If you drink and drive, you could be at risk of being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). This issue seems to collect falsehoods and misconceptions. Read on to learn the surprising facts.
First Time Offenses
Some people underestimate how serious a first-time DUI offense can be. Even if you "get off easy", you are probably going to be shocked at how expensive it will be. The court system is geared toward saving money so that might mean a first-timer won't go to jail. Instead, they will be ordered to pay thousands of dollars to the court in fines and fees. If you are put on probation, for example, it's a monthly fee.
Driver's License Issues
Many drivers only realize that they cannot legally drive after being charged with DUI too late. Even as you are arrested and charged, the department of motor vehicles (DMV) is busy suspending your license. That means you don't necessarily have to be convicted of DUI to lose your driving privileges. You will need to speak to a criminal defense attorney and have them request a hardship driver's license so that you can drive on a limited basis.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
Many people are under the impression that you won't be arrested for DUI if your BAC level is low enough. That is incorrect. Law enforcement can arrest anyone they believe is too impaired to drive. Usually, law enforcement will make that move if the suspect fails the roadside sobriety tests, they detect the odor of alcohol, they find an open container in a vehicle, or the driver appears to be under the influence.
Because DUI charges are often misdemeanors, many think they can represent themselves after an arrest. Unfortunately, many fail to understand how punitive the sentencing of a misdemeanor can be if the defendant is convicted. Don't wait to find out after it's too late that your sentencing includes probation, a year in jail, a year-long driver's license suspension, and more. Criminal defense attorneys that handle DUI cases understand what can happen to those who are convicted. It can affect the defendant's job, personal life, reputation, and freedom.
The Fairness of the Justice System
Perhaps the most troubling misconception is that law enforcement and the courts are fair. Speak to a lawyer to find out what the state has in evidence against you, for example. Much of the evidence to prove the DUI could be missing, inaccurate, and flimsy. If you just allow things to happen, you could be unwittingly convicted of a crime that you did not commit. Don't let that happen, speak to a criminal defense attorney now.
For more information, contact a DUI defense attorney near you.