Getting a DUI or DWI is a very serious thing. So what should you know if it ever happens to you? Do you need a DUI attorney or a criminal defense attorney?
- Know how and why someone may get pulled over. Unless there’s actually been an accident, it usually begins when a police officer notices someone driving in an odd manner. It’s possible to get a DUI while on a bike, or while driving an ATV or even a golf cart. Different states have different precise procedures, but in general, the officer will go through some kind of test to determine how sober the driver is. A breathalyzer is likely to be involved.
- Blood alcohol levels are important. Most states require a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, and whatever reason a person was pulled over, he or she will be charged if their BAC is at this level. However, in some states, any amount of alcohol, and certain drugs are counted as impairment if caught.
- A DUI, DWI, and OUI aren’t always exactly the same thing. It’s key to know the laws in the state where you live, and also of any state where you plan to travel. Some states use only one of these terms. Some use DUI to refer to those under the influence of drugs, and DWI for drunk driving. Some will charge a DWI for blood alcohol over a certain limit, and a lesser DUI charges for alcohol under that limit. It can be essential to get the help of a law firm and possibly a criminal defense attorney to fully understand all the issues, implications, consequences, and options in your case.
- Insurance rates always go up after a DUI type charge. In fact, you can expect them to skyrocket. Your current insurance company may even refuse to cover you at all, and a DUII conviction can result in higher life-insurance premiums, too. Also, after a DWI or DUI, most states will require you to show proof that you carry liability insurance in order to get a driver’s license.
- A DUI charge doesn’t have to be about alcohol or illegal drugs. You can find yourself hunting up a criminal defense attorney even if you’re taking a perfectly legal, prescribed drug if it impairs your driving. These can be anything from prescription anxiety medications to over the counter cold preparations.
- You are wise to get the advice of a DUI law firm. After your arrest, the first step is going to be an arraignment, where you’ll need to plead guilty or not guilty. Some courts will allow you a jury trial at this point, some will not. Some will assume you want one automatically unless told otherwise, while others will expect you to ask. If your case does go to trial, a criminal defense attorney is almost certainly going to be necessary if you hope to get through it with as little damage to your finances and freedom as possible.
- You will lose your driver’s license. It’s wise to be aware and prepared for this from the beginning. You will likely lose your license at the moment of arrest and will get a temporary one valid only until the date of your hearing. What happens at the hearing will determine how long you lose your license for, and a criminal defense attorney can help you to minimize how long you go without a license.
The easiest way to determine whether you’ve had too much to drink is to just never drive after drinking, ever. If you find yourself in trouble, though, be sure to get legal help to figure out all your options.