Do you have a DUI charge and are looking for legal advice? Hiring a DUI lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your charge. Our team understands that just because you were arrested for a DUI, this does not make you a bad person. If you are wondering “Should I hire an attorney for my DUI?” read more to learn about the process following your arrest and how legal counsel can help you.
What Happens When You Get a DUI?
If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, you will be placed into a police vehicle and taken to the nearest police station or jail, where you’ll be photographed and fingerprinted.1 This can be a frightening experience that can bring on anxiety and panic, especially for first-time offenders.
In some states, you can be released immediately if someone comes to jail, pays your bail, and drives you home. Other times, you may have to stay in jail until you can see a judge, who decides when you can be released.
Appearing in Court
Another thing that happens when you get a DUI is that you will be given a ticket or a summons at the time of your arrest. This tells you the date that you must appear in court to face driving under the influence charges.
In today’s courts, if you deny the charges, plead not guilty, and try to fight the case, chances are you (and everyone else in the courtroom) will see a video of you failing field sobriety tests. This footage can be taken from the officer’s dashboard camera or from the jail where you were processed.
For some drivers, it feels humiliating to have to appear in public to answer charges of driving drunk.
Losing Your Driver’s License
In all states, your sentence will include the loss of driving privileges for a period of time, even for a first-time DUI conviction. Some states offer a hardship license that allows you to drive to work or school during the time your license is revoked or suspended, but your driving privileges will still be drastically curtailed.
In some states, if you refuse to take the field sobriety test or submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, your driver’s license is suspended immediately, even before you go to court.
In addition to the guilt and shame you may be feeling, a suspended license may make you feel like a burden as you may have no choice but to lean on friends and loved ones to get from one place to another.
If you are convicted of driving under the influence, part of your sentence will include paying a fine. All states have laws setting minimum and maximum fines for drunk driving, but those penalties can be enhanced by other circumstances.
For example, if property was damaged, someone was injured, or a child was endangered as a result of your driving while drunk, the fines can be increased. In most states, you also have to pay court costs associated with your case.
Even if you are not sentenced to any jail time for your DUI conviction, you will probably be given a probation sentence, the terms of which are determined by the sentencing judge.1 If you fail to meet the terms of probation, you can be sent to jail.
The length of probation varies by state. For instance, when you get a DUI in Florida, probation cannot extend beyond one year. Probation terms can change as well and may be more stringent if arrested for aggravated or felony DUI.
Serving Jail Time
In a growing number of states, jail terms have become mandatory, even for first-time drunk driving offenders. Typically, first-offender jail terms are one or two days in length and can be served on a weekend. But it is still jail time, which carries consequences—including consequences for your mental health.
For repeat offenders, jail is mandatory in most states and the terms are longer than a couple of days. If there are aggravating circumstances connected with your DUI case, such as having prior convictions, the DUI may be a felony versus a misdemeanor, which means that penalties such as jail time can be increased.
Undergoing Alcohol Evaluation
In almost all jurisdictions, if you want your driving privileges returned after a drunk driving conviction, you will have to complete an alcohol and drug education and assessment program.
A trained counselor will evaluate your pattern of alcohol consumption to determine if you have an alcohol use disorder.1 Typically, the evaluator will ask you a series of questions about how alcohol affects your life.
Depending on the results of your evaluation, you may then be required to attend a court-approved alcohol treatment program. This program can help you better understand and remedy your relationship with alcohol.
Paying More for Auto Insurance
In most states, getting a DUI can result in needing a special insurance policy, known as SR-22 insurance, before you can drive a vehicle. The cost of SR-22 insurance, in states where it is required, can double or even triple your premiums.
Usually, you will be required to carry this type of auto insurance for a period of three years. although the DUI can stay on your record for life.
Using an Ignition Interlock Device
What happens when you get a DUI and own a vehicle? In a growing number of states, drivers who are convicted of DUI are required to install ignition interlock devices on their personal vehicles. Some states are requiring these devices for first-time offenders as well.
The ignition interlock device requires the driver to have an alcohol-free breath test result before the vehicle will start. The installation of these devices and the monthly fees associated with them can be very costly.
Free Consultation With Experienced Lawyer in Houston Area
Attorney Lanease Fuller has over 30 years of experience helping individuals that have been charged with crimes throughout Harris County. She cares about each of her clients and works hard to preserve their freedom. If she believes in your case she is not afraid to take it to trial. Contact our law office today to learn more about scheduling a no obligation consultation with top criminal defense attorney in Houston, Lanease Fuller. You will be glad you did.
Experienced DUI Attorney in Houston, Texas
Attorney Fuller is a seasoned attorney with nearly three decades of experience representing a wide range of clients. This includes individuals who have suffered an injury due to another’s actions, individuals facing criminal charges, those who have been arrested for DWI, individuals who have found themselves in a civil litigation dispute, and those looking for legal guidance in business.
After filling out a client intake form, Attorney Lanease D. Fuller will take appropriate action in your case to help you get the results you are looking for. This includes but not limited to gathering evidence, going to trial, and earning a settlement that is appropriate for your specific situation. Reach out to us today to take the first step towards settling your case.
LANEASE D. FULLER LAW
4615 S. Frwy St. 820
Houston, TX 77051
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