When you find yourself behind bars for driving while intoxicated your first and smartest move is to seek legal representation. A good criminal defense attorney is vital due to the serious nature of the arrest. You may not necessarily end up being convicted of DUI charges and having legal help might increase your chances of reducing or even eliminating your charges. Read on to find out how important it can be to avoid facing the penalties for drunk driving.
You can expect to spend a minimum of one night in jail no matter where you live. After that, it depends on how fast you get bailed out of the lock-up. The potential to end up doing jail time as a punishment for a DUI conviction depends on the laws of the state, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), your criminal record and more. If your arrest was in conjunction with an accident and if others were harmed as a result of your actions, then that increases the penalties exponentially. There exists some mandatory sentencing for those convicted of repeat offenses, but first-time offenders may be charged with a misdemeanor in most cases. That misdemeanor can quickly turn into a felony if you hurt others or it's not your first offense, though.
Once you've been arrested for DUI, the department of motor vehicles will automatically suspend your driver's license, at least temporarily. Even first-time offenders can expect to have their driving privileges revoked for several months and then face exorbitant fees to have it reinstated when the time comes. While it can vary from state to state, you might encounter a 90-day revocation for a first offense, a 12-month revocation for a second offense and up to several years for third or more offenses.
In a related issue, if you refuse to undergo sobriety testing, you might be losing your driver's license as well. This rule makes suspensions automatic, and even if you, later on, are found to be not-guilty of driving while intoxicated you will still lose your license for a certain period of time.
Miscellaneous Other Penalties
Jail, loss of your driving privileges and fines and fees are just the beginning if you get a DUI conviction. You might also suffer from the following forms of punishment:
- Community service
- Drug and alcohol education classes
- Driving classes
- Vehicle seizure
- Ignition interlock device installation
- Auto insurance rates are raised, or insurance is canceled
- Loss of employment or security clearances.
As you can see, taking this issue seriously is important. Having a legal expert on your side might allow you the opportunity to plead to a lesser offense and avoid some of the above penalties so speak to your local criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible.