All 50 states have drinking and driving laws on the books that make inebriated driving, sometimes called driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, illegal. The police can arrest you if they see you actually drinking alcohol or using drugs while you are driving your car.
They can likewise pull you over and ask you to go through field sobriety testing if they see you driving in a manner consistent with being drunk or high while operating a vehicle. They may even serve an arrest warrant on you at home or work if another officer has provided a sworn statement to a judge or magistrate that he or she witnessed you driving in an intoxicated state.
Once you are arrested, however, you may ask yourself what happens next and what is DUI charges worst impact on your life. You can prepare yourself and face any DUI charges against you by learning what happens after you are placed under arrest for this crime.
Booking and Processing
You start incurring DUI penalties when you are arrested and taken to the police station for booking and processing. The first set of DUI consequences that are placed upon you involves being fingerprinted, searched, and photographed, information that will be kept on your criminal record and possibly released to the public. The booking officer will also take note of your full legal name, address, and physical description to keep in your record alongside the details of your DUI offense.
After you have been booked and processed, you will be taken to a holding cell or a jail cell depending on the type of facility to which you have been taken. Your personal belongings like your purse, wallet, and cell phone will be taken from you briefly. They will be returned to you after you are released.
During the time that you are being held in a cell, you will have time to contemplate how to beat DUI charges as well as how to secure your release from jail. The manner in which you get out of jail depends on whether this is your first offense DUI or if you have another DUI conviction on your record. This detail along with other factors will influence how often are DUI charges reduced for cases like yours as well as whether you are offered bail, bond, or release on your own recognizance.
One of the options that you might be offered to get out of jail involves paying bail. Bail is essentially paying a determined sum of money to secure your release. In addition to paying money, you also must agree to in writing to go to court and be present for all of the proceedings in your case like the:
- preliminary hearing
- pre-trial motions
You may be allowed to pay the bail amount to secure your release from jail at the police station. If not, you might be able to pay bail at your arraignment, which typically takes place a day or two after you are arrested for DUI.
The amount you must pay may be based on the type of offense, through a bail schedule established by the city, county, or state government, or by the judge assigned to your case. The judge might consider factors like:
- your DUI record
- your criminal history
- the seriousness of the DUI in terms of injury or harm to others
- your ties to the community, family, and employment
to determine how much you must pay for bail.
You also might be offered a bond to secure your release from jail. A bond is a written guarantee that you will show up to all of the court proceedings related to your case. The guarantee also ensures that the bail amount will be paid in full if you do not show up to court or if you flee prosecution for your DUI charge.
The amount of your bond may be paid by a bail bond agency. The agency will charge you a fee of approximately 10 percent of the bail amount. It also may require that you or your family put up some sort of collateral like a car, house, or other assets that can be sold if you abscond or jump bail.
The likelihood of you being offered either bail or bond depends on factors like how much above the legal blood alcohol level you were at the time of your arrest or if you have satisfied the terms of drunk driving penalties for prior convictions.
Finally, if you have a good DUI attorney helping you with your case, you may be released on your own recognizance. Own recognizance requires that you provide the judge a written promise that you will appear in court for all of your proceedings like your arraignment, hearing, pre-trial motions, and trial.
You may have to promise to stay in the area and not leave town or the county without securing permission from the court. The judge likewise might require that you check in with the court regularly until your trial date.
If you fail to show up to court proceedings or if you flee the area, you are subject to immediate arrest. Further, you will not be eligible for bail and instead will be held in a jail cell until your trial.
You are entitled to Constitutional rights that you can use from the time that you are arrested until your case is finished. One of the foremost rights about which you must be informed is your right to hire an DUI attorney.
Why should you retain a drunk driving lawyer, however? Can you not just take a plea deal or serve whatever time in jail is handed down to you by the judge?
You do have the right to defend yourself or appear without counsel. However, a DUI attorney can ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way during the court proceedings. Your lawyer can answer questions like how can DUI charges be dropped against you. He or she could discover how to reduce DUI charges by looking for evidence in your arrest record, for example.
If your lawyer finds discrepancies in the arrest, questioning, booking, or other proceedings, he or she can explain how often are DUI charges dropped using this information. The steps for how to get DUI charges reduced through this legal maneuvering can be delicate and complex, which is why you need an attorney who practices DUI law. The likelihood of how often do DUI charges get dropped through such means could work in your favor if you are innocent or wrongfully charged with driving while intoxicated.
If all of the facts of your case check out and are perfectly legal in terms of your arrest, booking, and processing, you still can avoid jail time or harsh sentences by hiring a lawyer to assist you. Your legal counsel will ensure that your rights are protected and that you have your day in court to explain your side of the story.
You and your lawyer can gather evidence to show that you do not deserve the harshest penalties and should not serve time in jail. If this is your first DUI charge, you might be able to pay a fine, do community service, and attend outpatient rehabilitation therapy or AA meetings to pay back your debt to society.
Your attorney might assist with other matters related to your DWI charges. He or she may be able to secure your job, home, and family while you reform your life. Until then, you should learn what to expect as your DUI arrest is processed through the courts. You also should prepare yourself for one of the three options for securing your release from jail.