Do you know what happens after a DUI charge?
It isn’t a situation any of us want to be in, but if you’re charged with a DUI it is important to know the next steps. Failing to act the right way could see the situation get worse than it needs to be.
Read on to learn what happens after a DUI and how to navigate the process the best you can.
Arrest and Booking
If you’re caught driving under the influence, you won’t be driving yourself home. The police are likely to arrest you on the spot, and then you’ll be going down to the station. Once there, they’ll book you in for the night.
When sober, unless you’ve got other offenses, the police will release you. You’ll be pending a court appearance for sentencing which will be the next big step.
Remember Your Court Date and Make it a Priority
Before you’re free to go, you’ll get a notice. This will include the date you need to show up in court for your DUI charge. Whatever you do, don’t lose, forget, or ignore this date.
As soon as you get home, make a note of your court date and the time you have to be there on your calendar. Get in touch with work, and anyone else you need to, to make sure you have nothing conflicting on that day. It needs to be your priority.
Work Out if You Need an Attorney
A lot of attorneys will try and say that you’ll always need a DUI attorney for your court case, but it’s not always the case. In fact, most DUI cases are open and shut.
Many judges will take your BAC (blood alcohol content) to be evidence enough for a conviction. In recent years, there’s been a crackdown on DUI, with stricter laws. There isn’t much wriggle room to get out of it.
But, there are some situations where you may be better off with an attorney. The most obvious is if you’re wanting to enter a “not guilty” plea. If you think the test was faulty, or you failed it even though you actually were sober you’ll need an attorney. They’ll have to prove your innocence.
If it’s your first time in a court setting, and you’re anxious, an attorney can help. They can guide you through the process. And provide peace of mind that someone has your back when it feels the system is against you.
Even if you end up pleading guilty or getting convicted, they can help you go through the next steps faster. This will put you on the fast track to getting your license (and your life) back to normal. If you believe it’ll be of benefit, they constant an attorney right away.
Sort Out Your Transportation in Advance
While waiting for your court date, you won’t be able to drive around as normal. This means you can’t get yourself to the hearing either. So, make sure you’ve made arrangements to cover yourself.
Sometimes, the court will give you a hardship license. This means that you can drive, but only for work or school. If not, you’re going to have to arrange for someone else to drive you where you need to be.
Or you’ll have to rely on public transport. Make sure you have a lift to your hearing, or you know the bus routes. And give yourself plenty of time. You don’t want to be late, or worse, miss your hearing completely.
Prepare Yourself for Your Hearing
Depending on the plea you plan to make, you’ll need to do different things. If you’re going to plead guilty, you’ll only need to look smart and bring the requested paperwork.
If you’re pleading not guilty, there is more prep work to do. You’ll need to sit down with your attorney and go through your case.
They may need to record your memories of the incident and get witness statements. They’ll also need to find evidence to prove your innocence. So prepare yourself to put in some hard graft.
The Court Hearing
If you plead not guilty and win, then you won’t face charges, and you’ll get your license back and be free to go. If you don’t win, or you plead guilty, then you’ll face sentencing.
In most cases, your first DUI offense usually results in a misdemeanor charge. Your punishment will always come in the form of one of the following:
- Loss of License
- Community service
- Completion of a Drug/Alcohol rehab program
- Potential jail time
- Criminal conviction
The penalties for DUIs will vary from state to state, so it helps to check out your state laws before your hearing. Or ask your attorney what to expect.
Often, the punishment will vary depending on the circumstances of the event. In fact, states even refer to the crime in different ways. Some will call it a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated). Or some call it OWI (operating while intoxicated).
Look into SR-22 Insurance
Even if your license is already suspended, you should look into SR-22 insurance now. Print out the SR-22 form and contact your insurer. Your normal insurance will be invalid with a DUI conviction.
SR-22 is a special type of insurance that covers people with a DUI conviction. It’s the only insurance for DUI offenders. And you’ll need it for as long as conviction stays on your record. This differs from state to state.
Your insurer can tell you what to expect about your new rates. You should expect a significant rise in your premium payments. And it’s likely they’ll stay that high for a while too.
What Happens After a DUI Simplified
So there you have it! Now you know what happens after a DUI, you know what to expect.
After you appear in court and avoid jail time, follow your punishment details. Complete what you need to and be on your best behavior. And if you’re worried, make sure you hire a DUI attorney to help guide you through.
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