Driving under the influence or DUI is a severe offense that many states have the strictest laws. It is a position no one wants to find themselves in, but it often happens in many different parts of the country. In some states, you can be charged with a DUI even if you are not driving. It would be one of the most humiliating ways to get slapped with a DUI and have to pay fines, jail time, and possibly lose your license. It is critical to contact our DUI attorneys at Pannella Law Firm if you have been charged with a DUI.
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Getting Charged With a DUI
Driving under the influence means having any substance in your system that impairs your driving ability. It can be alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs, or any substance. Nationwide, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is anything at or above .08 percent. If caught with a BAC .08 or over, you will be charged with a DUI. Any person under the age of 21 who has a BAC of .01 percent or more will also get charged with a DUI.
Even if you are not driving at the time, if you have the key in the ignition, if the cops see you in the driver’s seat in an upright position, they can get you a DUI.
Once arrested, booked, and charged, the police will put you in jail. At this time, you need to start looking into getting a DUI attorney and posting bail or getting out with the promise to show up.
What Happens After You are Charged with a DUI?
You can speak with your lawyer and find out the best avenues to take. They will explain everything you can expect to happen, starting with your license being taken away ten days after the DUI charge. Depending on the severity of the BAC, if it is the first offense or not, it determines how high the judge will place bail.
You will not only be fighting the DUI charge, but you will also be fighting the DMV. If they take away your license, you can apply for a hardship license with limited driving power. The DUI attorney can assist you with every step, but it is a lengthy process. If you are able to drive, you will have to install a breathalyzer monitor on your vehicle at the driver’s expense. It can cost anywhere from $8K to $12,000. If the BAC is under .01, the car will start. If it is higher than 01 percent, the vehicle will not start. You can also expect high premiums for the next several years on your vehicle insurance. There are some programs able to help you.
What Will a DUI Attorney Do For You?
The DUI attorney will work to cut your charges and penalties down, provided you cooperate with all that is required of you to complete during the probation time frame. If it is the first offense, you may be able to get away with a misdemeanor charge. In some situations, you may not need to post bail to be released. The attorney can assist you to be released with the promise that you show up in court for your court date.
Meanwhile, the attorney will review the case, and police reports and question witnesses. They will check out any videos and any other devices that can get your charges lessened and taken off of your record. With great luck, you will get off the first offense with a suspended or limited license for hardship, paying the court and lawyer fees, probation, and community service.
What Happens after the Second Offense and More
It gets a bit tougher after the second offense. You can lose your license for six months to permanently, have jail time, more extended probation periods, and more. A second offense may get lessened only with the help of a DUI attorney, but the more times the client fails and gets arrested, the harder it is to free up the charges. At some point, the judge will give up, usually after the third or fourth offense, and lock up the offender. At that time, all the attorney could do is work to reduce the time in jail.
In the end, it is the judge’s decision. All judges hate to see the same offenders in their courtrooms and usually throw the book at them. At this point, you will stand no chance if you represent yourself. All you can do is work with your lawyer, follow instructions, do what they tell you, and throw yourself at the court’s mercy.
The DMV requires the offender to get their F-44 form. This form ensures that the driver will abide by the rules to continue with their vehicle coverage. As mentioned, you might almost be willing to bet that the premiums on your insurance will skyrocket once they get the word. It is mandatory to get this type of insurance because most insurance companies will overcharge on the premium or drop them altogether after a DUI offense.