Drunk driving is a serious offense with devastating repercussions for your life. To understand what these charges entail, how they might be applied, and the potential outcomes of being charged with DUI, it is essential to be informed.
Charges of drunk driving can come in several forms, such as being pulled over and having your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tested. You may also be arrested if a police officer observes visible signs of intoxication without regard to the results of a breathalyzer test, such as bloodshot eyes or slurred speech.
Understanding Drinking and Driving Charges
Most people understand that drunk driving is illegal, but few realize the serious consequences of a DUI conviction. This offense can result in jail time, fines, a criminal record and even require you to install an ignition interlock device on your car.
If you are arrested for DUI, your first step should be to hire an experienced attorney. They will ensure all of your rights are upheld and that the evidence against you is fairly evaluated.
Those who keep drinking and driving will eventually face charges and serious legal penalties. Working with an experienced attorney can help mitigate the consequences of a DUI conviction.
The Law and How It Affects You
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is typically classified as a misdemeanor offense in most states. However, in certain jurisdictions it can be upgraded to a felony charge which has much harsher repercussions for you in terms of fines, jail time, and other penalties that are significantly greater than those associated with misdemeanor DUI offenses.
Conviction for felony DUI can have severe repercussions, such as an extended prison term and higher insurance premiums. Furthermore, being convicted of a felony DUI will likely lead to your driver’s license being revoked, making it harder for you to obtain insurance quotes or find work elsewhere.
What About Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test?
In most states, it is legal to decline taking a blood alcohol test administered by a police officer. Doing this can help avoid automatic license suspension and the associated fees.
It’s wise to decline any field sobriety tests administered by law enforcement officers, no matter your feelings about them. Even if you don’t have any alcohol in your system, failing the tests due to lack of coordination and attention may still occur.
Always remain polite and respectful when engaging law enforcement officers. Doing so can help you avoid incriminating yourself by making a false statement or agreeing to a search of your vehicle.
There are steps you can take to help avoid being charged with drinking and driving, but if you are arrested it is essential that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. A good attorney will work on building a strong case for you and ensure the best possible outcome in your situation.
What About a Repeated DUI?
If you have had previous drunk driving convictions, an experienced attorney can help fight the charges and keep you out of jail or other harsh consequences. Depending on the facts of your case, a sentence that includes treatment and probation may be possible.