If you have been stopped and charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) offense, it is important to know and understand your rights. Often when pulled over by the police for suspected intoxication, people can become nervous and talkative — and prone to do just about anything to appease their fears and resolve the situation quickly.
That is usually not the best strategy. DUI is a serious offense. Just how serious?
A first-time DUI offense in the state of California could include:
- 3-5 years of probation
- Fines of $1,000 – $2,000
- Mandatory enrollment in an alcohol treatment program
- Jail time
- Suspension of your driver’s license
As you’d expect, the consequences of multiple DUI offenses are more severe. In many states, second or third DUI convictions can result in the suspension of a driver’s license for 12-36 months, several months of mandatory DUI school attendance. 3-5 years of probation, and jail time lasting several months (if not years).
Once you have been charged, you likely cannot talk your way out of being prosecuted. And nearly everything you say can and will be used against you in court.
Even so, an experienced attorney can provide help on a number of fronts.
Did you know?
- Everyone has the right to an attorney during a criminal investigation. If that right is denied, DUI charges could ultimately be dismissed.
- DUI defenses often begin with how and why you were stopped by the police. If the police cannot provide a sound basis for pulling you over, their evidence could be suppressed.
- Breathalyzers or other tests designed to measure blood alcohol levels must be administered correctly. Even so, other factors (body type, body temperature, etc.) can trigger false high positives.
- Many field sobriety tests, such as finger-to-nose tests, balancing tests, or reciting the alphabet are not recognized by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration as standard field tests. If you have no prior DUI convictions and/or the police didn’t administer these tests properly, your attorney may be able to reduce some of the charges against you.
Facing DUI charges can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with state laws or what to expect from the legal process. Many county, state and federal attorneys aggressively prosecute DUI cases. If you don’t have stellar legal representation, such as a DUI defense attorney from a law practice like The Morales Law Firm, you could give away your rights without even realizing it.