Driving Under the Influence, or a DUI, is a serious matter. However, it is a common charge and one that can be fought. Police officers show no mercy when it comes to drivers who are driving under the influence, but that doesn’t mean you have to submit your rights. It’s crucial that you remember that a DUI does not solely mean driving when drunk or on drugs; it can also be issued to someone who is on certain medication. Therefore, it’s vital that you get the right professional help and know what will happen to you, for if you’re ever issued a DUI.
Be Prepared to be Arrested
The seriousness of the DUI crime varies from state to state. Be prepared to be arrested and booked if you are in many US states. You will be taken to the local police station in a police vehicle where you’ll be fingerprinted, and your photograph will be taken. What happens next depends on the state where you were arrested. In many states, it is the law that you are held until you’ve sobered up. Whereas in other states, you can go home if someone pays your bail and drives you to your house. When you’re arrested, you’ll be given a Summons or a ticket, which will have the details of when you’re to appear in court.
Appearing in Court
You will appear in court to face driving under the influence charges, where you have the option to plead not guilty and fight the case. Your best chance of beating the chances, though, will require the services of an attorney. Because this is a serious matter, you need to spend time finding the best DUI attorney in Orange County, or wherever you live. An attorney will be able to investigate the case, look at investigative items that may disappear with time, and they may wish to have you undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation.
Loss of Driving Privileges
If found guilty, you stand to lose your drivers license for a certain period. This applies even if it is your first conviction. Some states will allow restricted privileges, for example, you’ll be able to drive to work or school. It is possible to lose your license immediately if you refuse to take the field sobriety test or agree to a blood or breathalyzer test. Your car will also be impounded.
Losing your license is not the only price you’ll have to pay, and it is likely there will also be a fine for you to pay. Minimum and maximum fines are set by state law, and in certain circumstances, such as the endangerment of a child, these fines can be increased further. Jail sentences are also becoming mandatory in some states. For repeat offenders, the stretch behind bars can be more than just a few days.
There are various other penalties, such as increased insurance premiums, alcohol evaluations, drunk driving school and the installation of an ignition interlock device, which can tell whether you have an alcohol-free breath. The cost of a DUI can be high, however, there are ways to get the best sentence and outcome possible.
Drunk driving is a menace in the US, and almost 11,000 Americans are killed in car crashes in which the driver was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Although some states like Michigan has recorded a decline in drunken driving arrests over the past decade the number of car accidents and fatalities involving drunk driving is still high. The nation has to bear the cost of drunk driving that amounts to $199 billion a year, and it translates to $500 to $800 a year for a US adult. When you take to the wheels in an intoxicated condition, you are not only putting yourself at risk but also risking the lives of others. If you are arrested for drunk driving, be ready to face a lengthy legal process as you are booked under DUI or Driving under the Influence.
In such situation, hiring a well-known Denver DUI attorney is the only action that you should take because the lawyer becomes your savior. Life will never be the same again unless you can erase the scar marks of allegations of drunk driving slapped on you. Only the DUI lawyer can help to reduce the seriousness of charges and pave the way for bailing you out from crisis almost unscathed. You must know when and how to hire the DUI attorney because it can make a big difference in your life. It is the skill and expertise of the attorney that can save you from the broad side of law and help to lead a normal life without any worries of legal action.
It’s the job of a DUI attorney
When charged with DUI you have to act fast and must know the options available. Although DUI laws vary from state to state, the yardstick used for determining whether a person is intoxicated or not is the same. A person is ‘per se intoxicated’ if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is more than 0.08. When caught for drunk driving the state might charge you with violating more than just one law. Legal representation is essential for DUI cases, and you must take it very seriously as it could change the course of your life. Only a DUI attorney can understand the charges framed against you and advise the best solutions that could absolve you of the charges.
Fighting a DUI arrest entail a legal battle that you have to tackle with the help of the attorney. How to proceed in selecting a lawyer expert in DUI laws and what to consider when you are taking a decision would become clear on reading this article.
Prepare a short list of potential DUI attorneys
When you are looking for the best DUI attorney, make use of the various resources that are available. By referring to directories and contacts at the State Bar Associations and National Associations as well as taking into consideration some personal recommendations you can create a list of attorneys whom you should meet. Since it is a very major decision in your life, you should carry out due diligence just in the way you would do it for taking any other very serious decision.
Turn to the people you trust and request them for recommending the names of some DUI lawyers. If you come across some names that someone has firsthand experience of working with, it is perhaps the best one that you could get. You could gather information about the overall process, how the lawyer performed and how satisfying was the outcome. You can also know how much the process had cost although every DUI case is unique and not comparable on every parameter. If you know some other attorney whose service you might have availed earlier in some other case, you can ask for some reference. It could be an excellent resource if you locate a specialist in the criminal defense case.
Evaluate the attorneys in your list
Talk to each attorney in person to evaluate their qualifications, experience and track record. Look for a licensed attorney to represent your case and give preference to local persons as it is beneficial to hire a local attorney. The local attorney would be more familiar with the legal infrastructure and settings of the place because he or she might be visiting the courts regularly. The judges and prosecutors would also be familiar to the lawyer. Check the DUI experience of the attorney because it indicates the proficiency in handling such cases. Have a look at the ethical record of the attorney to ensure that there has never been any disciplinary action against him or her. For reviews about his work, you can check the social media profile of the attorney.
Have an interactive session with the attorney
To decide which attorney would suit you best, have an interactive session with each to understand how comfortable you would feel in working with them. Share all the facts of the case with the attorney in minute detail so that you get the best advice. Carry along with you all documents related to the DUI charges brought on you so that the attorney understands the violations done. Do not assume that the attorney would know about something that you do not inform him or her. During the exchange, talk about the experience of the attorney and what kind of performance record he has with respect to dismissing cases, bringing cases to trial and the total number of DUI cases handled. Most importantly, try to figure out whether the attorney would himself represent your case or might hand it over to some of his / her trusted aides.
The experience, ability, and performance of attorneys determine the fees, but you must be careful in deciding the fees in advance so that there are no surprises later. Attorney fees are negotiable, and it depends on your negotiation skills to settle the deal for a lower amount.
Doing extensive research to know more about attorneys should help you to locate the DUI attorney who can make life easy for you.
The red and blue lights flash before your eyes, and you hear three words that immediately make your heart feel as though it has just collapsed: “You’re under arrest.”
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a good time, but when drugs come into play, you’re playing with fire.
Like all criminal charges, in order to actually convict you the prosecutor must prove you committed a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Luckily there are many ways to fight drug charges. The best drug crime attorney defenses focus on ways to expose flaws or introduce doubts in the evidence required to convict you.
Should you get arrested on a drug possession charge, here’s a rundown of what you can expect and what you need to do.
Let’s get started.
Getting Arrested for Drug Possession
Possessing any quantity of illegal drugs, including ecstasy, LSD, methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin — and sometimes marijuana — is illegal in most U.S. states, counties, and cities.
Not only that but also it’s viewed as a federal crime.
Each jurisdiction has its own laws. However, depending on how much of a drug police found in your possession and how often you have been charged with drug possession, the situation could land you in prison for the rest of your life.
What Should You Do When You Are Arrested?
For starters, stay calm. There’s no need to panic just yet. After all, just because you are charged with drug possession doesn’t mean you are immediately guilty of this serious crime in Lady Justice’s eyes.
Of course, staying calm following a drug arrest can seem impossible. But reining in your emotions is paramount because an outburst from you may result in extra criminal charges, such as the obstruction of justice or resisting arrest. In addition, you could get hurt because police will have no problem using force to finally subdue you.
So, simply inhale and exhale, and allow the police to place their handcuffs on you. Then, be still as you take the ride to the police station.
Once you get to the station, you’ll get one phone call before being put in a jail cell. If you have a lawyer, make that telephone call count by contacting him or her. Otherwise, you can call a family member or friend, who can search for a lawyer for you.
Finally, to avoid having to remain in your jail cell during your entire case, request that the court set bail for you during your arraignment. At this type of court proceeding, you’ll hear all of the charges that have been filed against you, and you should also be prepared to enter a plea.
The judge can either deny you bail or grant you bail. If he or she denies you bail, there’s nothing you can do about that. Just stay in communication with your lawyer and follow his or her guidance.
What Should You Avoid Doing When You Are Arrested?
When you are first arrested, you may have to provide the police with identifying information, such as your name and age. Outside of that, it’s best that you keep your mouth sealed. After all, silence remains each arrested person’s inalienable right based on the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.
What if police begin to ask you questions related to your case? Simply tell them that you choose not to speak until a lawyer is present with you. Just be sure to respond in a respectful and direct manner to avoid getting on your arresting officer’s bad side, which certainly won’t help your cause.
Your right to keep silent following your arrest doesn’t apply only to the words you speak, however. They also apply to the words you write.
For this reason, it’s paramount that you avoid signing any document that authorities put before you. In addition, avoid writing down anything that may harm your case.
Also, try to avoid weaseling out of your drug arrest — for example, by attempting to bribe the officer arresting you. It won’t work. Bragging about yourself or dropping names will prove futile, too, and may, in fact, only result in embarrassment for you.
Not all drug possessions are equivalent. The severity of your drug charge depends on the types of drugs you are accused of possessing.
For example, Schedule I drugs are those that are easy to abuse and that do not have medical uses. These drugs, which carry the greatest danger, include the likes of marijuana, LSD, GHB, and heroin.
Schedule II drugs, on the other hand, do possess some recognized medical uses. These drugs include prescription medicines such as oxycodone and morphine, opium, methamphetamine, and cocaine.
Schedule III drugs are less likely to be abused and have many medical applications. These types of drugs include Vicodin, ketamine, and anabolic steroids, for example.
Meanwhile, Schedule IV drugs are predominately prescription medicines that are not likely to be abused. Examples of these drugs are Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, and Xanax.
Finally, Schedule V drugs are medicines with a low possibility of being abused. They typically feature small quantities of codeine or other narcotics.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
If you face a drug possession charge, your charge will be either a misdemeanor or a felony based on the amount and type of the drug involved, along with other factors.
These other factors, known as aggravated factors, include the following:
- Possessing a drug in a minor’s presence
- Possessing a drug near or in a facility used for drug treatment purposes
- Possessing a drug at a housing unit, in a pool, at a park or in another type of public place
- Possessing a drug near or on school grounds
- Repeat offenses
If you possessed a Schedule I drug, you will most likely face a felony charge.
A felony charge might also be possible if you were found with a Schedule II drug, particularly if you had a large amount in your possession. This is because the government immediately assumes that you were planning to distribute or sell drugs if you had a large amount with you.
Even if you were honestly planning to use the drugs personally, not sell them, government officials may still try to push for you to be convicted of a felony. Why? Because in their eyes, you posed a grave danger to your community.
A felony drug conviction will get you a harsher punishment than a misdemeanor will, with your punishment potentially including years in jail, a hefty fine and probation.
Defenses Against a Charge of Possession
Fortunately, in certain circumstances, you may be able to defend yourself against a charge of possession effectively.
For instance, perhaps you can demonstrate that you did not know that drugs were near you when police found them and arrested you. Perhaps you were driving your friend’s vehicle and did not realize that he had hidden drugs in his glove compartment.
In addition, let’s say police searched your car or your body without cause. If this happened, then the drugs they found in your possession cannot be used as evidence in court, as authorities violated your constitutional rights. In this situation, the court will dismiss your case.
Another possible defense involves claiming that a police planted a drug on you while searching you. This, however, can be challenging to prove.
Also, note that drug possession falls under two categories: constructive possession and actual possession.
The former refers to situations where defendants were in control of certain drugs even though they did not have these drugs in their possession when they were arrested. The latter refers to situations where defendants actually had drugs on them when they were arrested — such as in their pockets or purses.
The government must prove that you fit either of these categories before you can face a drug possession conviction.
Your Rights Following a Drug Arrest
If authorities claim that you committed a drug crime, it is within your right to go to trial to aggressively fight your charge. Prosecutors at trial must prove your charges beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard that exists with the goal of ensuring that if you are innocent of a drug crime, you don’t get punished for the crime.
However, let’s say that the weight of the evidence that prosecutors have appears to be heavy. In this case, it may be in your best interest to simply seek to plea bargain with the prosecution. This may lead to lighter charges and thus a more lenient sentence for you in the end.
Your attorney can assess your case and help you to determine the best course of action to take considering the unique circumstances surrounding your arrest. Attorney Daniel Stockmann of Nebraska says that for this reason, choosing the right attorney is critical. This attorney has constantly emphasized the importance of selecting both a knowledgeable and an experienced legal expert in cases involving drug crimes.
How We Can Help
We offer a comprehensive online attorney directory to help you find the right lawyer right away.
Our directory features over 300 attorneys nationwide, so you can easily find the ones closest to your location. In addition, our directory features attorneys in a wide range of categories, such as criminal defense, bankruptcy, employment, estate planning, immigration, personal injury and even family law.
In addition, we offer tips and advice regarding how to become a lawyer and how to navigate the legal/court system as a plaintiff or defendant in various situations.
Get in touch with us to find out more about how to fight for your best interests if you face a drug possession charge or other legal problems in your state.
So you got busted for a DUI and you are freaking out about what you should do. The first thing you should do is call an attorney. Let’s face it, getting pulled over for a DUI these days is not only a dumb move with Uber and Lyft, it’s an expensive journey to embark on as well. Making a call ASAP to hire a DUI attorney could be the smartest thing you’ve ever done.
Depending on what state you’re in you’ll probably have to fork out close to $10,000 before it’s all said and done. You’ll most likely also have to attend classes, community service, and possibly have an ignition interlock put on your car. The ignition interlock to those of you who aren’t familiar with it is a device that you blow into before you start your car. The device detects any alcohol in your system, and it won’t allow your car to start if there is any alcohol when you blow it.
You have a daunting road ahead of you, however, if you hire the right attorney to handle your case you will fare much better in the end.
What should you look for in a DUI Lawyer? First, you should research over the internet about lawyers in or around the city you were arrested in. Then, you should get the names and numbers of at least three to five of them and make calls to set up appointments. You’ll want to have a meeting with each lawyer to get to know a little about them and see if you have a good rapport with them also.
Now it’s time to make a decision on which man or woman is the best fit for you and your situation.
DUI Attorney Checklist
- Do you feel comfortable with them?
Having good chemistry with your lawyer will go a long way in assuring the best result for you.
- Do they know the court or judge?
You’ll want to confirm that the lawyer has a history in the exact court your case will be heard in.
- Do they have a good track record?
It is also extremely important to make sure the lawyer you choose has a good track record within the court. This should guarantee you great results on whatever decision the prosecutor and judge decide to render you.
- How much do they cost?
You have to go into this situation knowing you will be shelling out a lot of cash. However, you don’t always need the most expensive attorney to attain a great result in court. So chose wisely here. Again this will depend on what state you’re in and the size of your case. Things like how much alcohol you had on your breath? Was this your first offense? Did you cause an accident, and so on. These will determine how much the DUI attorney will need to charge you for their representation.
Remember, simply being proactive in your current situation will make a huge difference in the next two years of your life following a DUI arrest.
When the police pull a person over, they are breathalyzed and charged with a DWI; it seems like an impossible situation to “get out of”.
While, most drivers will not get away with it scott-free; there have been some pretty unbelievable cases of people who were clearly guilty of driving with a high BAC getting the proverbial slap on the wrist. This miracle is usually the result of the driver hiring a top DWI attorney that is knowledgeable about the laws in the specific state and region of arrest.
Leverson Budke Criminal Defense
295 Marie Ave E #240
St. Paul, MN 55118
The United States are uniform with regards to DWI law in that the legal limit for alcohol in the blood stream while driving is .08. This is approximately 2 standard sized drinks in an hour depending on weight and gender.
Other than that, each state has its own unique set of DWI laws. States like Minnesota have relatively lenient DWI laws. So much so, that a man was arrested in October, 2017 for driving while intoxicated for the 28th time in his life. Worse yet, he had a valid driver’s license. Issues like this have led to a call to action for Minnesota revamping their DWI laws.
Stricter states like New York can and will revoke a license indefinitely after three DWI’s within a certain period of time.
I Got Drunk After I Was Driving
An affirmative defense to a DWI charge is exactly what it sounds like. A Defendant is “affirming” that they were drunk and behind the wheel but they are defending their actions with some kind of reason.
There are only two affirmative defenses to a DWI in Minnesota.
The first affirmative defense is that the alcohol was consumed after driving and before the breathalyzer was given. In this situation, the Defendant is saying, “Yes, I was impaired, but not while I was driving”. The Defendant must prove that they drank enough after driving and within two hours of when they were behind the wheel to cause a high BAC.
An example of a scenario like this may be if a person got into an accident and then went inside and had a few drinks while waiting for the police to arrive (not likely). The police would see that the person is drunk and issue a DWI. If it can be proven that the suspect was not drunk when they were driving and they got drunk afterward then the suspect may be free of criminal liability.
The second affirmative defense in Minnesota is for being under the influence of prescribed medication. This defense is basically saying, “Yes, I was impaired but the doctor gave me these pills”. The inherent problem with this defense is the fact that every bottle of pills that could possibly impair a person comes with a clear warning to not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking.
There are several other defenses and legal maneuvers for DWI charges. Only an attorney could possibly know what laws to use and how to apply them to a specific case.
Are you facing an underage DUI charge?
In most states, any drivers under the age of 21 and with a blood-alcohol count over .02% can be cited for a DUI.
Aside from the monetary fines, those accused can face a license suspension of one year or more and sometimes even vehicle impoundment.
Drivers may also be required to attend drug/alcohol classes as well as a number of community service hours.
If the offense is a more serious or reoccurring offense, this can also result in jail time.
It’s no surprise that driving under the influence below age 21 presents a unique set of legal issues. However, an underage DUI charge doesn’t have to ruin your life.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re facing an underage DUI charge:
Contact a DUI Defence Attorney
First things first, the single most important step a driver facing a DUI can take is to contact a DUI defense attorney.
While most may first assume to contact their family lawyer, it’s in the driver’s best interest to hire a lawyer that specifically deals with impaired driving charges.
Because we are dealing with high-stress situations, it is imperative to contact your lawyer as soon as the potential for charges exist.
From the beginning, the lawyer will be able to provide you with the knowledge of how to make the best-informed decisions on how to proceed.
High-stress situations often result in immediate panic and stress for the driver. A DUI defense attorney will help to reduce stress and anxiety from the minute the call is placed.
From that moment forward, you will be working alongside your attorney to prove the best possible result.
Without an attorney, this battle is almost always won by the courts. And, considering the effect this one mistake might have on the rest of your life, it is always in your best interest to have to best representation possible.
This is especially the case for more conservative states such as Texas that are governed by more strict drinking and driving laws. For those seeking representation in Texas, DWI attorney in Houston provides the means necessary to maximize your chances of success.
Document Your Night
As soon as you are charged with an underage DUI, it is important to take notes and document everything that happened the night you were arrested.
Considering the high-stress environment, it’s not uncommon to forget small, yet important details that may later help your situation.
This can include things such as where you were, how many drinks you had, the time that passed between your last drink and when you got arrested, etc.
More specifically, be sure to document everything you remember about being pulled over and arrested. This includes:
- The speed you were going before being pulled over
- The way in which the officer interacted with you
- Whether your Miranda Rights were read to you
- Whether your car was missing any crucial parts -taillights, license plates, etc.
If seemingly abiding by the law, having these details documented may help your attorney prove that the officer had no reason to pull you over.
This can help to account for the fact that underage drivers are often pulled over more than other categories of people.
This documentation is the best way to help your attorney to prepare for any charges that you might be facing. And, the sooner these notes are made after the arrest, the more reliable they will be in the eyes of the court system.
Be Careful in What You Say
The first and most important thing to consider when communicating with the police is to be friendly and co-operative.
Remember, it is their primary job to keep the community safe and out of harm’s way. That being said, resist the temptation to be angry or accusatory as this is sure not to work in your favor.
Take a deep breath and remain calm. Sometimes these are routine checks and police simply make mistakes. Whether you believe you are guilty or innocent, it is important to be considerate and aware of everything that you are saying.
Remember, if you are stopped and accused of impaired driving, the police will hold everything that you say under very close scrutiny. This means that everything you say or do has the power to be held against you in court.
In all likelihood, the officer will try to engage you in conversation that will provide the officer with enough reason to arrest you and get you off the road. Have your attorney provide you with advice as to when or when not to engage with the officers.
Prepare for Trial
Work alongside your attorney to prepare for your upcoming trial. Together, you will determine how you plan to plead and handle the various questions and accusations.
Consider that you will likely have to attend a number of hearings. To best prepare, be sure that you understand the purpose of the specific trial that you are attending. It’s also helpful to know what exactly the judge has to prove in order for you to face your penalties.
It’s best to be prepared for the results that may be pending. That being said, discuss with your lawyer the possible outcomes and what, specifically, may lead to each of those outcomes.
If you feel that the case is unlikely to result in your favor, consider what you can do to prove you are serious about correcting the issue.
You can show that you do not take this offense lightly by volunteering to attend classes such as Alcoholics Annonymous and rehabilitating yourself.
Lastly, it is important to dress well and represent yourself in the best light possible.
The reality of the situation is that the judge is trying to determine whether or not you are likely to offend again. Presenting yourself in the best, most professional way possible is sure to help your case.
You Don’t Have to Face an Underage DUI Alone
While DUI charges can result in serious punishment, we understand that young drivers make mistakes. We firmly believe that you should not have to spend the rest of your life paying for one mistake, which is why you should hire an attorney like Cannon Law Texas.
As we know, the driving under the influence laws varies from state to state. That being said, some states are more conservative than others and have less leeway in dealing with these charges.
In more conservative cities such as Houston, driving while intoxicated can impose a variety of penalties and can even result in jail time.
But, rest assured, all does not have to be lost when facing a DUI. It may seem like the end, but when you work alongside a DUI attorney, they are with you every step of the way. This is not something you have to face alone.
Everyday, people throughout the world get into their cars and drive after drinking alcohol or doing drugs. As long as they make it home safely, most people shrug it off, thinking that it isn’t a big deal. In fact, however, getting behind the wheel when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol not only puts your own life at risk – but also the lives of everyone you encounter on your way home.
It simply isn’t worth the risk – both from a safety standpoint and a legal standpoint. All you have to do is make the decision to call a cab for a ride home rather than trying to drive yourself. Doing so could save your life or the life of someone around you. Even if you are an experienced driver, alcohol and drugs can interfere with your judgment and motor skills, significantly impairing your ability to operate your vehicle safely. The best decision that you can make is to avoid getting behind the wheel, opting instead to get a ride from someone else.
Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are illegal in every state. Law enforcement officials won’t cut you a break if they pull you over and find that you have been drinking. Instead, you will be immediately arrested and charged, leading to a legal nightmare that can take months or years to sort out.
Driving Under The Influence (DUI)
If you are pulled over while driving a vehicle and your blood-alcohol level (BAC) is above your state’s legal limit, you could be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Prosecutors take these charges seriously, meaning that you will be prosecuted to the full extent that the law allows in your area. Although the penalties are stiffer for repeat offenders, first-time offenders also face severe consequences. For instance, along with losing their driver’s license for up to a year, they could also be forced to participate in an alcohol abuse program on an outpatient basis. In addition, they are put on probation for a period of time after the event. Repeat offenders who get more than one DUI face even stiffer penalties, often resulting in jail time or the permanent loss of their driver’s license.
Although there are state-by-state variations in the types of punishments that are used, they all are extremely serious and can have a major impact on your life. If you happen to kill someone while you are driving under the influence of alcohol, you will find yourself facing vehicular manslaughter charges. In that case, you better start looking for the best DWI attorney Houston Texas has to offer.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Driving while intoxicated also refers to the act of driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content level that is above the legal limit for the state where the vehicle is being driven. If you are suspected of driving while intoxicated and are pulled over, you will be put through a series of tests to determine whether or not you are legally intoxicated. These tests can include a roadside breathalyzer test, a blood test, and a field sobriety test. DWIs carry extremely stiff penalties and can negatively impact your life. Typically, these penalties include losing your driver’s license for a specific period of time, being forced to attend a program that focuses on alcohol treatment and possibly even facing jail time.
Making A Smarter Choice
Accidents involving DUIs are responsible for killing approximately 12,000 people each year. Even more staggering is the fact that more than 900,000 arrests involving DUI or DWI are made on an annual basis. Repeat offenders account for nearly 1/3 of these arrests. Although these figures have dropped significantly in the past two decades, there is still work to be done. While law enforcement officials play an important role, every individual also has a responsibility to do their part to make a difference. Making the simple choice to never drink and drive is the best way to avoid getting in trouble and to keep from causing harm to yourself or anyone else.
Driving impaired is nothing to joke around with. Every day there are about 800 people injured because of a drunk driving crash.
When this happens, the person at fault is arrested. But how do we know for which offense?
There’s a difference between DUI and DWI. But not many people understand it. In short, they both mean the same thing but it’s the state that decides which offense the person is dealt with.
That’s why we’ll go over the difference in detail. Ready to find out?
Take a look.
What is a DUI
DUI stands for driving under the influence. It’s a term we’re all familiar with, whether we’ve experienced it firsthand or heard it on TV.
All it means is that someone was driving erratically. In some states, you’ll get slapped with a DUI if you’ve consumed alcohol and/or drugs and you’re driving out of control. Other states may not recognize this offense and instead will charge you with a DWI instead.
The reason some states acknowledge it and others don’t is because they do mean the same thing. It’s anytime anyone is driving with a large amount of alcohol or drugs in their system.
Some states have gone so far to where they’ve lumped the two terms together. So, it doesn’t matter if a person was driving wildly or if they’re driving fine. But it depends if they have a high blood alcohol content.
If you are caught and charged with a DUI, you may be required to take DUI classes. This is where you’ll learn the rules of the road again. Depending on how severe your charge is, classes can last anywhere from a day to a few weeks.
What is a DWI
DWI is an acronym for driving while impaired. But the difference between DUI and DWI is that impaired driving doesn’t only relate to alcohol. Those who consumed drugs are at fault too.
Whether it’s illegal drugs or ones that are over-the-counter if they impair your ability to drive you will be charged.
The arresting officer can still have you take a breathalyzer test. But if they determine you’re impaired in some way, other than alcohol, they can call in a Drug Recognition Expert.
This person will then give you a series of tests to complete. If you fail, you can be arrested.
So, even if you have no alcohol in your system whatsoever but still seem uneasy, you can be charged with a DWI. Again, it depends on the state you live in.
But almost always, they recognize drugged driving as impaired driving. With that being said, you may be recommended to a substance use treatment center, especially if it’s your first offense.
The second or even third time, you may be apprehended.
Wrapping Up on the Different Between DUI and DWI
To put it in simpler terms, DUI is based on driving behavior while DWI is based on BAC or lack thereof. But no matter what, both of these terms are no laughing matter. Each comes with a serious offense that could land you in jail for years.
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Every year, around 1 million drivers are arrested and charged with a DUI. Whether you’re guilty or not, this can be an overwhelming hurdle to face. You’ll be heavily fined, could do jail time, and be made to take DUI classes.
DUI classes are usually part of a restorative justice approach where judges assume, once informed of the risks, people are less likely repeat their mistakes. These classes can be informative to drivers who were improperly trained. They can also highlight risks that some drivers may not have previously considered.
If you’re new to having to take court-mandated classes, we’ve put together a guide to tell you everything you need to know about taking classes after your DUI.
Know the Types of Classes
The type of class you are assigned to depends on how long you’ve been using drugs or alcohol and how severely. If this is your first time, you’ll get a short program that might take a day or two. After a few hours, you’ll have completed your duty.
You might find that you’ll learn more about DUIs than you expected.
If you are arrested with an extremely high blood-alcohol level, you might end up taking a longer and more intensive course over a few weeks. Even if you didn’t have a high level, your DUI lawyer might recommend you go to ease your sentence.
Know What’s Required
Short courses will often only require your attendance for a few hours. You’ll hear anecdotes, cover some statistics, and will be able to leave without submitting any tests or follow-ups.
Longer classes will entail random or regular drug and alcohol testing. You’ll be required to be sober for the duration of the class. Failure to show up on time could come with consequences as well.
Know How to Schedule
You might face several hurdles to attending your class. Be considerate of your child care needs before the class begins. Your license might be suspended during the length of the course, so you might have trouble arranging transportation.
If you fail to attend your class, you could face parole or time in jail. Be sure you’ve crossed all of your Ts before the day of your class.
Know How You Can Benefit
Shorter DUI classes near me can educate you on how you could end up in that DUI situation again and how you should avoid it. Longer classes will show what alcohol does to your body and health benefits to better control over your alcohol and drug intake.
Representatives from groups like NA and AA will speak to you and tell you how you can get involved in a local chapter.
Know What Really Goes On
Your class might not be as dry and boring as you expect. You’ll probably be engaged and expected to be attentive. People who teach these classes won’t have a lot of tolerance for disrespect, latecomers, and rule breakers.
They usually work on a tight schedule and will expect you to respect them and the other members of the class by helping to make the day go by quickly.
DUI Classes Could Be Enlightening
If you’ve never heard some of the facts and figures around how dangerous driving under the influence can be, you might be in for a surprise. Your class could offer lots of information that might help you make different decisions the next time you’re out having fun with friends.
DUIs can be costly. On average they range from $5,000 to $12,000, but can be much higher depending on the state. For example, California DUI laws add additional penalties that can push total fees and costs up to nearly $27,000.
Hiring a solid DUI lawyer may well be the difference between keeping a license and not. With stakes this high, you need to be hiring the right attorney that can help represent you robustly.
While avoiding fees and keeping a license are important incentives, keeping a DUI off your record tops the list of reasons to hire a lawyer. A record creates risks to your insurance costs, job prospects, and reputation.
Knowing what to look for and how to choose between attorneys in your area may seem daunting. To help guide you through the process read through this handy list of tips.
Hiring a DUI Lawyer
When you hire a lawyer you are hiring a representative for your interests. To that end, the attorney you hire should fit well with your personality and goals. There was a time when hiring a lawyer was about asking around who might know someone, but today the internet is filled with lists.
Sites like USAttorneys provide great resources for understanding elements of the law. They also provide registries and lists of attorneys to get you started on your search. We try to provide a mix of advice and listing ourselves.
Read through the following 8 tips to gain a better understanding of what the process of hiring a DUI lawyer entails.
We’ve broken these down into three sections.
- Selection Tips
- Consultation Tips
- The Decision
Selecting a DUI lawyer starts with understanding the qualifications of the prospective lawyer. The most important questions follow.
Does the lawyer specialize or have expertise in DUI. Lawyers work in many different fields and most cover more than one category or topic. The major divide in law is between civil law and criminal law.
Because DUI falls under criminal statutes, you will want to look for a lawyer that works more with criminal cases than civil.
Look for a lawyer in the state you need to be represented in. Laws can be very different from state to state.
Look for testimonials and information about previous cases. This can tell you more than a statistic on wins and losses. Knowing how people felt about the relationship and the process of working with an attorney will give you an idea of whom will fit well with you.
Relationship with Prosecutors
Outside of experience, this question seeks to understand how prosecutors view the DUI lawyer you may want to work with. A good relationship with the court shows a professionalism and the virtue of the adversarial system of law.
A lawyer that has a bad standing with the local prosecutors and police may find their clients unduly prejudiced against. It may also represent a lack of professionalism or a penchant for poor legal tactics.
Size of Firm
Finally, understanding the size of the rim, and the amount of cases they work on is important. This shows how much time and attention can be spent on your case.
This isn’t a one size fits all specialty, though. A small firm with fewer cases can offer a more direct interaction with you. A larger firm may have more time but they may also hand off parts of the process to legal aides and clerks.
Chose the firm that fits your comforts and that gives you the right amount of attention.
These questions focus on what to do when you have a conversation with a DUI lawyer. These questions aim to find out how well the lawyer will fit with you and how much personal attention you will receive.
These questions also help to make the choice about your comfort and not just the numbers of wins and losses.
The most important question keeps more to the numbers than the personal interests. The best fit for you, unfortunately, starts with the fit that you can afford. While hiring a DUI lawyer will be cheaper than the expense of a conviction, you will still want to work within a budget to prevent further problems for you and your family.
Assessment of Case
Lay out the details of your case. Work honestly and bring all the paperwork you have access to. The lawyer can’t make a good recommendation on your chances if you are not honest.
This also gives you a good idea of how the lawyer views you and the case. A lawyer that seems disinterested in the details may be a bad fit for you.
Comfort and Confidence
This question brings in that human touch the strongest. A DUI lawyer may be less confident in their ability to win the case but match your personality. They may be enthusiastic about your chances but rub you the wrong way.
How you appear in court can make a difference in the end result, so you want to hit a solid note on both of these. The result effects you the most, so make sure you feel right before committing to a lawyer.
Make the Decision at Home
Which brings us to the final tip. Don’t make a final decision about which lawyer to go within the moment. Take a moment to think it over at home and come to a final decision.
This avoids feeling like you are being sold by a lawyer. This also shows a level of professionalism from the DUI lawyer. Anybody that needs an immediate response may be too much in a rush, and not thinking enough about your needs.
Interested in Law?
Read more about other legal information and insights at our blog. If you find this information helpful and want to know more about legal options in your area we offer topic lists for easy searching.
Hiring a lawyer usually becomes necessary at low points in life. It can feel like the world is against you and making choices becomes difficult. Like in most things in life, the more you know, the better off you will be.