Although you might have heard about DUIs in the news or might even have an acquaintance that has gone through the traumatic experience of getting one, you likely never expect it to happen to you. However, DUI Attorneys Weber Law knows how common it is to be charged with a DUI and how grave the consequences of getting one can be to your personal and professional life. Also, you may find that these consequences will stay with you much longer than you might want them to.
Driving under the influence is not a joke; on the contrary, it is an example of someone deciding to take their life into their hands while also putting the lives of other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Be informed about what a DUI means and take the necessary steps to ensure this never happens to you. To get started, here is a summary of what happens to you when you get a DUI for the first time.
Getting Arrested for a DUI
No matter how much you believe you are in control of your vehicle after you have been drinking, the police may have a different perception of the situation and ask you to pull over. Once you have stopped your car, you will be asked to take a field sobriety test, including a breathalyzer test. Not agreeing to take these tests can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
On the other hand, taking and failing the sobriety test means that you have given the police probable cause to arrest you. You will then be taken into custody, processed, and asked to take a formal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test.
Appearing in Court for a DUI
Once you are released from custody, you will get a court summons in which the details of your preliminary hearing will be spelled out. Now is the time for you to seriously consider getting legal representation since your attorney will be able to review all available evidence, explain to you what might happen during the preliminary hearing, and prepare a good defense strategy.
What charges or penalties could you face for your first DUI conviction?
A first DUI is considered a misdemeanour and may involve penalties such as a license suspension, fines, probation, community service, points off your license, and an obligation to attend a DUI driver’s course. The charges can become more severe and include time in jail when someone suffered a serious injury, property damage, if someone has died, or if there was a minor child in the vehicle you were driving.
When these aggravating circumstances are present, the judge may decide to upgrade your DUI to a felony, even if this is your first time facing these charges. If this is your case, the situation gets direr since it will be harder to fight the charges, and you may spend time in jail. Get an experienced DUI lawyer to represent you in court if you want to have a fighting chance of the charges being reduced or dismissed.
What are the consequences of a first DUI offense?
Unfortunately, paying your fines, doing community service, or taking a DUI education course, is not the end of the consequences of a DUI, even if you have served time in jail. Having a DUI on your record can mean that you can no longer easily find employment, you will have a hard time getting housing, you will no longer be accepted at the educational institution that you were hoping to attend, and, if you are divorced, you may also lose visiting privileges with your children, just to name a few ways in which a DUI will affect your life. Not to mention that your car insurance will certainly increase.
As for your driver’s license, your driving privileges will be revoked, and, after your first conviction, your license will be suspended for a year. You may have to turn to public transportation, rideshares, or find someone to drive you to the places you need to go.