Lawyer Up: What Happens When You Get a DUI

Operating your vehicle while intoxicated is called Driving Under the Influence (DUI). When a police officer catches the driver, they ask the driver to go through some tests such as chemical, blood, urine, or breath testing. Drivers may refuse to be subjected to the tests but it can cause the suspension of their driver’s license. The driver will not get it back until the suspension and recantation period expires.

You may get confused with DUI and DWI which means Driving While Impaired. A person who is older than 21 years is charged with DWI and individuals who are under 21, is charged with DUI. In Texas, driving with a detectable amount of alcohol is illegal for those persons who are under 21 and law officers are strict with a zero-tolerance policy in upholding the law.

DUI can happen in three situations:

When you are not in normal physical state, or
When you are not in normal mental state, or
When you have been proven to have a .08 or more alcohol concentration in your body.

What are the Penalties of DUI?
Let’s find out what happens when you get a DUI. The penalties of DUI depends on state’s law. It differs from state to state. In Houston Texas, the following penalties can happen:

You can have a fine of up to $500.
You may get a 60-day suspension of your driver’s license.
Do a 20 to 40 hours of community service.
You will be needing to attend mandatory alcohol-awareness classes.

These penalties are applicable only for first time. If the driver repeats the offense, the penalties will increase according to what law requires.

When Do You Need Legal Help?
DUI can be one of the worst experiences in person’s life as it is a serious crime. When you are in this situation, you must ask for the help of a DUI lawyer. But you can be benefited only when you choose the best DUI attorney for you. Following factors you must know while hiring a DUI attorney:

Make a list of potential attorneys
You need to make a list of best DUI attorneys. You can discuss with your family or with your friends who have gone through this. You will get suggestions from individuals. Try to make a list of who to consult regarding your case.

Ensure the qualification of the attorney
A lawyer who is a general practitioner may not be able to give you a fruitful result in a. You need to hire an expert attorney who specializes in DUI. Ensure the qualification of that DUI attorney. Try to choose those who have practiced the profession for years in your state as they know the law of your place well.

Consider the Attorney’s Fee:
Before hiring, try to be clear about all the fees upfront. Disclose the entire additional fee which may not include the attorney’s fees. It’s better to have a written contract. The fees of attorneys may vary in different states. Also, clarify the payment system before hiring.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can choose the right attorney for you. Now let’s find out how a right attorney can help you:

Challenge the DUI Stop
The police will not stop you without any reason. They must have noticed some suspicious behavior while you were driving. Sometimes, perception is the only basis of that suspicion. As DUI attorneys are specially trained for this, they will identify the case and challenge the basis for a DUI stop.

Challenge the Cause

When a police officer arrests you for DUI, they must provide some cause such as you actually drinking alcohol, impaired motor skills and speech, and many others. These factors can be officer’s perception more than real facts. Your DUI attorney will identify and challenge the cause to arrest you.

Challenge the Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests include Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), movement and some other tests. The officer will follow your performance and give their judgment. They will also include this judgment in their report. You may think that you performed well or you may actually perform well, but the officer will arrest you if they are predetermined. The DUI attorneys are experts when it comes to challenging the report as well as the technique of tests.

Challenge Blood or Breath Tests
Officers may ask you to give blood or breath test. They will keep your sample as a proof. DUI attorneys will ensure the result of your test by retesting. They will also analyze the circumstances under which the test was handled, tested, and transported. The attorney will find a weak point of the test and will challenge those.

Challenge Officer/Witness Credibility
All the officers who are involved in the street patrol have an individual personnel file. Most of the time, if you challenge the statement and credibility that they placed in the personnel file as a police report, that individual file is reviewed. The DUI lawyer’s job is to carry out an investigation on officers’ background and present challenges to them if available.

Negotiate for a Lesser Charge
You may lose your DUI case at trial sometimes due to strong evidence and the case cannot be dismissed on your side. On those situations, these DUI lawyers are experienced enough in negotiating with the authority. Sometimes, a negotiation is better than conviction in the case trial.

Keeping Your Driver's License
In most of the cases, a DUI arrest results in the cancellation of your driver’s license. If you are unable to request a court hearing within the proper time or you do not challenge the arrest successfully, that will be the result. In that occasion, you will have to reapply for your license, pay the exact amount of fees and reinstatement.

The DUI lawyers are very much experienced and they know when to challenge a suspension of your license and the proper way to do so. They will make arrangements to negotiate for your license.

A DUI arrest can be dangerous. In most cases, you will not have records to defend the case and also you are unfamiliar with the court procedures. DUI attorneys know how to achieve the goal, how to defend you in the proper procedure. They can use the proper strategy as your weapon. So, without wasting your time, you must consult with DUI attorneys if you face such an unfortunate situation.

Author's Bio: 

Beatrice Santos is a writer and blogger who loves writing about health and safety. She is very fond of writing advice for people who are in legal trouble especially DUI cases. Beatrice often writes for Butlew Law Firm. When not writing, she enjoys playing scrabble.