So, you got pulled over while driving under the influence? What now?
DWI arrests are among the most common in the US, particularly because of how common it is. Experts estimate that there are over 112 million instances of driving under the influence every single year.
There has to be a proper procedure to follow after you get pulled over, right?
Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure the best outcome. Let’s talk about that.
What Happens When You Get a DWI?
When you get a DWI charge, it can be devastating for many reasons.
DWI charges vary widely by state. Depending on where you live, you could face severe penalties including a substantial fine, a suspended license, and possible jail time.
You should do your research on the penalties in your state so you are aware of the potential sentencing.
Most courts can and will impose a fine for a DUI charge. For a first offense, you could face a fine between $500 and $2,000, and fines are very likely to increase with further offenses.
It is highly unlikely you will get out of this for free. Even if your charges are dropped, fees for representation and court processes add up. Be prepared for the financial burden.
While you may think that jail time for a first DUI is not incredibly common, it is not unlikely. A first-time offense could land you a sentence of up to 2 and a half years in many states.
Many states impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence for a second-time offense. This is usually between 30 and 60 days.
This one is the hardest to avoid. While it varies by state, many states suspend a first offender’s license for 90 days, a second offender’s license for one year, and a third offender’s license for three years.
This is one of the most overlooked, but most important aspects of dealing with a DWI charge. If you are given a jail sentence for even 30 days, or if you are unable to post bail, there is no legal requirement for your employer to keep you on staff.
Not only that, but if you are unable to transport yourself to work, or if your job requires a valid driver’s license, a DWI charge may affect your employment status.
What to Do After a DWI Arrest
Clearly, a DWI will likely cause some chaos in your life, especially if your job is on the line. So what can you do about it?
There are some simple steps that absolutely need to be followed immediately after the arrest to avoid worse consequences. Let’s go over the essentials.
1. Take The Test
With every DUI, there has to be either a field sobriety test followed by a chemical test to determine your blood-alcohol content at the time of the arrest.
Refusing a breathalyzer will land you an automatically suspended license, but the roadside tests are rather unreliable, so opt to take the chemical test at the police station if you know you will be taken into custody.
You are required by law to take a chemical test after being arrested. Refusing this will get you in a lot more immediate trouble, so be sure to comply.
If you have already taken or refused a field sobriety test, you have nothing to lose by taking a chemical test, so don’t be scared. It will not get you into any more trouble than you are already in.
Most legal experts will advise you to opt for the breath test instead of the blood test, as their validity is easier to challenge in court.
2. Contact an Attorney
If possible, do not use a public defender or a general attorney for a DWI arrest. This is the time to get the best line of defense that you can. Check out this site for DUI attorneys in the Collin County area.
While other attorneys may be able to help represent you in questioning or in court, a DUI attorney is definitely the best to give you hope for a favorable outcome.
3. Get Bail
Either get somebody that you know or call a bail bondsman. Most states will require cash bail for your release after a DWI arrest.
While you will likely have to pay a fee upfront, it is still easier to afford than losing your job and staying in jail.
It is a bail bondsman’s job to ensure that you show up at all of your court hearings. Be sure to show up to them all, or they will likely come looking for you.
4. Request a DMV Hearing
Outside of the potential criminal charges, a DMV hearing must be scheduled to determine if your license will be suspended.
Most states have a time limit after your arrest for you to request a hearing. It is most commonly 10 days, including weekends.
This means you should consult your lawyer and set up a time for a hearing immediately.
5. Prepare For Your Hearings
Remain in contact with your lawyer prior to your arraignment. The arraignment is the portion where you enter your plea.
Consult with your lawyer prior to the arraignment, and afterward, especially if you plead not guilty. In this case, it is time to prepare for a trial.
After your DWI arrest, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and nervous. However, it is in your best interest to remain calm, be patient, and follow these steps.
Don’t spend time in jail or lose your job because of one mistake. Get the legal help that you need and move on to a fresh start!
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