Even though the dangers and risks of drunk-driving are well-documented and widely-known, countless people still make the choice to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. This leads to more than a million DUI arrests every single year in the US, and the consequences of getting a DUI can be life-altering in some situations.
The reasoning behind DUIs and their associated punishments is clear to see: statistics show that dozens of Americans are killed in drunk-driving accidents every single year, adding up to thousands of deaths and countless injuries per year. It’s clear to see that drunk-driving is a major problem on modern roads and DUIs are a necessary method to try to encourage people to make smarter choices.
Still, even with the possibilities of terrible accidents and criminal punishments, many people continue to find themselves getting stopped, tested, and charged for driving after drinking, and if you find yourself in a similar situation, you might not know what to expect. This guide will take a look at the main facts you need to know about getting a DUI.
More of a Warning than a Punishment
Getting a DUI is never a good thing and should always be treated as a serious matter. It shows that you made the mistake of allowing yourself to drive while intoxicated, putting your own life and the lives of others in danger. However, in many cases, the first DUI is treated more as a warning than an actual punishment.
It’s still a charge against you, going on your record and putting you in danger of further punishments if you repeat the same behavior in the future. However, it won’t typically be quite as strict and severe for the first offense when compared to subsequent offenses. It may even be possible for you to work with your lawyer, later on, to get your DUI set aside.
This is why it’s recommended for those getting their first DUI to remain calm and obey all instructions. By co-operating, you are more likely to emerge from the experience with the mildest of punishments, reducing the risk of long-term negative effects to your career or personal life. With that said, there are still cases when the first DUI can be punished severely, like in cases of extreme DUIs in Arizona.
You May Lose Your License, But Not Permanently
Many people associate DUIs with the loss of their license, and while it’s true that in most cases your license will be taken away after being charged with a DUI, you may still be allowed to continue driving and you can get your license back after a set period of time.
In most cases, the police will issue you with a temporary license. This will allow you to carry on driving for essential reasons, like getting to and from work each day or caring for dependent family members. Again, this is another reason why it’s important to comply with officers’ demands, as people who refuse blood or breathalyzer tests can have their licenses automatically suspended for up to a year.
You may be able to request a hearing and plead your case to get your license returned, or you’ll have to wait until a court has made a decision on your case to get it back. You will usually need to participate in an educational program before getting your license back too.
A Lawyer Is Recommended
Fortunately, while getting your first DUI can be a very unpleasant and stressful situation, you don’t have to face it alone. It’s widely recommended for those with DUIs to contact lawyers as soon as possible in order to receive legal advice and make the right decisions as the process continues.
Of course, before contacting a lawyer, you should follow the correct procedure, agreeing to the necessary tests and responding calmly and correctly to the arresting officers. However, when you are able to get in touch with an attorney, you should do so.
A lawyer will be able to guide you, helping you avoid many of the common mistakes that a lot of people make which can lead to further punishments and restrictions, as well as advising you on what to do and how to react in order to get through the DUI with the mildest possible punishment and your license back as soon as possible.
As stated initially, over a million Americans get a DUI every single year, so it’s something that a lot of people have to experience. If it happens to you, be sure to follow the procedure, remain as calm as possible, and get legal help to have the best chances of a satisfying conclusion for your case.