeding, possible illegal activity, or a person actively running from a police officer, then they do have a right to stop you, whether you’re in a car or on the street. If they approach, give you a reason for their actions, then they may ask for identification. In some states, you are legally obligated to provide your name, as well as some form of identification, like your driver’s license.
If you are stopped in a car, then you will have to provide your driver’s license and registration papers for your car. Stay calm and rational throughout this process. Try not to give the officer reason to believe you have something illicit by hiding things, reaching for objects that he/she has not asked for, or being rude in general. A polite tone of voice can go a long way during police stops.
Normally, traffic or pedestrian stops do not end in searches or arrests. However, a police officer can legally search your car or person if you actively give them permission. For example, if an officer casually asks, “Mind if I take a look inside your glove box?”, you are well within your rights to refuse. Without a warrant or reasonable suspicion, you have no reason to say yes to them. Even if you have nothing to hide in your car, saying no to a search is the best option. Anything they find in your car, whether you knew it was there or not, is liable to be used against you, so avoid a search if possible.
In addition, the warrant rule also extends to your phone. If a police officer asks to search your phone and you say yes, then anything they find on your phone is available as evidence. If the police do not have reasonable suspicion or a warrant, they have no right to search your phone.
4. Keep a Record
Finally, feel free to keep a record throughout the entire stop. If you feel uncomfortable around an officer, or if you fear for your safety, you have the right to pull out your phone and begin recording. It is legal to record a traffic stop, just make sure that you place the phone somewhere that will not obstruct the officer’s view of your hands or your documentation. Having video evidence of any wrongdoing by a police officer is much more solid than your word.
Knowing your rights during any stop by an officer is the first step towards ensuring your safety and your freedom as a citizen. Remember that remaining calm and knowledgeable is the best way to go about any stop and that you have certain rights under the government that protect you from law authority.
If you’ve been arrested for drinking and driving, don’t panic! A DUI can come with serious consequences, even if you’re a first time offender.
But all is not lost.
Understanding your rights, the charges brought against you, and the court process is the first step to mounting a solid legal defense. Then, you can make an educated decision on how to proceed.
Keep reading to learn what vital steps you need to take before, during, and after your DUI arraignment, to ensure a positive outcome.
Even if you were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, you are innocent until proven guilty. You should be respectful and cooperative with police officers, but keep your legal rights in mind.
Never say anything that admits guilt or could be used to incriminate you. Remember, you have the right to remain silent until you have an attorney present to advise you.
This legal right includes field sobriety tests and breathalyzers, too. You are not required to submit to these tests, even if the police insist that you are.
You should discuss the details of your arrest with your lawyer and decide what plea to enter before appearing in DUI court.
An arraignment is part of the DUI court process. At this initial hearing, you will enter your plea, determining the next steps in your case.
If you plead “guilty” or “no contest,” the next legal step will be sentencing. If you decide to plead “not guilty,” you’ll have the opportunity to appear in court and challenge the prosecution.
Discuss the best defense with your attorney before deciding on what plea to make.
At your arraignment, the prosecution will present a written report from the police officers who arrested you. This will include the results of field sobriety, breathalyzer, or blood tests.
If there were any passengers in your vehicle at the time of arrest, they might be able to provide testimony in your defense. And, if you have a serious medical condition, it may have affected your sobriety tests.
Be sure to discuss these details with your lawyer ahead of your DUI arraignment.
Appearing in Court
Your attorney will plan and prepare your legal defense, and educate you on how to fight a DUI. But, some parts of the process are in your hands.
You should appear in court well dressed and on time. Remember, this is your opportunity to make a positive impression on the judge reviewing your case.
This also applies to how you speak during your arraignment. Good manners are a must, and you should maintain a respectful tone at all times.
Your lawyer will help you with what to say in court for DUI defense. Be sure to take this advice seriously and follow their instructions!
You may be asked to provide evidence and supportive information, like the police report from the time of your arrest. If you’re coming to court with paperwork, be sure that it’s organized and complete before your arrival.
No matter what happens, do not miss your court date. Failure to appear can result in fines and further legal consequences.
What Comes Next
Armed with this information, you should feel ready to face your DUI arraignment head-on.
Don’t forget that the best way to prepare for a DUI hearing is to hire an expert attorney as quickly as possible. The right legal professional will guide you through the court process, and help you move forward from this experience.
And, if you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, consider attending a rehabilitation course like Alcoholics Anonymous. This extra step may shorten your sentence and help you get your life back on track.
Read through our other blog posts for more helpful tips on dealing with police, DUI defense, and navigating the court system.
Are you ready to face the hate?
To win a DUI trial, you have to prepare yourself to enter into a world of negative emotions that surround drunk driving. Americans know all too well, the toll alcohol-related crashes, are taking on the country.
Every day, drunk drivers cost the lives of 29 Americans, averaging a total of 1 death every 50 minutes. In addition to the horrid loss of life, the annual expense of alcohol-related crashes is more than $44 billion.
Walking into the courtroom, it’s up to you to take your client out of the harsh light of the hate and paint a new picture for jurors. You’ll have to know how to fight emotion with emotion, while also dancing around any pre-trial case reveals. Read on to learn the top 3 tips for lawyers creating a solid DUI defense.
1. Emotional DUI Trial Statements
Your mission during the DUI trial should be to create a compelling case, that stirs up feelings in the jurors. When jurors can emotionally connect with your theory, you’ll be well on your ways towards a victory.
To create an emotional attachment between the jurors and your case theory, you’ll need to have a powerful 2 sentence statement. For example, let’s say the theory of your case is that law enforcement didn’t do their job properly.
Your compelling statement could be, “Officers on the scene ignore proper testing procedures, including administering the necessary breath tests. Furthermore, the government lab operated in a slapdash manner.” This 2 sentence statement uses words like, “ignore”, and “slapdash”, to emotionally drive the point home to jurors that law enforcement dropped the ball.
2. Create a Basic Strategy
Once you have a compelling theory to base your case on, you’re ready to make a basic strategy. Here are the components of a successful DUI trial strategy:
- Make it clear that it’s not certain your client’s guilty
- Link separate parts of the case together
- Be thorough in your jury selection
- Remember, cases are always about the matter at hand
You’ll want to start by making it abundantly clear that your case isn’t a routine procedure. Help the jurors find out more about how DUI laws operate in your state. Make sure they understand you’re representing your client because this is a special situation, and the driver’s guilt isn’t automatic.
3. Prepare for Pretrial Conference
It’s not uncommon for judges to want to quiz you as the defense attorney, during a pretrial conference. While you’re in the pretrial conference, the judge will ask things about what you’re defense is going to be. Since the prosecutor will be present at the conference, it’s a good idea to keep certain parts of your defense a secret.
You’re not allowed to lie to the judge, or refuse to answer their questions, so you’ll have to use wisdom when selecting your words. Let the judge know your defense involves confidential client communications. In most cases, a judge will respect the attorney-client privilege, and won’t push you to reveal any more of the defense strategy.
Win Your Case
Now you know a few of the best tips for winning a DUI trial. Emotionally connecting with jurors, and knowing how much to reveal about your strategy, gives you the best advantage in court.
It’s our goal to help readers, find the answers they need to get ahead in life. To learn about more ways to leverage knowledge for victory, check out the rest of this site.
Driving under the influence or DUI refers to the offense or crime of driving a motor vehicle while you’re impaired by alcohol or drugs (prescription or recreational drugs), in which you might potentially cause harm to yourself and other people.
A DUI conviction could significantly impact not only your finances but also your work and family life. That’s why it’s essential to know the next steps to take after your DUI arrest by hiring a DUI lawyer to fight a DUI case successfully.
In this post, you’ll learn some helpful tips from a Syracuse DWI lawyer on how to prepare for a DUI case.
Hire an Experienced DUI Lawyer
With any criminal case, the best person who can legally prepare you to handle a DUI case is a lawyer. Your DUI attorney will assess your case, so you can decide what plea is better if it’s a “guilty” plea or “not guilty.” Also, your lawyer will help gather and analyze substantial evidence with the help of expert investigators. That’s why it’s important to contact and visit a trusted DUI lawyer to seek legal advice.
Here are some ways that a DUI lawyer can help you:
- A DUI lawyer can represent you both in criminal court and DMV proceedings for a better outcome of your case.
- A DUI attorney can help you get more satisfactory results for your DUI case, like a plea bargain or case dismissal.
- A DUI lawyer can help minimize the time you need to spend in court because you don’t need to be present for court appearances with private counsel.
Proper Preparation for Defense
A part of proper preparation is discussing with your DUI defense lawyer is what plea you should enter. Your lawyer will be reviewing the facts of your DUI case to make the best decision. The next step to a “no contest” or “guilty plea” is sentencing. However, if you decide to enter a “not guilty” plea, you and your lawyer can test the evidence and proceed to a court trial.
Here’s how a lawyer can help you prepare for a court proceeding:
- Review Circumstances: Your DUI lawyer will help you remember the possible reasons why you were pulled over, specifically what the arresting officer stated as the reason why. Most pullovers are a result of disobeying traffic rules or being involved in a road accident or car crash.
- Review Details of the Incident: An experienced DUI lawyer will be asking you some questions to help you recall all the details of the event. Your lawyer might suggest writing down all the details in a piece of paper or notebook so you won’t miss anything.
- Prepare All Legal Documents: Your lawyer can help obtain the necessary evidence and legal documents to help you wit your DUI case. While the prosecution would be prepared with the Breathalyzer or blood sample test results, police report, and all other evidence, your lawyer can interview potential witnesses, like passengers or bystanders. Also, your lawyer can seek medical experts to prove that your medical condition could have probably affected the results of these tests.
- Mock-up Question: An experienced DUI lawyer knows how important a mock-up question is for a more successful case outcome.
Be Emotionally and Financially Prepared
A DUI arrest can be emotionally stressful. That’s why it’s important to prepare yourself emotionally. With the possibility of spending time in prison, you and your family also need to prepare financially, most especially if you’re the breadwinner of the family. That’s why hiring an experienced DUI lawyer is important, so someone can defend you and even help you pass through the involved emotional turmoil. Also, your lawyer can help speed up the legal process so you can get the best outcome for your case.
The emotional stages associated with a DUI case include shock and denial, fear and remorse, anger, depression, and acceptance of reality. An expert DUI lawyer can refer you to healthcare professionals to help you manage and develop positive coping mechanisms. Your lawyer will explain how the legal process works to properly set your expectations and prepare you to accept the facts and reality of your DUI case eventually.
When preparing for a DUI case, it’s important to seek the legal help of a dependable DUI lawyer right from the start. By doing so, you’ll be in a better position to make major decisions concerning your case, such as what plea to enter. A DUI attorney will help gather strong evidence to help you obtain a plea bargain or possibly case dismissal.
This can lead to a huge issue if one is not aware of state laws and citizen rights. One must know that one is innocent until proven guilty. To be able to prove oneself innocent, one must properly defend oneself, and this is only possible with employing the right and qualified DWI/DUI lawyer.
Having said that, choosing the right Defence Lawyer can be a daunting task, whichever state you may have been hauled up in. One must consider her or his customer service, affordability, dynamics between the parties and their success rate in such a case.
Here are somethings to be considered while choosing a DUI lawyer
- Only after grave research and study about previous clients, their prior client relationships and background should one select a DUI lawyer.
- Their response time and availability for issues related to the case must be considered.
- Check whether they specialize in only DUI cases or do they also handle other legal and defense cases. It is preferred to choose a specialist since their depth of knowledge will be great on the subject and related cases. They will be aware of loop-holes and ways around laws and regulations more than a generic lawyer.
- The past success rate, wins and the number of pled cases is also good to know.
- How long they have been in practice also adds to the depth of wisdom and experience.
- Cost and fee is another important factor to be considered.
The chemistry and trust one has with the lawyer and how they make one feel is also vital is selecting a DUI lawyer. Do they give one the feeling that they believe in the client and are willing to fight for the case with all their skills and ability? This can only be judged after a preliminary meeting that must be set up prior to the hiring process. They should be able to tell you why they are willing to represent the person and take the case.
One must be able to look beyond the pleasant and outer garb of the lawyer and read his or her personality before doing the hire. Since at a pitch meeting, they will be putting their best foot forward so they are selected. Too good may mostly be an untrue representation, so be vary. Be armed with questions to ask the lawyer at the pre-hire meeting. The regulations and laws for penalties under DWI are very strict in all states including Texas. Make sure to hire a good DUI lawyer to help in such a case. One must take enough time to seek out and select the lawyer since in legal matters extra precaution must always be taken.
When you’re facing a DUI charge, it’s important to have the right people in your corner. This will largely come down to finding an expert DUI lawyer who can fight your case and hopefully reduce or eliminate any punishments you could be facing.
But when you need representation from a DUI expert, what should you be looking for to make sure you hire the right DUI law firm for you?
When it comes to looking for a DUI lawyer, it’s important to know that they know the law in your state as well as they can. As well as thorough knowledge of state law, they’ll also be more familiar with the processes of your particular state. You want to look for a well-known firm in your area, with a range of similarly well-known and respected lawyers in their employ. You might look here, for example, if you were looking for a DUI firm in Los Angeles
On top of the fact that a local DUI law firm will have more knowledge of the way your state functions, there’s also the simple consideration that looking out of state for a law firm to represent you could increase your eventual costs. It might be that you’re looking for someone who’s successfully defended a string of high-profile cases and you’re looking for the best you can find from several states over. However, in many cases, local expertise could trump a lawyer brought in from out of state, while saving you money in the process.
A good history
In 2016, in California, 1,059 people died in drunk driving accidents.Because of the severity of the crime and the potential punishments involved, it’s important to know that you’re being represented by a firm you can trust.
Being represented by a lawyer who has a strong history of successful cases under their belt can be particularly reassuring when it comes to a DUI case. While you could hire a lawyer from any general law firm to represent you, there’s no guarantee that they would be as effective as a lawyer with several years of DUI specific law experience behind them.
What you want to look for is an ethical firm that’s been established in the DUI sector for a while now, as well as a firm that has a good track record of successfully defending DUI cases.
Cost is a key factor when it comes to finding the right firm. Unfortunately, some firms can be too expensive, while seem a little too cheap to be reputable and ethical.
Beating a DUI charge, only to spend $1,000s of dollars that you don’t have in doing so, can be a very risky and dangerous approach. As a rule of thumb, only hire what you can afford.
Size of firm
The size of the firm representing you might sound like an odd one to consider, but it is important all the same. Some firms might be far too busy to take on your case, while some might take your case and not give you the high-quality legal representation you deserve during your trial.
Ideally, what you’ll be looking for in a DUI law firm is a firm that’s quick to respond, patient and methodical when listening to your story, and eager to defend you as best they can.
While finding an agency that attentive might sound difficult, this is why it’s so important to do thorough research when going through this process. Spend too long looking for a firm, and you might inadvertently leave it too late to appeal a sentence; spend too little time looking for a firm, and you might rush into the first cheap first you find, only to be disappointed by the quality of what they provide for you.
First of all, let’s make it clear – when you drink, you do not drive. This means that you shouldn’t start making excuses after you have your first beer, knowing that you will be driving home later.
If you do so, that very excuse may get you into more trouble than you thought. Most of the time, bad excuses will just make the officer pulling you over be harsher on you. With the right DUI lawyer, you may be able to get yourself out of trouble – but there are some ways for you to prevent getting yourself into trouble in the first place.
Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we’ll talk about five DUI excuses that you should never make – naturally, besides driving drunk, as you mustn’t do that!
I Didn’t Know the Legal Limit
It doesn’t matter whether you are a foreigner or a local, this excuse is never going to work, and you might get yourself a lecture as well. It goes without saying that the officer is not to blame because you don’t know the law.
On top of that, knowing the limit is not the point here. You had a drink, and then you started driving when you shouldn’t have – DUIs are not given any exceptions. Keep this in mind!
I Am Sleeping It Off – I Know I Shouldn’t Be Driving
Many times, drivers would pull over on the side of the road and sleep their intoxication off. However, the law states that, while in control of a vehicle and under influence, you are committing a crime.
Naturally, this applies to when you pull yourself over as well. On top of that, the officer will easily realize that you drove for quite a few miles before you pulled over – while intoxicated.
Using this excuse means admitting to the DUI!
I Didn’t Want a Parking Ticket/Towed Vehicle
Come on – we already know this excuse is not going to work! The second you turn on the vehicle’s engine and start driving, even if it’s just to move your vehicle, you commit a DUI.
In short, avoiding a ticket or a towed vehicle is not enough reason for an officer to let you walk away!
I’ve Only Had Two Drinks
This is probably the worst thing you can say to an officer who is pulling you over. Keep in mind that alcohol affects people differently and you may be more intoxicated than you think.
Don’t try to guess your BAC after just a couple of drinks. This will only get you in more trouble!
I Live Close By – Just a Couple of Miles from Here
One might think that a five- or ten-minute trip while intoxicated won’t do any harm. Well, thinking so is very wrong – why?
Statistics show that most drunk driving accidents happen within only five miles away from the driver’s home. Distance won’t be taken into account – you will still be charged with a DUI!
The Bottom Line
Of course, stating that you can handle your liquor is simply the best excuse you can make while being pulled over. You may sound manly – since men use this one more – but you’ll still get a DUI and a fine!
In the end, the only thing you can do while still able to come up with excuses is not to speak and contact a DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Let them get you out of trouble, and don’t try any silly excuses!
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?
Read on to find out:
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.
6. Complete Your Probation
Even if your sentence doesn’t include any time in jail, you’re still given a probation sentence. The terms of this probation sentence are determined by the judge handling your case. If you fail to meet all the terms of your probation, there’s a chance you can spend some time in jail as a result.
The probation includes other expenses that you’ll need to pay. This might include a monthly fee to pay for all the costs associated with handling your case.
7. Drunk Driving School
In order to get your license back after a DUI conviction, you’ll more than likely have to complete an alcohol education program, sometimes referred to as “drunk driving school”.
During this course, you’ll undergo hours of drunk driving prevention education as well as learn skills to assess your current drinking habits and how they can improve.
Once again, there’s a fee to take these classes, but if you want to get your license back, it’s part of the process.
8. An Alcohol Evaluation
As part of the probation requirements and alcohol education program, a counselor might be assigned to you to help you determine if you have a problem with alcohol abuse.
If you are assigned a counselor, they’ll ask you questions about how your life is impacted by your alcohol consumption and what steps you need to take to get it under control.
9. Prepare to Pay Higher Automobile Insurance
If you’re convicted of a DUI, it will impact your auto insurance. You’ll need to acquire a special type of insurance called SR-22 before you can drive again.
Read more about this type of insurance and how to obtain it.
This insurance can double, sometimes even triple, the premiums. You’ll need to have this type of auto insurance in place for a minimum of 3 years.
Get Legal Help If You’re Facing DUI Charges
Now that you know a little bit about what happens if you get a DUI, make sure you’re protected legally from facing a sentence that is harsher than you deserve.
Find an attorney that is experienced in representing those who have been convicted of a DUI by browsing our extensive database. Our site helps you narrow down your search by specialty and location so you can find the best attorney for your needs.