So you’ve had a few too many drinks, and now you’re driving home. Bad idea. You get pulled over, and the next thing you know, you’re getting a DUI. This is a common scenario on American roads, and as much as we hate to admit it, it happens to good people all the time. But one thing you should know is that if you were charged with DUI, it is a crime. It’s not just a minor traffic offense that you can brush off. A DUI charge comes with some serious penalties, and if you’re convicted, it will go on your criminal record. So what happens if you get a DUI?
You will be arrested.
If you are pulled over, and the officer suspects that you are driving under the influence, they will ask you to step out of the car and perform a few sobriety tests. If you fail these tests, or if the officer has other evidence that you are intoxicated, you will be placed under arrest. The arresting officer will read you your Miranda rights, and then you will be taken to the police station for booking.
The police will take your personal information and run a background check during booking. They will also take your fingerprints and photograph. You will be searched, and your belongings will be inventoried. You will then be placed in a holding cell until you are sober enough to be released or until you can post bail. However, repeat offenders or those who are deemed to be a danger to society may be denied bail and held in jail until their trial.
Appearing in Court
After you are released, you will be given a date for your arraignment. This is the first court appearance where you will be formally charged with DUI. At this appearance, you will also find out if you have been granted bail and, if so, the amount of the bail. If you cannot post bail, you will remain in jail until your trial. If you are able to post bail, you will be released from custody until your next court appearance.
You will also be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at your arraignment. If you plead guilty, then the case will move on to sentencing. If you plead not guilty, then the case will go to trial.
If you are convicted of DUI, the judge will hand down a sentence. The sentence will depend on the circumstances of your case, your prior criminal history, and the state laws. However, most first-time offenders can expect to receive a sentence that includes:
Fines – You will be required to pay a fine. The amount of the fine will vary from state to state, but it is typically around $1,000. Repeat offenders often get much higher fines.
Probation – You will be placed on probation for a period of time. Probation typically lasts for 1-3 years. During this time, you will be required to meet with a probation officer and comply with certain conditions, such as attending DUI classes.
Driver’s License Suspension – Your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of time. This is usually around 6 months, but it can be longer for repeat offenders.
Community Service – You may be required to perform community service. This is often part of probation.
These are just some of the common penalties for DUI. In some cases, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car or serve jail time. If you are convicted of DUI, it is important to comply with the terms of your sentence and take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.
Other consequences of DUI
The worst part of a DUI is not the criminal sentence; it’s the collateral damage. A DUI can have a ripple effect that extends far beyond the criminal justice system. A DUI conviction can result in:
Loss of job- Many people lose their job after a DUI conviction. This is especially true if their job involves driving, such as a truck driver.
Loss of insurance– Your car insurance rates will go up after a DUI conviction. In some cases, your insurance company may drop you altogether.
Loss of housing- If you live in subsidized housing, you may be evicted after a DUI conviction.
These are just some of the ways that a DUI can impact your life. A DUI is not something to take lightly; it’s a serious offense with serious consequences. If you are facing a DUI charge, it’s important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. An experienced DUI attorney can help you navigate the legal system and protect your interests.