DUI law became more complicated and severe in the last few decades. Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable with penalties starting from a small fine up to spending some time in jail.
In the case in which you get caught breaking a DUI law and you are being charged with your first DUI, the consequences, though important, won’t be as bad as in the case of having multiple DUIs. Usually, people who receive more than just one DUI charge are individuals that have an alcohol dependence.
Main Things to Keep in Mind When You Are About to Receive A DUI Charge
In the case in which you are pulled over by a police officer and you are suspected of driving while intoxicated, try to remember the following things:
- Pull over properly. Don’t make any attempt to run from the police. Be on your best behavior and pull over to the side of the road in a slow manner.
- Do not get out of the car. You should remain in the car until the police officer comes to you. If he/she does not ask you to step out of the vehicle, you should stay in the car. Also, keep your hands on the car wheel and do not make any unnecessary sudden moves.
- Listen to the police officer. Follow the instructions of the policeman because he knows the DUI law better than you. If you got busted, the officer is in charge and has control over the whole situation. Do not speak without being asked and don’t try to excuse yourself or find reasons for why you were drunk driving. This will only make the situation worse.
- Remember DUI penalties. DUI charges can have multiple consequences, from a simple fine to license revocation and jail time. However, even the fines can get quite high. The maximum fines can go up to 2,600 dollars or more. Most of the times, you will even get combined penalties: a fine, your license being suspended or revoked, spending a certain period of time in prison, and even being required to attend the DUI school.
- The legal BAC. BAC stands for the blood alcohol concentration and in its legal level may vary from a state to another. However, the average legal BAC is 0.08%. If you get caught having this amount of alcohol in your organism, or even above it, you will be charged with DUI. Even though the DUI law varies from state to state, having a BAC over 0.08% is illegal everywhere you are.
- Taking the sobriety test. Although taking the sobriety test is mandatory in almost all states, there are some places in which refusing the test is totally legal. For example, in Arizona, you can politely refuse a police officer that asked you to take a sobriety test. However, if the police officer suspects you are a drunk driver, he/she will take you to prison anyway.
- Don’t completely trust the test that the police force required you to do. Immediately after being released, you should go and take a sobriety test of your own. You can ask your personal doctor for help or go to a local lab. In the case in which the final result turns out to be in your favor, meaning lower than the one provided by the initial test, you can use this information as evidence in your trial. On the downside, if the second test shows higher levels of blood alcohol concentration, you must handle these results to the prosecutor, as well.
- Specialized DUI lawyers. The best things to do, when you are charged with DUI, is to contact a good DUI attorney. Go on and seek the best lawyer you can afford. Usually, the first consultations are free of charge but hiring a DUI lawyer is not cheap at all. Therefore, be prepared to spend a quite high amount of money. You can even search more than just one attorney and compare both their services and fees.
- Submit to the arrest. Never resist an arrest. Fighting the officer’s decision will only worsen your case and will probably increase your charges. Furthermore, resisting the arrest will only make you look guilty. Also, avoid any physical contact with the officer that makes the arrest. Otherwise, he/she can also charge you with assault.
- You have the right to remain silent. As a citizen, you have both obligations and rights. Remaining silent not only is one of your rights but can also save you a lot of trouble. You will not gain anything if you try to convince the authorities of your innocence. On the contrary, you will only make them more suspicious of your condition. Save all your words for your lawyer.
Additional Things You Should Know About DUI Law
- A police officer needs a probable cause in order to make an arrest or charge you with DUI. Moreover, DUI law clearly specifies that there must be reliable evidence to sustain a properly-made arrest. However, the police officer is usually in control of the whole situation and he/she has plenty of means to prove that a certain driver was driving under the influence of alcohol.
- If you cause an accident while drunk driving, you might be charged with aggravated DUI. This will definitely be the case when the accident that you caused involved underage children or people got seriously injured or disfigured. In such cases, you should expect to be arrested and charged with aggravated DUI.
- When the police officer pulls you over without having a probable cause, you have more chances to fight against any possible charges. You can fight the charges in Court and you might even get your case revoked or suppressed. However, you must make sure that you have strong arguments or reliable evidence. Otherwise, it is just your word against the officer’s. Guess who will be considered more trustworthy in Court.
If you keep in mind all the guidelines and recommendations described above, you will save yourself from a lot of headaches. All in all, you shouldn’t drink and drive. However, if you did that and you were caught, the best thing to do is to be as polite and cooperative as you can. Moreover, the logical step after being charged with breaking DUI law is to seek the help of a good attorney.