What to do When You Get a DUI

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									What to do when you get a DUI


                                      No one ever sets out for a night on the town and expects to get
                                      arrested for a DUI. However the truth is driving under the
                                      influence is a serious offense. Due to advocacy groups such as
                                      MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving), the consequences of
                                      drunk driving are even stiffer than they were before. This guide
                                      will help the reader educate themselves on some of things they
                                      may encounter if arrested for a DUI. This guide is not intended
                                      as legal advice, and if the reader has any questions they should
                                      consult with their attorney.




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                                  EXPRESS, IMPLIED, OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING AS TO THEIR LEGAL EFFECT AND
                                  COMPLETENESS. They are for guidance and should be modified to meet your needs and the
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                                  does not provide legal advice. The information and forms are not a substitute for the advice of
                                  your own attorney.
Contents
How to use this guide:......................................................................................................... 3
Do I need a lawyer for a DUI? ............................................................................................ 3
How do I find a reputable law firm? ................................................................................... 3
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................... 5
  What is a DUI?................................................................................................................ 5
  What happens when you refuse to take the DUI test? .................................................... 5
  How long does a DUI stay on my record? ...................................................................... 5
  What are the punishments for a DUI charge? ................................................................. 5
  What is an interlock ignition device?.............................................................................. 6
  Do I have a right to an attorney while taking a field sobriety test? ................................ 6
  Can I choose which chemical test I take? ....................................................................... 6
  What offenses can I be charged with? ............................................................................ 6
  What will retaining a DUI lawyer cost me?.................................................................... 7
  What is a sentence “enhancement”? ............................................................................... 7
  What defenses can I use in my DUI case? ...................................................................... 7
  How long will my driver’s license be suspended if I refuse to take the test? ................. 8
  How can I find a DUI program as ordered by the court?................................................ 8
  What should I do if I get arrested? .................................................................................. 8
  What happens if I get a DUI and I am under 21? ........................................................... 8
  Steps in Dealing with a DUI arrest: ................................................................................ 9




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How to use this guide:

No one ever sets out for a night on the town and expects to get arrested for a DUI.
However the truth is driving under the influence is a serious offense. Due to advocacy
groups such as MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving), the consequences of drunk
driving are even stiffer than they were before. This guide will help the reader educate
themselves on some of things they may encounter if arrested for a DUI. This guide is not
intended as legal advice, and if the reader has any questions they should consult with
their attorney.



Do I need a lawyer for a DUI?

While it is possible to represent yourself in a DUI proceeding, it can be tricky. Hiring a
qualified DUI attorney can walk you through what is a complicated and stressful process,
and do things that the lay person cannot. A lawyer can suppress evidence, compel
discovery, and obtain expert witnesses to name a few. Because there is a lot at stake with
a DUI it is wise to consider at minimum, consulting with one before you go to court.



How do I find a reputable law firm?

If you have decided to retain a lawyer, you will want to find a firm and lawyer with
plenty of experience and a great track record. Make sure that you find a lawyer that
specializes in DUI proceedings. The legal field is vast, and a lawyer needs to be
specialized in a particular field. Some lawyers may take any type of case just to keep the
money coming in, but they are not necessarily well versed in one particular subject.


Check your phone book, the internet, your local bar association or word of mouth to get
the names of a few good lawyers. Most will meet for you the first time for free. Use this




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time to interview them. What is their experience, how much do they charge, and what
can you expect by hiring them?




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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a DUI?


A DUI is a term used for someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Each
state has their individual criteria of what constitutes “driving under the influence.” To
prove someone is guilty it must be shown that the person drove the vehicle, and at the
same time the person was under the influence where their ability to drive was adversely
affected.


In every state to be found to be intoxicated, the person must be found to have a blood
alcohol level of .08% or higher.


What happens when you refuse to take the DUI test?


State law varies, but generally refusal to take the DUI tests result in a suspension of your
license and could result in jail time.




How long does a DUI stay on my record?


Most states require that the DUI stay on your record indefinitely. If you find years later
that the DUI is still on your driving record you can have your DUI expunged. An
expungement is a legal process where you can have past crimes removed from your
record.


What are the punishments for a DUI charge?


If it is established that you are guilty of driving under the influence the penalty will
depend on the state law that applies to you. In all states a first time DUI is considered a
misdemeanor and is punishable by jail time. There are fines imposed, which are quite



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costly, and usually an offender’s driver’s license is suspended. If you are a first time
offender, sometimes a judge will give you community service, or victim restitution in lieu
of jail time.


What is an interlock ignition device?


This is a system that is much like a breathalyzer that is installed into a car. The driver
must blow into the device before the car will start. If the device picks up a certain
percentage of alcohol, the car will not start.


Do I have a right to an attorney while taking a field sobriety test?


The law on this varies from state to state. Generally you do not have the right to an
attorney until you have submitted to, or refused the test.


Can I choose which chemical test I take?


It depends on where you are arrested. Usually breath and blood tests are offered. The
police will more than likely tell you which test they want you to take. To insist on a
different test could be looked at as a refusal. If you are found to have refused a test, the
DMV will automatically suspend your license.




What offenses can I be charged with?


You can of course be charged with a DUI. This is being charged with driving under the
influence. Some states use the abbreviations OWI (operating while intoxicated), and
DWI (driving while intoxicated). The companion offense that goes along with this is
called the “per se” offense, which is driving with a blood alcohol of .08 or higher. The
defendant is usually charged with both offenses.




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What will retaining a DUI lawyer cost me?


The costs of hiring a DUI lawyer varies greatly depending on the experience of the
lawyer, the location and the complexity of your case. Generally a DUI lawyer will cost
you somewhere between $500. to $15,000. or more. The range is large because there are
so many variables that can affect the price.


What is a sentence “enhancement”?


Most states will increase the punishment in a DUI case if certain facts exist. The most
common enhancements are:


         Blood alcohol higher than .20%
         Driving 30 miles over the speed limit
         Children in the car
         Property damage or injury resulted


What defenses can I use in my DUI case?


There are many defenses that you could use, but of course it has to apply to your specific
set of circumstances. Defenses for DUI can include:


     Probable Cause: The police officer did not have a right to stop you in the first place;
     The Defendant was in fact driving: If no one saw you actually driving the vehicle,
        it has to be proven;
     Miranda: Incriminating statements are inadmissible if you were not given your
        Miranda warning first;
     Implied Consent: The police officer did not explain to you the gravity of refusing to
        take your field sobriety tests.
     Accuracy of Blood Alcohol Reading: There are many factors that can effect blood
        alcohol tests and render them inaccurate.



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How long will my driver’s license be suspended if I refuse to take the test?


The exact time that you license will be suspended will vary by state. Usually you will
receive a suspension of one year on average, and longer if this is not your first offense.


How can I find a DUI program as ordered by the court?


The DUI classes that are often ordered by the court are given so that the offender can
rehabilitate himself. If the DUI is a first time offense, a class given over a weekend or
short period of time will be ordered. If you had a particularly high blood alcohol or this is
not your first offense you will be ordered to attend a class for a longer period of time. The
court may provide you with a list of approved programs to attend. Also the Department of
Motor Vehicle usually has a DUI Program Directory of Services that will list providers in
your area.


What should I do if I get arrested?


You should educate yourself on your rights. You may feel shocked by your predicament
but remember that you still have constitutional rights. It may be a good idea to consult a
lawyer, depending the complexities of your case. You need to attend your arraignment
where you will have to enter a plea. At this point if you have not retained a lawyer you
will be given the opportunity to speak to a court appointed lawyer. At the arraignment a
court date will set for your DUI hearing.


What happens if I get a DUI and I am under 21?


The consequences of this will vary from state to state. Usually your license will be
suspended for one year or you will experience a one year delay in obtaining your license
if you have not gotten it yet. This will be in additional to the other penalties that will be
imposed.




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Steps in Dealing with a DUI arrest:


       Consider hiring a DUI lawyer, and at minimum educate on your rights and
        responsibilities;
       You will have to attend an arraignment hearing, were you will have to enter a plea
        and a court date will be set for you hearing.
       You license during this time will be restricted or suspended. Check the initial
        paperwork given to you by the police and take action with the DMV as necessary
        to preserve your driving privileges if possible;
       Attended the DUI hearing, comply with all penalties.




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