Being charged with a DUI is devastating. Regardless of the circumstances, having this permanent mark on your driving record is enough to profoundly impact people’s lives, from personal matters to professional relationships. Not only do you have to worry about these things, but legal aspects as well. You may be required to attend court, and worse, may even lose your legal ability to drive. If you have recently been issued a DUI, here is some critical information to prepare you for what may come next.
The Difference Between Convicted and Arrested
First, you must understand whether you were convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol or arrested for being suspected of this crime. The two will have different consequences. When you are arrested for a DUI, this does not guarantee that you will be convicted. The arrest only means that the officer had reason to believe that you were exhibiting dangerous driving habits due to consuming the substances, as mentioned earlier. The conviction follows the confirmation of such suspicions, resulting in the charge being made against you.
Those who are convicted of a DUI will be charged with violating state law for either Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or under the influence. The severity of this charge can change according to where you were driving. A federal DUI, issued only on federal lands, may result in higher fines or extended probation or prison time. The extent of your punishment for a state DUI may vary. In most cases, your DUI will be considered a misdemeanor offense, requiring fines and either jail time or probation. The charge will remain on your driving record for ten years.
Will I Lose my License?
After being arrested for a DUI, it is highly likely that you will lose your license. However, there are instances in which this will not happen. For example, you would possibly lose your driving privileges immediately if you refused to comply with a breathalyzer test. When this happens, an officer is more likely to work harder to get you off of the road. Further, consequences could be much more severe if you were later found to be under the influence at the time of your refusal. In some cases involving such behavior, you could stand to lose your license permanently. This is especially true of cases where the driver is found to have a high blood alcohol content (BAC) level.
Following a conviction, however, it is guaranteed that first-time offenders will have their licenses suspended for anywhere between 180 days up to a full year. When this happens, you have the right to file for a formal review hearing. You must submit this within ten days. Otherwise, you will have to wait a minimum of one month for restored driving privileges and enroll in a substance abuse course. Completing this in a timely manner will allow you up to 5 weeks of driving for work and school purposes only.
If you have recently been convicted of a DUI, you must act promptly. Contact an experienced accident attorney, and they will defend your rights during this time. Your attorney will guide you through this process to ensure that you will not face excess or undeserved punitive action. Get in touch with an accident attorney today to safely, legally, and responsibly get back on the road.