Whether you’re a new driver, or you’re a seasoned driver, it’s important to understand what happens when you get a DUI. There are many things to think about, and you’ll want to make sure you know exactly what your rights are before you’re arrested.
Driving Under The Influence Defined
Getting a DUI is a serious crime. It is considered a felony in some states and can result in a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license. You may also be required to pay fines and court costs. Depending on the severity of your case, you may be required to attend an inpatient treatment program or a residential rehab.
If you are charged with a DUI, you have the right to request an administrative hearing. This is done at your local driver safety office. The hearing is intended to determine whether or not your actions were reasonable. During this hearing, you may be asked to perform various field sobriety tests.
The most important test for determining whether you are driving under the influence is the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. Several states have different limits for BAC levels. A low BAC level could still be classified as a DUI. In some jurisdictions, a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered a “red flag” and a DUI may be warranted.
If you are arrested for a DUI, the law enforcement officer will confiscate your driver’s license. A temporary one will be issued until your court date. In many jurisdictions, you are not allowed to drive a vehicle until your BAC level has dropped below the legal limit.
You’ll Be Arrested
Getting arrested when you get a DUI is an intimidating experience. It may cause you to feel guilt, depression, and anxiety. If you need help, you can talk to a friend or family member. You can also hire an attorney to help you restore your rights.
When you get arrested for a DUI, you will be taken to the police station and fingerprinted. Your information will be sent to local, state, and federal databases. The officer will also take your driver’s license.
After being questioned and inspected by the police, you will be given the notice to appear in court. If you fail to show up, you could be incarcerated until your case is heard.
The police will ask you to perform field sobriety tests. These tests will help the officer determine whether or not you were impaired while driving. Some common tests are the one-legged stand, horizontal gaze nystagmus, and walking in a straight line.
If you refuse to take these tests, your license will not be affected. If you are convicted of a DUI, you will have to pay for an ignition interlock device, which requires you to blow into a machine before starting your vehicle. This device can be costly to install, and monthly fees may be required.
You’ll Appear in Court
Whether you are arrested for a DUI or any other misdemeanor, you will need to appear in court. It is a criminal offense and if you fail to appear you may face penalties including jail time, fines, and a failure to appear warrant.
Arraignment is the first court hearing you will need to attend in order to learn more about your charges. During this first hearing, you will learn the basics of your case, and you will be able to decide whether you should plead guilty or not.
Your first court appearance will be quickly scheduled, usually within a few days of your arrest. If you do not have an attorney, you will have a chance to contact one. You will also have an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty, and you may be given a court-appointed attorney.
Your next court hearing will be at a later date. This could be a few months or weeks from now, depending on your jurisdiction. If you are unable to afford a lawyer, you may be able to ask the judge to appoint a public defender.
You’ll Lose Your Driver’s License
Getting arrested for driving under the influence can lead to serious penalties, including a loss of your driver’s license. Fortunately, there are ways to fight the suspension and regain your driving privileges. The best way to do this is to consult with an experienced DUI lawyer.
The first thing you need to know is that there are many different legal technicalities involved in a DUI case. The length of the suspension is not necessarily the same in every case. If your lawyer has experience handling DUI cases, he or she can tell you how to prevent your license from being suspended and how to get it back as soon as possible.
There are three main ways you can try to get your driving privileges back. You can apply for reinstatement at your local DMV, attend a DMV hearing, or use the services of a DUI attorney.
The most basic form of license reinstatement involves paying a reinstatement fee and filling out an application. In some cases, you may be able to do community service in place of the reinstatement fee.
You’ll Pay Fines
Depending on your state, fines for a DUI can vary from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. There are a number of ways to pay a DUI fine. Some states require that you attend alcohol treatment and take a blood test. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
The first DUI conviction usually carries a fee of $500-$2,000. However, a second or third DWAI conviction carries additional penalties.
The fine is often issued in lieu of a jail sentence. Most courts will allow for a longer payment plan. You can mail a payment or pay in person at the courthouse. A lawyer can also negotiate with the court to get more time.
You can use a community service or hardship license to drive to work or school. This is especially true if you have had your license suspended. In this case, you will have to show up in court every so often to ensure you do not default on your payments.
The most expensive part of a DUI is not the legal fees, but the administrative costs of the court system. If you do not make payments, your driver’s license will be suspended and you will need to rely on friends or family.
You’ll Serve Probation
Getting a DUI while on probation can have some serious consequences. You could be facing license suspension, a conviction, additional jail time, and more. The penalties will depend on the severity of the offense, the alcohol level, and the situation. Regardless of your circumstances, you should speak to an experienced attorney.
Probation is a period of court-ordered supervision, and the terms will depend on the crime. In general, the terms will include continuing school, keeping a job, and abstaining from drinking and other criminal activity. Depending on your situation, you may be required to attend AA meetings, participate in group programs, and perform community service.
First-time DWI offenses often carry a six-month to two-year probationary period. The probationary period is intended to help people who have been arrested for DWI to learn more about the consequences of drinking and driving. It is also a chance for people to avoid jail.
Second-time DUI offenders typically serve informal probation of three years. They are required to attend a DUI education program. The education program will consist of group sessions over six weeks.
You’ll Serve Jail Time
Depending on the circumstances, a DUI conviction can result in jail time. The length of the sentence is determined by a judge. However, you can often avoid jail by working with a lawyer.
First-time DUI offenders may not receive a jail sentence. In fact, most first-time offenders serve probation instead. During the probation period, they are required to take classes and undergo a substance abuse treatment program.
Upon completion of the treatment, the person can get their license back. However, a second conviction can mean a longer sentence and a larger fine. If you’re convicted of a third offense, you will face a license suspension. You also need to install an IID for at least two years.
The amount of jail time a DUI offender faces depends on the state where he or she was arrested. In some states, the maximum penalty is three years in prison. In others, it’s six months.
If you’re convicted of a second or subsequent offense, you may face a felony charge. If you cause serious bodily injury, you can face up to 12 years in prison.
You’ll Use an Ignition Interlock Device
Using an ignition interlock device when you get a DUI is a smart way to prevent repeat offenses. The device is a breath alcohol analyzer connected to your vehicle’s ignition system. You must blow into the machine every time you drive the car, and the engine cannot start if your breath alcohol level is too high.
Ignition interlock devices are required in many states. If you are convicted of a DUI, you may be required to use one for a certain amount of time. In some cases, you can also be required to use an ignition interlock even if you are not convicted.
If you are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may face a license suspension. If you are a habitual offender, you may be required to use an ignition interlock for a minimum of a year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released model guidelines for the administration of ignition interlock programs. These guidelines include requirements for service providers, vendors, and program participants.
Working With An Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer In Texas
If you have been charged with a DUI, then you need to contact Butler Law Firm in Houston as a matter of urgency. Our experienced team will assess your case and develop a defense strategy that is unique to your circumstances. Our goal is to get the charges against you dismissed or to reduce the penalties that you face to the bare minimum. Call us today to schedule an appointment and get the ball rolling. Visit our blog for more related articles.