The dangers of drunk-driving are clear for all to see, as alcohol can have a lot of negative effects on a person’s ability to safely operate a car or other vehicle. Their reaction times can be reduced, their hand-eye coordination becomes impaired, and they’re less capable of making smart decisions and behaving appropriately behind the wheel.
This is why, each and every year, thousands of people in the US die in drunk-driving-related incidents, and many more are left injured and traumatized by their experiences. Still, even when these risks and figures are well-documented and widely known by the general public, a large percentage of the population admits to getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks.
Literally tens of millions of Americans have owned up to this kind of behavior, and many of them will eventually get caught and charged with a DUI if they don’t cause an accident beforehand. If you find yourself facing DUI charges, you may feel scared and confused, and this guide will help to shed some light on the subject and cover some key things you need to know.
Punishments Can Vary
One of the many questions people have when getting a DUI is what happens next? Well, the process will begin with the police pulling you over, carrying out tests, and confirming that you are intoxicated. From there, the punishments can vary, depending on your location, the specifics of the situation, and your attitude towards the officers too.
In most cases, the arresting officer will immediately take your license away from you, especially if you are uncooperative or show any kind of aggression towards the officers. When it’s your first DUI, you shouldn’t need to worry about losing your vehicle, but this could happen if you get additional DUIs in the future, so it’s something to bear in mind.
You’ll also need to pay a fine, and the amount will vary, depending on where you live and if your reckless driving has caused any damage or injuries. You may also need to spend a few nights in jail, as many states have implemented rules enforcing jail time for any DUI convictions. However, there are cases in which you can avoid jail with the help of a lawyer, which leads us to the next point.
A Lawyer Is Recommended
It’s very wise to get a lawyer after being charged with a DUI, and there are many potential benefits to doing so. The best DUI lawyers will be able to build the strongest possible defense for you, helping to get the lightest possible punishment in the process.
They may be able to assist you in terms of getting your license back as soon as possible, as well as avoiding or minimizing the amount of time you spend in jail. There are even cases where they can help to ‘expunge’ the DUI from your record, but the specifics of this can vary from state to state.
Overall, a lawyer will be able to guide you through the process, easing your stress and providing some much-needed peace of mind in a difficult time. They’ll also be able to answer questions you have and give you guidance to get the best possible conclusion for your case.
Knowing Your Rights
Knowing your legal rights can help you in many situations, including DUI stops, so it’s wise to take some time, carry out the necessary research, and know what you are and aren’t entitled to do, say, or refuse when a stop occurs.
Again, the specifics can vary from state to state, so you can’t assume that just because something is true in one state that the same rule will apply in another state. However, in general, the right to remain silent applies all across America, and you don’t have to apologize, make excuses, or explain your behavior to arresting officers.
Being polite and respectful to them is recommended, but that doesn’t mean you should be too talkative, as officers will write down everything you say and may ask questions to try and catch you out and confirm your guilt. You do need to show your license and registration, but you can refuse searches of your vehicle, as well as field sobriety tests too, should you so choose.
More than a million Americans face DUI charges every single year, and you might find yourself in a similar situation someday. Knowing your rights and getting a lawyer you can trust will help you get the best possible result from this situation.