Charged with DUI: Understanding your options
Driving while under the influence is a grave offense as you may cause an accident or be charged with a DUI. A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge can lead to you losing your license along with your freedom. While the penalties for this offense tend to be very harsh, you might have some options depending on your circumstances.
What happens after you get a DUI?
While the penalty for a DUI can vary from case to case, you will typically be arrested and have to go before a judge is arraigned. At the hearing, your charge will be read when the judge decides whether you should be released on bond and how much the bond should be.
Depending on the severity of your case, you might want to talk to a car accident attorney about representing you going forward.
Why you should consider hiring a lawyer
While you might not think it necessary to hire an attorney, mostly if you were clearly guilty as charged, here are a few reasons you should reconsider:
- An experienced attorney might be able to get your DUI reduced to a lesser charge. This might keep you from losing your license, tarnishing your record, and more.
- Depending on the circumstances of your case, such as blood alcohol levels, a lawyer might be able to get your charge thrown out altogether.
- If you are a habitual offender, an attorney might be able to help you get a lighter sentence.
If you have an attorney who specializes in cases like yours, he or she will be able to advise you whether you should take a plea or go to trial. In many cases, taking a plea will also mean that you’ll have your charge reduced to something much less severe such as reckless driving.
How to avoid losing your license
While a DUI charge typically results in your license being confiscated and eventually suspended, you can delay the suspension if you request a hearing. Until the court or the Department of Motor Vehicles decides your driving privileges, you should be issued a temporary license in the meantime.
Keep in mind that failing to comply with an officer’s request for a breathalyzer test could get your license automatically suspended.
Beating a DUI
While it is possible to beat a DUI charge, doing so can be quite difficult, especially if you don’t have an attorney. However, there are a few legal technicalities that an experienced lawyer can bring up, such as:
- Your rights being violated when the officer stopped you
- The method of testing coming into question
- No valid reason for the stop.
There are many legal arguments that can be used to help you beat a DUI charge, which is why you should always consult with an attorney about your case.
While you might not necessarily have to do prison time if you are a first time offender, you can expect to at least spend at least a day in jail following your initial arrest.
Whether you plan to talk with an attorney or not, it would not be a good idea to plead guilty at your arraignment as you are not aware of all of the evidence involved in your case.
An experienced lawyer would typically recommend that you refrain from pleading guilty until he or she can examine all the details in your case. You would be surprised how many cases are won, not because the driver was innocent, but based on legal technicalities and having a skilled attorney. So, what happens after you get a DUI often depends on your lawyer’s skill level and a good dose of sheer luck.
Story by Mark Scott. With a law degree under his belt and years of experience, Scott set off to make the law more accessible to all. He decided to help people lost in the maze of legal terminology to find their way. Mark writes clear and concise pieces and gives simple advice that is easy to follow.