A night out on the town can be a good time. But it can lead to nasty results if you don’t act responsibly.
Adults drink and drive a surprising amount. According to reports from the FBI, over 300,000 adults are believed to drive under the influence each day. Of that number, many of that number are bound to get slapped with a DUI.
Driving under the influence is a very serious crime due to the number of lives it puts it at stake. If you’ve been hit with a DUI charge, there is a long road ahead of you when it comes to the legalities and costs. It’s important that you know what to do when you get a DUI so that you can respond properly and minimize the damage the charge can do to your life.
Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about facing DUI charges.
What Happens Following A DUI
In most cases, immediately following a DUI charge, the individual charged is brought to jail and forced to pay bail. In many states, individuals will not be able to post bail and leave until they’ve sobered up. It’s important to look at the specific laws in your own state for further info.
At the time of one’s arrest, they will also be given a court summons that tells the date you need to appear in court. You will the ability to deny the charges and attempt to plead non-guilty, but it is important that you understand what evidence you will need to provide to win such a case. More on that below.
In all states, a DUI charge will result in a loss of driving privileges for some amount of time. This happens even if it is a first-time offense. In many states, failure to take a breathalyzer or sobriety test when asked will result in immediate suspension of your license, prior to a court order.
A DUI charge will also result in a fine that you will need to pay to the state. All states have laws that set the minimum and maximum amount you can pay for a DUI charge. These penalties can easily be increased due to other circumstances. Outside of fees for the charge itself, those who drive intoxicated will be required to pay the cost of any injuries sustained or damage done as a result of their driving.
In most states, you will also have to pay your own court costs.
Will I Go To Jail?
A DUI charge can land you in jail for a short period of time.
In many states, jail terms are a mandatory part of a DUI charge. For first time offenders, this typically just means a day or two spent behind bars, usually a weekend.
For repeat offenders, the jail time can be more serious and is often mandatory. Time periods range from state to state, but repeat offenders can expect more than a few days to be spent in jail. Depending on penalties incurred during the DUI incident, time behind bars can increase.
Fighting A DUI Charge
It can be incredibly difficult to beat a DUI charge in a court of law. The police who charged you, to begin with, likely have dashboard footage and breathalyzer results to share in court as hard evidence.
If you do hope to fight a Driving Under The Influence charge, there are a few things you can do.
Firstly, write everything down. DUI cases are won and lost on details, so write down every detail of your evening through your charge as quickly as possible. You never know what might be important, and the longer you wait to do this the more details will fade. Try hard to remember the reason officers gave for pulling you over, the type of breathalyzer device they used, and what you told the officers.
Make all of your online profiles private. As they say, anything you say can be used against you, and that means anything you’ve ever said publicly on the internet.
You’ll then want to find witnesses and a good lawyer. Witnesses can include family, friends, and acquaintances that you saw directly before the incident. Those that can vouch for your non-drinking before leaving can make strong impressions in your court case. A good lawyer will be absolutely necessary in guiding you through your case. Even if you can’t get a not guilty decision, they may be able to help lighten the penalties and punishment you sustain.
If You Are Charged
Outside of fines, suspension, and jail time, there are a number of other requirements that come with a DUI charge.
Even if you are not sentenced to any jail time, you’ll likely be given a probation sentence which will be determined by your judge in court. Failure to meet the terms of this probation can land you in jail for a longer period of time, so you must take them seriously.
Probations can also be expensive, and the financial burden will be on the sentenced to pay for the supervision and administration that their probation requires.
In addition to probation, you likely will also need to take a driving course before your license privileges will be reinstated. This driving course will include a lengthy drug and alcohol education program. These classes are hours long and usually cost a fee to attend. The reinstating of your license following these classes also usually involves another fee to be paid.
In a growing number of states, those charged with DUIs are also forced by the state to integrate ignition interlock devices into their vehicles. These devices require drivers to pass an alcohol-free breath test before being able to turn their engines on. For some states, these devices are required for even first-time offenders.
What To Do When You Get A DUI
A DUI charge is serious business, and can easily create huge costs in both time and money. Knowing what to do when you get a DUI can help mitigate some of the damage the charge can do to your life.
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