DUI, known commonly as drunk driving, is charged if you’re operating a vehicle while having a blood alcohol content level that’s above the legal limit set by your state. What counts as a DUI may differ for each state because the level varies. However, most levels range from .08 to.10.
DUI is classified in most states as a misdemeanor when it counts as a first offense. Most states place fines and revoke licenses without jail time. Even if some states allow DUI jail time, the maximum time for a first offense is no more than 30 days. For subsequent offenses with DUI, the full jail time will not last for more than a year.
The state may also place alternative penalties instead of monetary fines or jail time, particularly for first offenders. The driver may be required to undergo substance abuse education and complete specific prevention and treatment programs. Other forms include community service.
A DUI may count as a felony for certain factors during the time of the arrest. In this case, it may result in several years of jail time. The state can place more severe penalties in the following situations:
- Blood alcohol concentration at the time of arrest was unacceptably high
- Several prior DUI convictions
- Driving under the influence with a suspended or revoked license
- Accidents resulting in injuries or death
- Accidents involving other drivers
- Driving under the influence with a child passenger present
Minors are not exempt from drunk driving charges. States are less tolerant about drivers under the age of 21 having even a bit of alcohol in their system. If found guilty, they can be fined or have their license suspended.
What is a DUI Defense Attorney?
A DUI charge can severely harm your insurance rates and driving record. The good news is that you can get out of being convicted. You can even contest penalties such as having your license revoked. To do this, you will need the help of an experienced attorney. Criminal defense lawyers defend individuals or groups charged with illegal activity and work to reduce charges and sentences. A DUI defense attorney specializes in handling DUI cases.
A DUI defense attorney can represent you once you’re charged with a DUI, once you both decide to file for an administrative hearing. There can be several lengthy court hearings for this conviction, especially if you’re not a first offender. A DUI defense attorney should know the state’s specific DUI laws’ changes and developments. Their primary purpose is to make you as a client understand the charges, the possible consequences, and the best courses of action to take.
What does a DUI Defense Attorney Do?
If the evidence is working against you (for example, the state may already have a copy of a urine test result), a DUI lawyer can get you as their client to plead guilty but will attempt to get most or all charges dropped. During the trial procedure, a DUI defense attorney will:
Assist in the jury selection
A DUI defense attorney should gather witnesses to speak on your behalf and provide positive testimonies to help sway the decision in your favor.
Look for discrepancies in the police reports
Your lawyer might also hire investigators to double-check the aftermath of the arrest (checking the location, physical impacts on the vehicle, etc.). It will help expose any discrepancies while thoroughly reviewing the police reports involving audio and video evidence.
In some DUI cases, police errors can result in the case’s dismissal. DUI defense attorneys can circle this by asking questions about the time of arrest, such as any valid reason to pull you over or if you were allowed to contact your attorney before having you participate in the field sobriety tests.
Negotiate for reduced charges
The defense lawyer and prosecutor can negotiate the charges upon the pretrial hearing. In the case of finding any inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and errors concerning your matter, you have a strong chance of getting most, if not all, of your charges dismissed.
In place of getting your license revoked, your lawyer may instead convince the state to require an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle or only have the court’s permission to drive to and from work for a certain period.