Driving under the influence is a serious offense and can have long lasting effects on the rest of your life. Understanding the definition and the law surrounding this offense is essential. Here are some important factors that you should take note of before getting behind the wheel:
1. What Constitutes Driving Under The Influence?
Also called ‘Driving While Intoxicated‘, the definition does not only refer to drunk driving or getting behind the wheel after the consumption of an alcoholic beverage. You can also be charged with a DUI offense if you are under the influence of illegal or prescription medications. Any substances that affect your ability to drive, your mental capacity or reaction time can result in a DUI charge.
2. What Are The Implications Of A DUI Charge?
You may be arrested if a traffic official suspects that you have been driving while intoxicated. The traffic officer will need to perform a roadside sobriety test or breathalyzer test to confirm their suspicions. You’ll then be taken to jail, and your car will be impounded.
Upon arriving at the jail, you will be fingerprinted, photographed and a permanent arrest record will be opened against you. You also could be asked to submit to a blood test at this time. You should be made aware of the charges against you and be informed of a likely date and time for a bail hearing.
At this point, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer to inform you further of your rights and to represent your best interests at your bail hearing or in court. The case won’t go to trial if the charges are dropped, were unfounded or if you were unlawfully arrested.
If bail is set, you will be set free until your court hearing. If you don’t receive bail, you will need to remain in jail until your trial date. Bail could be denied if you are considered to be a flight risk, a danger to society, or if you have committed previous offenses. Your guilt will not be established at the bail hearing. However, it’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer to ensure that you are granted bail.
Once you’re in court, you’ll be asked to plead not guilty or guilty to the charges. If you plead guilty, you will receive an immediate sentence. If you plead not guilty, you will be given the right to defend the charges against you. Should you be found guilty, you’ll be sentenced.
Sentencing will require that you attend a drug or alcohol program or receive counseling. Also, you could receive a fine, community service, prison time and possible suspension of your driver’s license.
If the DUI resulted in an accident, injury or death, you might receive criminal or felony charges such as manslaughter or even murder.
No matter how you look at it, a DUI offense will dramatically influence your entire life. Think twice before driving while intoxicated.. However, if you do, contact us now.