When you get a DUI, the next few years of your life are determined by the competency of your lawyer. Their ability to research, argue, and negotiate your case could keep your DUI off your record – or send you to prison.
How do you make sure you have the right DUI lawyer by your side?
Here’s what everyone facing a DUI charge needs to know
How to Start the Search for a DUI Lawyer
Your first stop should always be with a lawyer with plenty of experience or even expertise in DUI cases. That means you’ll need a criminal lawyer licensed to practice in your state who advertises experience in drunk driving cases.
Once you have a list of DUI lawyers, start looking at their testimonials. Why are testimonials important? Win or loss rates don’t tell you much on their own. They’re just numbers. You also want to know what kinds of cases they win and how past clients feel about working with that attorney.
For example, is the attorney winning open-and-shut cases, or are they taking on difficult cases and winning? Testimonials can answer that question for you.
When Is It Time to Make a Decision?
By now, you have a short-list of potential DUI lawyers who can help you out of this tight spot. Are you ready to make a decision? Not yet.
Your next step is to take your top choices’ free consultations and meet with them. You should ask questions, listen for concrete answers, and take notes to compare later.
How do you know who is ready to help? An experienced DUI attorney committed to winning will give you straight, honest answers and prepare you for the most likely scenarios.
How Do You Deal with Legal Fees?
Everyone wonders what to do when you get a DUI, but more importantly, you wonder how to pay for it.
The best DUI attorney for you is always the one you can afford. It’s important to hire representation who won’t cost your family more than a conviction might, especially if the state has a weak case against you.
Cost is an essential factor, but it isn’t everything. You should compare the fees of each attorney you interview not only with other attorneys but weigh them against their competency.
Remember: everyone has a right to a lawyer in a criminal case. So if you genuinely can’t afford a lawyer, you might qualify for pro bono work or legal aid. You can get in touch with your local legal aid office to learn more.
Find the Right DUI Lawyer
Finding the right DUI lawyer can be the difference between the future you imagined for yourself and years of struggling to regain your life.
The good news is that you can find the right person to help if you follow the right strategy. Always ask for multiple opinions and quotes – and never decide to sign with a DUI attorney while sitting in their office.
Are you facing DUI charges? You can find more tips on our blog or by entering “DUI” in our search tool.
Everyone should all know that getting behind the wheel after too many drinks is dangerous.
But in 2018, 1,001,329 drivers chose to drive under the influence. That equals one out of every 227 licensed drivers in America.
What happens if you get in an accident while drunk? You will be arrested, pay hefty fines, and may even serve some time in jail.
Keep reading to learn more about what happens after a DUI accident.
What Happens If You Get in an Accident While Drunk?
Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) means the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle was impaired at the time of the incident. Alcohol, recreational drugs, and prescription drugs are common causes of a DWI crash.
Operating a vehicle while intoxicated puts you, your passengers, and anyone else in the road in danger. Every day, almost 30 people in the US die from drunk-driving crashes.
That being said, DUI accidents have hefty legal and financial penalties. Let’s review what can legally happen if you get in an accident while drunk.
Most first-time DUIs are categorized as misdemeanors. If you receive a second DUI, it’s usually listed as a felony. These rules may vary based on the state and jurisdiction in which the crash occurred.
DUI charges lead to court hearings and fines. First-time DUI convictions range from $390 to $1,500. Multiple offenders receive penalty assessment fees that can increase the fine by three times. You can also expect your insurance premium to skyrocket after being convicted for a DUI.
Reckless driving is a criminal conviction in which the driver did not consider or care for the safety of the people and property around them.
Reckless driving charges are administered in a DUI case when something is damaged or someone is hurt from intoxicated driving.
Reckless driving includes a fine, which adds to your original DUI payment. Reckless driving may show up in a background check, so it can prevent jobs in the future. It also raises your insurance premiums, as providers view you as a liability on the road.
Driving to Endanger
Driving to endanger means you were purposely trying to jeopardize someone’s life. It is a criminal charge that is often given to people involved in DUI car accidents.
Driving to endanger charges stay on your record for years. It adds points to your license and often comes with a $500 fine or higher. Most states suspend licenses for a minimum of 30 days following a driving to endanger conviction.
Negligent homicide is categorized as the unintentional but careless killing of another individual.
Drivers involved in fatal DUI collisions will face negligent homicide charges, which is a Class A felony. The conviction is made if the driver was intoxicated and unfit to operate a vehicle at the time of the accident.
Negligent homicide means six months to ten years in jail.
What to Do If You Get Into an Accident While Drunk
First, cooperate with the authorities. Their priority will be to help those with injuries and call for further assistance. If you do not have serious injuries and can stand, walk away from the vehicle, and sit somewhere safe.
While intoxication may make it difficult, comply with police officer’s requests. Do not argue with the authorities.
If the officer suspects you are intoxicated, he or she will have you blow into a breathalyzer. If your BAC level is above the legal driving limit in your state, the officer will arrest you.
The DUI Arrest Process
Police will drive you to the nearest police station or jail. You will receive a mug shot and be fingerprinted.
During this time, an investigator will ask about the events leading up to the crash. They will inquire if you ingested drugs or alcohol. You will have the opportunity to contact an attorney if you feel you have been wrongly accused.
If someone comes to bail you out, you can leave jail immediately.
Some states, however, require a minimum jail time after a DUI. Some stations may also hold people longer based on past criminal convictions and the severity of your intoxication.
For repeat DUI offenders, expect at least 24 hours before bail is posted.
DUI Courts and Civil Lawsuits
At some point during your arrest, the police will give you a court summons. It will list the date and time of your DUI court appearance.
DUI sentences are settled in court. You have the right to hire your own DUI Car Accident Lawyer. If not, the court will appoint one to your case.
Keep in mind officers have dashboards and bodycams to record arrests. If you deny DUI charges or fight the case, these videos may be used to prove your intoxication.
During your court hearing, remain calm and respectful. Answer questions to the best of your ability and always tell the truth.
If the court deems you guilty, the judge will state your charges, fines, and punishment.
After Your DUI Charge
DUI charges result in a loss of driving privileges in every state. First-time offenders may have their license revoked for thirty days, while multiple DUI holders may permanently lose their driving privileges.
In the coming months following your DUI charge, you will be expected to pay all DUI-related fines. The penalties may include court fees and property costs for damages incurred during the accident.
Those with jail time will receive their sentence. First-time offenders may face 72 hours in prison, while repeat offenders may be locked away for months.
Many states incorporate community service into DUI punishments. Do your best to complete the programs as quickly as you can, which improves your standing with the court. Refusing to comply with judge-ordered service can result in jail time and extra fines.
Explore More Legal Topics
Now that you know what happens if you get in an accident while drunk, stay safe on the road. If you get into trouble, contact a local and reputable attorney to guide you through the process.
If you’re looking for more information on DWIs and other legal implications, browse our blog.
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.
Drunk driving is a concept that most of us understand as wrong, but it’s still something that’s incredibly common. In 2016, alcohol-impaired crashes accounted for 28 percent of all traffic deaths (around 10,500 people).
It’s no small wonder that if you are caught drunk driving, then you are very likely to be charged with a crime. In most states, this crime is known as a DWI.
A DWI charge is serious, and even if you get leeway with your first one, these charges and convictions grow progressively worse. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with a DWI
What is a DWI Charge?
A DWI charge refers to “driving while intoxicated,” and it usually specifically refers to driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that impairs your driving.
While the term is used widely, each state has its own definitions of a DWI charge. So, you should refer to your DMV or state attorney general if you want a specific description of the impaired driving laws in your state.
Many people believe that you can only receive a DWI charge if you have a BAC over the legal limit. This isn’t true in all jurisdictions. While a BAC of 0.08 will earn you a DWI charge almost every time, you can get a DWI with a 0.07 or even a point 0.06.
In some cases, you can receive a DWI for failing a field sobriety test or generally being impaired. For example, if you drive while extremely tired and after having a beer and you get pulled over, you can face DWI charges.
DWI vs. DUI: What’s the Difference?
A DWI refers to driving while intoxicated and a DUI stands for “driving under the influence.”
Often, a DUI can refer to either drunk driving (under the influence of alcohol) or drug driving, under the impairment of drugs (including prescription drugs).
Like the use of DWI, the way a DUI charge comes about depends on the state. Some states use the terms interchangeably, and some assign specific crimes.
It’s best to check the definition for each state if you’re curious.
You should also remember that you can get a DUI without being drunk. In fact, you can get slapped with a DUI charge even if you have no alcohol or drugs in your system.
What About an OUI?
If you live in Maine, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island, then your state uses the term OUI, which refers to operating under the influence.
Even here, the different jurisdictions within each state decide whether they use the OUI or OWI (operating while intoxicated).
The definitions are largely similar, but it’s still important to check with your city or state to see how they deal with these cases.
Is a DWI Charge a Felony?
The answer is yes, but not always.
Most states consider first – and even second – DWI arrests to be a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors come with lesser penalties, including lower fines and less jail time. Some states like Texas will also allow you to defer the crime by pleading guilty. In exchange for the plea and other stipulations, the state keeps the DWI off your record, unless or until you commit a second DWI.
You then enter felony territory after your third DWI arrest.
When is a First DWI a Felony?
Being charged with a DWI is almost always a felony when the crime goes beyond getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.
States typically sanction you for:
- Having a BAC over 0.15
- Driving with a child in the car
- Getting into an accident
Very often, these mean that you not only face a felony DWI charge but also additional charges that come with higher fines and potentially even a prison sentence.
How to Defend Yourself from a DWI Charge
When you’re charged with a DWI, you have the right to defend yourself in court.
This is particularly important if you weren’t intoxicated or if you were the subject of an illegal stop.
What are the most common defenses? Here are a few:
1. Faulty Equipment
Breathalyzers and other DWI-related equipment fail at an alarming rate. They also need to be perfectly calibrated to enjoy any sense of reliability.
If the arresting officer predicates the charge solely on the breathalyzer test, then this can be a helpful argument.
2. Illegal Stop
You don’t have the right to drive under the influence of alcohol, but you do have the constitutional right to avoid illegal search and seizure.
In order for a police officer to pull you over, they need probable cause. They can’t pull over your car because of how you look – it’s illegal.
If you believe you were targeted by the police for a reason unrelated to your behavior, then you can potentially make the argument that the stop was illegal.
In the case that the judge finds the stop was unlawful, then the charges no longer apply.
3. Improper Testing and Storage
Because breathalyzers and field sobriety tests can be so inaccurate, police must arrange a blood alcohol sample quickly if they arrest you.
The test needs to come from a reliable and licensed lab and phlebotomist.
If the police use someone untrained or unlicensed, or they wait for hours to test your BAC, then this can be a potential defense.
Additionally, all relevant samples are then evidence. They must be properly stored and maintained – all within the chain of custody – to serve as evidence in your case.
If your sample was mislabeled or contaminated, then it’s not a suitable sample for evidence. The judge may rule to exclude the evidence, which is often the primary evidence for your case.
Were You Charged with a DWI?
Although having a beer and getting behind the wheel is still common in many parts of the country, it is dangerous. So, it’s no surprise that a DWI charge – even as a first offense – is appropriately serious.
Several states provide some leeway to specific first offenders, but once you receive your second DWI charge, you have a much bigger fight and a potential felony record in front of you.
Did you learn something from this article? We’ve got more great content in our Lifestyle archive.
Have you ever gotten behind the wheel when you know you shouldn’t? Over 1.5 million individuals get arrested for driving while intoxicated every year. This includes those caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you are a part of this statistic, then you’re likely in need of some DWI help.
How should you handle your arrest? Should you plead guilty or fight the charges? Do you need a lawyer? Get the answers to all these questions and more below.
1. Analyze Your Arrest
If you got charged with a DWI, then police likely stopped you while you were driving. The authorities may have given you a sobriety test or a breathalyzer.
Either way, you found yourself in the backseat of a cruiser on your way to jail.
The best thing you can do first is to comply. There’s no sense in trying to argue with the officers who arrested you or those booking you. If you do, then it may make your situation worse.
When you have a clear mind, you need to analyze what happened. Start thinking about what happened during the arrest from start to finish. Were your rights violated? Did you cause an accident or violate traffic laws to cause the stop?
Be honest with yourself — were you intoxicated?
Analyzing what happened will help you determine what options you have next.
2. Consider Potential Defense Strategies
Next, you’ll want to start considering the potential defense strategies available to you. Consider the specific circumstances of your arrest. Why? Not every defense will work in your situation.
Here are some of the most common DWI defense strategies that work:
- Police had no probable cause to stop your car
- You were not read your rights before cops questioned you
- There was a valid reason for appearing intoxicated (medical conditions, fatigue)
- Faulty breathalyzer test
- You were driving impaired out of necessity to prevent a greater evil
- Involuntary intoxication
It’s important for you to consider these options while using your best judgment. If you don’t think a defense strategy will work, then it likely isn’t strong enough to hold up in court.
That brings us to your next step — determining how you will plead.
3. Determine How You Will Plead
Analyzing your arrest and considering your potential defenses are important steps. After, you should have a clear picture of your options. Use that information to determine how you will plead.
You have the option of pleading either guilty or not guilty.
During your initial arraignment, there’s no real benefit to pleading guilty. If you do, then you may get offered a plea deal. But, you also won’t have a chance to defend yourself against your DWI charge.
Most accused individuals plead not guilty at their arraignment. If you do, then the judge will set a future court date for you. If you choose to, then you can always change and decide to plead guilty later.
4. Hire Representation
During your arraignment, the judge will ask you if you have representation. They’ll ask if you want a court-appointed lawyer or if you plan on hiring one.
Whether you decide to plead guilty or not guilty, you need a lawyer. An attorney will represent your best interests. They’ll give you solid advice and help you plan your next steps.
It’s advised that you plead not guilty and get representation. Then, move on to step five.
5. Prepare for Court
Consulting with your lawyer is crucial. Together, you can prepare for your court date. This day is crucial because it’s the only chance you’ll have to argue against your DWI charge.
If you plan on pleading not guilty, then a lawyer will help you construct a defense. They’ll give you advice on what to say and how to present yourself in court. They’ll also help prepare evidence and witnesses to back up your claims.
If you plan on pleading guilty, then a lawyer can still help. They’ll know different steps you can take to secure a better plea deal. This may involve going to alcohol education classes or doing community service before the big day.
6. Should You Appeal a Guilty Verdict?
Did you plead not guilty and go to court only to wind up getting found guilty? If so, then you still have an opportunity to appeal the court’s decision.
The appeal process is lengthy and expensive. Always consult with a lawyer to determine if this is the best option for you.
7. Complying With Your Punishments
If you aren’t considering an appeal, then it’s time to deal with your consequences. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to:
- Serve time in jail (up to six months!)
- Pay significant fines
- Endure a license suspension
- Attend alcohol classes
- Serve the community
The last thing you want to do is fail to adhere to your punishments. If you do, then you may be subject to even more drastic penalties.
8. Expunging Your DWI Conviction
Have you done the crime and the time already? Do you wish there was a way to get that pesky arrest erased from your record?
If you followed the steps above, then you should be in good standing with the law. You complied with your punishments and avoided getting into more trouble. So, why do you still have to suffer with the conviction on your permanent record?
You may not have to. Speak with your lawyer about DWI expungement.
This process will erase your DWI conviction. That means no more reporting your arrest to potential employers! It will no longer appear on background checks.
Once expunged, your record will be squeaky clean once again.
DWI Help When You Need it Most
Getting arrested and charged with a crime is a scary experience. This article provides some great DWI help for individuals going through the process. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to move forward with your life.
Despite this advice, it’s still best to get legal representation after a DWI charge. A lawyer will protect your interests. Feel free to browse around our online lawyer directory to help you find one today.
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.