Statistics show that around a million Americans are arrested for DUIs each and every year, with millions more admitting to getting behind the wheel after having a couple of drinks. From these statistics, it’s clear to conclude that even if the risks and dangers of drunk driving are well-known, plenty of people still make the choice to drive while under the influence.
Given that 29 Americans die daily in crashes and collisions involving drunk drivers, it’s clear that the risks are real, and the best action one can take is to take steps to avoid ever driving while drunk. This can be done by having a designated driver when going out with friends, knowing the limits of one’s body, knowing the state laws regarding blood alcohol levels, and making use of public transport.
However, if you should find yourself facing a DUI charge after being caught driving under the influence, what should you do next? What rights do you have and what options are available to you? This brief guide will look at some key things every automobile enthusiast should know about getting their first DUI.
It’s Serious, But It Doesn’t Have To Be Dramatic
Getting a DUI is never a pleasant or positive experience, and many people feel a sense of shame, regret, and dismay upon finding themselves in this kind of situation. It’s certainly a serious matter that should be treated as such, but in the vast majority of cases, a first DUI will only be classed as a misdemeanor.
Of course, the charges may be elevated if other problems are found to be linked to your inebriated state, or if your blood alcohol level is excessively high. However, the first DUI is generally not punished as severely as others. As long as you follow the procedure correctly, you stand a strong chance of coming out on the other side having learned a lot from the experience.
Plus, even though the DUI will always be on your record, you can work with a lawyer to pursue getting a DUI set aside, which basically means that future employers or anyone else looking into your criminal history will see that you were charged but that you fully complied with police and court demands, putting you in a better light overall.
You Won’t Necessarily Lose Your License
Most people assume that being charged with a DUI automatically means the loss of their license. This is indeed the case in many situations and states, and many states even have rules in place that can lead to licenses being lost for several years, depending on the specifics of the case. However, it’s not always the case, and you may not lose your license for too long.
In most states, your official license will be taken, but you’ll be given a temporary license by the police to allow you to continue driving to work and for family reasons. So you don’t need to necessarily worry too much about being unable to drive for the foreseeable future.
You may need to have a special device installed on your vehicle to control its usage, and you may need to attend classes and prove that you’re willing to make changes to avoid another DUI in future. Again, as long as the rules are followed, you have a good chance of a positive outcome and getting your license returned.
What You Can Do
So what should you actually do if charged with a DUI? It can be quite a stressful and panic-inducing experience, but, as stated earlier on, following the proper procedure will help to lead to the best possible conclusion.
First, you should take the necessary chemical test upon your arrest, which shows your blood alcohol level. After this, it is recommended to get in touch with an attorney, focusing on those that have experience in DUI cases. They’ll be able to guide you through the rest of the process, helping you make the right decisions and avoid any potential pitfalls that could make the situation worse.
After the arrest, you’ll usually have about a week to organize a DMV hearing, which will decide whether or not you can keep your license, and this is an important step for those who rely on their vehicles for work and family. After that, it’s simply a matter of working with your lawyer to prepare for the arraignment.
Getting a DUI is something that millions of Americans will experience in their lifetimes. It’s never nice, but if you stay calm and keep the above information in mind, you’ll be able to get through it.