An arrest for driving under the influence requires immediate action. Not only are these charges expensive, but they could have a significant impact on your career and personal life. Those who fail to fight their drunk driving charges often end up paying thousands of dollars in fines, fees, and other expenses. Contacting an experienced attorney will put you in the best possible position to build an airtight case. Without professional legal assistance, what started off as a careless mistake could end up costing regarding your career, license, and pride. Most attorneys offer free or low-cost consultations to drivers who are facing these charges.
Can I beat My Charges Alone?
A surprising number of drivers attempt to represent themselves after being charged with a DUI, but that can be a grave mistake. These cases are incredibly complex, and many judges do everything in their power to make sure that drivers suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence receive prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. Even if your case seems relatively straightforward, you will most likely have to deal with multiple hearings, arraignments, motions, and plea bargains. A single mistake made by the driver during these steps could end up costing them their case. An experienced attorney will help you resolve your case as quickly as possible so that you can move on with your life. No matter what type of plea you decide on, your attorney will be by your side at all times.
Due to the complexity of DUI cases, the fines and fees associated with the offense fluctuate. The judge will take many different variables into consideration including your driving record, your criminal record, why you were pulled over, your BAC, and where you were pulled over. An individual who has a clean record and very low BAC will face different penalties than a repeat offender. If an accident involving injury occurred, then you will face much stiffer penalties. Drivers should also realize that a misdemeanor can turn into a felony when there are extenuating circumstances.
A first-time offender can expect to pay at least $10,000 with all fines, fees, and relative costs considered. In addition to the original court fines and the cost to reinstate one’s license, drivers typically have to take classes. Once your license is reinstated and you can drive again, you will then need to apply for specialty insurance. As long as the DUI remains on your record, your insurance premiums will be much higher. Some first-time offenders end up paying thousands of dollars extra every year in insurance premiums alone.
Repeat offenders found guilty of DUI face much harsher penalties. Not only will the repeat offender have to pay all of the same fines and fees, but they could have their license permanently revoked. In some locations, repeat offenders are given a relatively long jail sentence. Offenders must enroll in rehabilitation or sobriety classes upon their release from incarceration, Those who don’t have their driving privileges permanently revoked need to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. The installation and maintenance costs are the responsibility of the driver as well. Community service is another penalty that most repeat offenders face.
The Stages of a DUI
Just because a case seems relatively straightforward doesn’t mean that it will be over quickly. More complicated cases that include serious injuries or other charges sometimes last for 12 months or longer. After you are pulled over, and the officer decides to charge you with a DUI, you must have a chemical BAC test carried out. Drivers who refuse to take these BAC tests may have their driving privileges automatically suspended for a minimum of one year. The law enforcement officer will officially book you if he or the BAC exam determine that you are under the influence. The process of booking a driver includes taking fingerprints along with mugshots, checking for criminal records, searching for contraband, and storing personal items.
The total cost of a driver’s bail is determined by many different factors such as their criminal history and formal charges. Those who can’t afford to pay bail must arrange a payment plan with a bail bond company if they want to be released from the holding cell. By posting bail, the accused party agrees to meet at the courthouse on a future date. Appearing in court is known as the arraignment, and it is the time when a driver will enter a plea. Most drivers who work with attorneys don’t need to show up to their arraignments because their legal representatives will enter a plea for them.
One of the biggest benefits of working with an attorney is having someone represent you throughout the plea bargain. During the plea deal, the prosecutor and your attorney will attempt to find a satisfactory resolution to your case. They will work closely alongside you to help you understand all of the pros and cons of the plea bargain. If they can come up with a resolution, then your case will officially be closed after a plea agreement is reached. A trial must take place if the defense and prosecutor aren’t able to come to an agreement.
What to Do After You Are Arrested
The steps you take in those first few days after being arrested for a DUI could change your life for many years to come. In most counties, drivers have just 10 days to contact the DMV to request an official hearing. This hearing is completely separate from your arraignment, and the DMV representatives will determine if your license is going to be suspended or revoked. You should also contact a DUI attorney as quickly as possible so they can begin building your case. As those deadlines pass, your options will become extremely limited.
Your attorney will carry out a variety of vital tasks so that you can focus on getting your life back on track. That includes requesting the officer’s report and collecting as much data on the arrest as possible. As time goes on and your memory becomes hazy, it will be harder to create a winning case. Those who ignore the charges entirely will most likely face penalties that will haunt them for 10 years or longer.
The process of building a winning case for a driver is no easy task, but there is help out there. DUI cases are extremely complicated, and your attorney will need to come up with a personalized plan of attack to have your charges reduced or dropped entirely. Your attorney might be able to help you put an end to your case in as little as a few weeks. They will need to pour over all of the evidence such as the method for which you were arrested, what took place during your arrest, how recently the BAC device was calibrated, and the law enforcement officer’s experience. Drivers detained at a DUI checkpoint might be able to call into question the legality of the checkpoint itself.
There is simply no reason for a driver ever to accept a DUI without a fight. Unlike most other driving violations, this charge could become a long-term blemish on your record. It might even affect your career opportunities if you are hoping to get promoted or looking at new job prospects. This process is never going to be completely stress-free, but you must be proactive about protecting your future and finances. Scheduling a consultation with an attorney right after your arrest is the first step toward moving on with your life.