Do I Know What To Do if I Got a DUI
Will I know what to do if I got a DUI? It’s good to know before you get into this unfortunate situation because when you see police lights behind you if you’ve been drinking, your life turns upside down. A drunk driving arrest can be a stressful event. Here are some tips for what to do if you get a DUI.
What To Do About a Sobriety Test
All states have laws about taking a breath test after a drunk driving arrest. That means that just by driving a vehicle, you’ve agreed to take a chemical test when you’re asked. This is the breathalyzer test at the police station. It’s also called an Intoxilyzer or DataMaster.
If you don’t take this sobriety test, you face a mandatory license suspension for a considerable period of time. In many states, it’s for a year. You lose your license whether you’re ever convicted of DUI or not. Once you take the state’s sobriety test, in many cases, you can demand to be taken to a testing facility or a hospital for a second test of your choice. This can be helpful to make sure that law enforcement didn’t make a testing error in your case.
Pleading Not Guilty To a DUI
You’ll probably wait in jail for a bit and at some point you will have to stand in front of a judge and make a plea. They’ll tell you the charges against you and ask you if you plead guilty or not guilty. In most cases, you should plead not guilty. This gives you time to talk to an attorney about the pending charges. They can help you make a plan to answer the question of what to do if I got a DUI.
An attorney has training and experience that can help you evaluate the case. They know about protocols that law enforcement officers need to follow when they investigate a DUI. They might see available defenses and weaknesses in the state’s case that you may not be aware of.
Resolving Your DUI Case
There’s more than one way to resolve a DUI or DWI charge. You may have viable defenses that make your case a good case to bring to trial in front of a jury. If you’re found not guilty, the entire case ends, and you have no penalties.
You may also be able to negotiate a resolution to a favorable plea agreement. Many states have lesser offenses such as operating under impairment of alcohol or even reckless driving. The state’s attorney might be willing to offer a plea resolution that can result in avoiding jail, lower fines and a shorter license suspension period.
The Consequences of a DUI
The vast majority of driving under the influence of alcohol offenses are prosecuted by state governments. That means that the laws are a little bit different in every state. The legal blood alcohol limit is a .08 in almost all states. A first offense is usually a misdemeanor but a second or third DUI offense can be a felony.
Even first offenders often face a suspension of their operator’s license for a DWI conviction. For a first offense, that can mean anything from only license restrictions to a complete suspension for a month or more. In most cases, after a first offense, a driver can reinstate their license automatically by paying reinstatement fees.
Repeat offenders face a much longer license suspension. Even a second offense can result in a license suspension of a year or more. Some states make a repeat offender prove their fitness to drive after a period of time. In some cases, a repeat drunk driver can lose their operator’s license indefinitely.
In all cases, a drunk driver can expect to see higher insurance rates. This is in addition to having to pay court fines. A drunk driving sentence also often includes a term of probation that orders the offender not to consume alcohol at all for a period of time.