According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 1.5 million Americans are charged with driving under the influence every year. DUIs and DWIs are considered a serious matters due to the dangers impaired drivers pose to themselves and others. The justice system understands the risks posed by such drivers, which is why they carry such severe penalties for them.
Most states have a set standard of minimum mandatory penalties for drivers convicted of DUIs. This means you will likely face jail time regardless of your BAC level when you were charged or other circumstances around your arrest.
The only way to avoid these penalties is to get your charges dropped. However, this can be a difficult process without the help of a qualified DUI defense attorney.
What are the consequences of a first DUI offense?
Many people tend to assume that they will get only a probation for their first DUI offense. This is true in many cases; however, some courts may order drivers to serve time in a county jail as part of their probation conditions.
If law enforcement find an open container of alcohol in your vehicle when they charge you with a DUI, you may receive a harsher sentence. Some states can elevate the DUI’s misdemeanor charge to a felony if they find that a minor was present in the car when the driver was arrested.
In addition to facing fines and potential jail time, drivers who are convicted for DUIs usually have their license suspended by the state. This is probably the most common inconvenience for people who have lost DUI battles in court.
Some states will go as far as to suspend your license if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test. This suspension is sometimes added onto the suspension you will face after you have been convicted. These suspensions should be taken very seriously as you will face severe charges and fines for violating your conditions.
If you wish to get your license back after it has been suspended, you may need the help of a DUI defense lawyer to strike a deal with the criminal law and administrative law judges.
Do I need a lawyer for a first DUI offense?
Your first DUI offense is usually considered a misdemeanor, but as mentioned earlier, it can still come with many consequences. If you were caught driving erratically, failed field sobriety tests, and/or had an extremely high BAC when you were pulled over, a lawyer won’t be able to do much to get your charges dropped.
However, a DUI defense attorney may be able to get your charges reduced by identifying any problems or shortcomings in your arrest. These lawyers are skilled at recognizing situations in which you may be able to win a reduced plea. An experienced DUI attorney may even be able to get your DUI charge reduced to a reckless driving charge in certain states.
The odds are usually tipped against you whenever you are charged with a DUI, as you will be facing a prosecutor that is determined to get you convicted. The legal system can be tricky for ordinary people to navigate through, and an even bigger nightmare when they are up against an experienced prosecutor.
Getting your own DUI defense attorney is the only way to level the playing field and have your charges dismissed before your case goes to trial.
What are the consequences of a second DUI?
If you are facing your second DUI charge, you should be aware that the penalties will be much greater the second time around. Some judges will minimize your penalties for a first DUI, but they may impose harsher penalties if they believe you didn’t learn your lesson after the first DUI incident. This is typically done to deter defendants from repeating such behavior in the future.
Some states will give drivers a harsher second DUI punishment if their second offense is within five years of their first one.
Drivers convicted of a second DUI are usually required to take alcohol education or treatment classes, and may be required to use ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
Do I need a lawyer for a second DUI offense?
You should consider hiring a lawyer if you are facing your second DUI offense. Whether you were arrested for a DUI in Lake County or Cook County, you need to hire an aggressive attorney. The penalties for this second offense typically includes a fine of approximately $2300 and a jail sentence that can be up to 12 months. However, one of the most debilitating consequences of being convicted for a second DUI offense is the license suspension.
Courts may suspend your driver’s license for anywhere between 3 months and 3 years depending on state laws and details around your offense. This penalty could have severe impacts on your career and living situation, so you will need to fight your case as best as you can.
How do I find a good DUI defense lawyer?
You should have no trouble finding a DUI defense lawyer in your state. However, you will need to select a good one who can guide you through the legal process and look for any details that could get your charges reduced.
An experienced DUI defense attorney will take the time needed to understand your unique situation and negotiate with prosecutors using the best defense possible. Most DUI cases are clear-cut right off the bat, but some certain cases may require additional investigation before all the important details around your case are uncovered.
There’s no excuse for driving under the influence, but you may be able to mitigate the long term consequences of your mistake on your career and family by choosing the right legal defense. So get in touch with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in your area and prepare to face your charges in a dignified manner.